CBA plugs ATM fleet into customer service 'brain'

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CBA plugs ATM fleet into customer service 'brain'

Bank's centralised engagement engine now across all channels.

The Commonwealth Bank is connecting its fleet of ATMs to a centralised "brain" for automated customer conversations to better integrate with its other physical and digital service channels.

The bank's fleet of 4000 ATMs, which is currently being updated with touch screens, will soon hook into its centralised engagement engine, or CEE.

The engine is now active across "all our channels", Andrew McMullan, general manager of customer decisioning at Commonwealth Bank, said at Gartner Symposium.

"In branches, in digital, on our mobile app, we are about to go into ATMs. We are in push, in email, even paper mail, SMS. We have largely covered all the channels we use."

The engine handles 16-17 million calls per day across these myriad channels.

Integrating the ATM fleet into the centralised engagement engine will allow for push campaigns, real-time feedback, and two-way conversations with the bank, CBA said.

"You might be using an ATM next to a branch and we could look to see if there is an appointment open in the branch and connect those thing together and say, 'Hey would you like to come in for an appointment'," said ‎Alex Burton, head of data and decisioning strategy for the retail bank.

CBA has been "wrestling with" the data project for the better part of three years, Burton said.

The bank previously ran a heavily customised Teradata platform, Hadoop data lake, and a number of other discrete campaign engines.

It has migrated to Pegasystems as the underlying technology for CEE to replace disparate technologies and create a single decisioning engine for customer conversations across all channels.

The platform makes use of natural language processing to understand two-way conversations with customers, McMullan said.

"That is what we use to decide the next best conversation for our customers across all our channels," McMullan said.

The CBA data science team uses adaptive modelling and machine learning to work out which conversations are most successful and to "retire" or adjust conversations that aren't.

For instance, the bank sends credit card payment reminders to customers to help them avoid additional charges, and found that this led to an uplift of 5 percent in customer satisfaction compared with a control group, McMullan said.

CBA has been rolling out the CEE technology in bursts.

"Last Christmas, we went from zero to our entire mobile user base, which I think is 5 million active users, in about two-and-a-half weeks," Burton said.

Steven Kiernan attended Gartner Symposium / ITxpo as a guest of Gartner
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