Bank of America is reportedly working on a Siri-like digital financial adviser named Erica for its mobile apps that will help customers better manage their personal finances. With this AI-powered service, people will be able to communicate with Erica via text or voice 24/7 to get assistance with processing transactions. Erica will also monitor spending patterns and alert customers when they are about to go into overdraft, as well as offer advice on how to improve their credit score and budgeting. Bank of America is aiming to release Erica by the end of 2017.
What Brands Should Do
This is the latest example of how conversation-based assistant services may transform customer experiences in banking. In August, Singaporean bank DBS launched a chatbot to let customers handle basic banking tasks via text. What sets Erica apart from DBS Bank’s chatbot, however, is that the former appears to be more powerful in its capabilities, as it will be able to monitor banking and spending activities and use machine learning to offer timely, personalized financial advice.
As more brands embrace digital assistants and chatbots in order to better serve their customers, brands that wish to stay ahead of the curve should start working with developers to figure out how conversational interfaces may improve the customer experience. For additional information on how brands can effectively reach consumers on conversational interfaces, please check out the first section of our Outlook 2016.
Last week, the Media Lab attended the New York Tech Meetup on campus at NYU. A number of startups showcased demos of their products, with varying levels of marketing implications. The environment was an open forum and the only question that was off limits from the audience was: “what is your business model?”
There were a wide range of solutions on display including a company that turns text into digital handwriting, a URL security database for brand protection, and an app that automatically edits music videos by syncing multiple takes to the audio. As far as companies that could be potentially interesting to marketers, a couple of the presentations stood out:
- Grsp is a shopping app that allows a consumer to shop confidently by aggregating product reviews and competitive online and offline pricing. Consumers can scan a barcode, take a picture, or manually type in the name of a product in order to inform purchase decisions. As of now, Grsp is focusing on growing their scale. However, in the future, it may be possible to leverage their purchase data to re-target or conquest consumers.
- Goldbean is an investment platform that targets finance novices. They are able to recommend equity to users based on their consumption data. Goldbean offers transparency into holdings within ETFs in order to lift the veil to people who are just starting off with their investments in order to make finance less intimidating. Their trading is built on Tradekings API and once scale is achieved, they will have an impressive amount of consumption and finance data on their audience.
Overall, there were some very impressive demonstrations that had practical use cases, although not many of the presentations offered much to be leveraged by brands. Most were in the very early stages of development and will be monitored as they grow their user bases for potential partnerships.