RBS is launching an A.I. chatbot called 'Luvo' to help customers

Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) is launching a new online “chatbot” that will answer customers’ questions online and help direct them to the right places.

The new online tool, dubbed “Luvo,” will begin helping 10% of the bank’s customers online from December, according to an emailed statement sent to Business Insider.

It will be a web chat tool: as you’re browsing, a little chat window will likely pop up and ask if you need any help.

The rollout follows a 2-month trial of the tool with the 1,200 RBS staff handling small business inquiries. These staff could direct the SMEs to Luvo to help them with things like lost pins or corporate cards.

Simon McNamara, Chief Administrative Officer from RBS, says in an emailed statement: “Luvo frees advisors from spending time on simple, easily-addressed queries so they can help customers with more complex issues and questions — improving the experience of both parties.”

While the idea may conjure images of the old Microsoft Word Paperclip, the chatbot is built using IBM’s Watson Conservation tool, one of the most advanced artificial intelligence engines in the world. It is adept at recognising normal human language, meaning you can write what you are after rather than simply selecting from options.

Chatbots — automated conversation tools that using artificial intelligence — are also seen as one of the hottest areas of technology at the moment. Facebook made chatbots a key part of its growth manifesto earlier this year and many companies hope they can cut down the time and money spent on customer service but relying on smart chatbots rather than people.

A spokesperson for IBM says in an emailed statement: “As the cognitive system continues to learn overtime, RBS will be able to expand Luvo’s capabilities to more complex areas such as providing increased personalisation and using predictive analytics to detect possible issues before they arise to make a recommended course of action.”

State-owned RBS has been cutting hundreds of jobs across the organisation as part of cost-cutting plans. These involve increased reliance on chatbots or so-called “robo advisors” — automated services that help advise clients on things like investment and savings.


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