Industry & Country
Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria
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?.... the goal of the system is to ensure that our customers remain loyal to the bank by providing a broader variety of services, increased-quality products, improved support ....?
?.... the initial reluctance that certain customers had towards using the system was specifically addressed in order to show the benefits .... ?
?... increased operational efficiency makes it possible to allocate resources to more added-value services, maintenance costs are significantly lower ....?
?.... identify to which extent these technologies may improve services and determine which activities are suitable for automation?
?.... choosing the right technology will help the company improve its services.?
José Javier Fernández
Telebanking Systems Manager, Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria
This case study describes how Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria (BBVA). a leading Spanish bank corporation, has implemented an advanced interactive automated telebanking service. The service is based on systems and components developed by Natural Vox, a Spanish speech recognition technology provider.
BBVA Group is one of the leading banks in Europe with 40 million customers, almost 9,000 offices world-wide and more than 100,000 employees. In addition, it is the most widely established bank corporation in Latin America, with more than 4,000 offices. In recent years, the group has focused on new businesses development, particularly in the field of new technologies and the Internet where it has invested more than ?4.800 million over the last few years.
Natural Vox S.A. specialises in the development of interactive telephone products and is one of the most important suppliers of speech-enabled systems and services in Spain, especially to call centres or other services with a large volume of calls. With over 10 years experience in the speech technologies, Natural Vox has designed, implemented and structured a set of services that offer automatic telephone and speech recognition systems to its customers.
BBVA's Telebanking Service: Added Value for Customers
The Línea BBVA telebanking service has been operational since June 1994 and currently employs 50 staff. According to Mr. José Javier Fernández, Telebanking Systems Manager at BBVA, "the goal of the system is to ensure that our customers remain loyal to the bank by providing a broader variety of services, increased-quality products, improved support and complementing BBVA's network of branches".
Línea allows customers telephone access their accounts on a 24*7 basis and provides a range of information on the bank's products and services. Depending on the kind of request, customers enter their personal user name and the system either processes the request automatically or routes it to a customer service representative. Customers can perform transactions such as bank orders, stock operations, and investments and the service is protected by strict levels of confidentiality and security. All conversations are recorded so that they can be reviewed in case of any customer complaints.
Implementation of L?nea BBVA
The overall process of implementing speech technologies in the Linea service took around four months. The system comprises two basic technologies: speech recognition and speech synthesis that are complemented by a conversational interface that manages the dialogue with the caller through a sequence of questions and answers.
OPA (Operadora Transparente - Transparent Operator), a patented product of Natural Vox, allows the conversation to include all kinds of random and free expressions, so that the system is not restricted to a small set of predetermined words and expressions. BBVA selected Natural Vox because it was considered to be a pioneer in the implementation of this type system, both in both the banking sector and other areas.
Natural Vox's technologies provide a very human-like interface which interacts with the user in the most natural way using simple, easy and elegant navigation features based on the use of colloquial expressions. BBVA has continuously improved the system in order to achieve increased speed, better customer service, and a higher level of confidentiality.
Advantages and Disadvantages
Mr. Jos? Javier Fern?ndez sums up the advantages thus: "increased operational efficiency, secondary tasks, such as checking customers' identity or executing specific operations are done automatically, making it possible to allocate resources to providing more added-value services. In addition, maintenance costs are significantly lower than those of a human resource based system". However, according to Mr. Jos? Javier Fern?ndez, the main obstacle was "the initial reluctance that certain customers had towards using this system, as they preferred to continue dealing with a human operator. This category of user was specifically addressed in order to show the benefits of using this system in a personalised way ".
Mr. Jos? Javier Fern?ndez suggests that other companies which may be considering the implementation of language technologies should "conduct a detailed study to identify to which extent these technologies may improve services and determine which activities are suitable for automation". Furthermore, once the specific needs of the company have been identified, get in contact with different technology providers in order to select the system that can best be adapted to those needs. "Choosing the right technology will help the company improve its services".
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