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    NatWest Digital Human Employees


    NatWest has tested AI-powered ‘digital human’ employees to answer customer queries and provide staff with training. Drawing on advances in neuroscience, psychology, computing power and AI, these highly life-like avatars permit a two-way verbal conversation via computer, tablet or mobile phone.

    What customer problems did you set out to solve?

    This technology could be used to create another way for customers to bank with NatWest on top of the usual services we offer helping to answer questions round the clock, whilst cutting queuing times for simple questions and freeing up time for human advisors to answer more complex customer questions. The technology also has the potential to help staff identify and access training on certain subject matters and enhance the delivery of learning within an increasingly digital-first environment. These interactions are expected to increase engagement and reduce time spent in the classroom.

    What differentiates your proposition from other offerings in the market?

    NatWest believes it was the first bank to connect a life-like ‘digital human’ avatar with AI to answer queries and provide coaching through normal conversation. Customers and staff communicate with the ‘digital human’ verbally and by facial expressions. And it responds in turn verbally and through facial expressions by using the audio and visual sensors typically now standard in modern computers and mobile phones. The technology uses biologically inspired models of the human brain and neural networks to create a virtual nervous system that can detect human emotion and react verbally as well as physically, through facial expressions. The ‘digital human’ is consistent in its approach and advice, and is available 24 hours a day.

    How has the concept been proven / validated?

    User experience was tested extensively in our labs before being trialled with customers and staff. We asked hundreds of customers to evaluate the ‘digital human’ customer service agent in both a branch location, and online where customers were invited via social media and online recruitment agencies. Testing has suggested customers that have avoided digital services in the past may be more inclined to interact with digital humans. Additionally, several hundred staff were invited to interact with our ‘digital human’ learning facilitator, which was shown to improve learning outcomes.

    What’s next?

    NatWest could deploy a ‘digital human’ customer service agent on successful completion of the trials to become one of many ways customers are able to do their banking. Staff could have a ‘digital human’ learning facilitator to help them navigate their career development and training opportunities.

    Find out more about NatWest Digital Human Employees here