Banks’ contact centers deal with issues that can be solved by the RBS
Georgy Kravchenko, CEO, BSS, told CNews about new trends in the development of banking platforms, services that are in demand in the financial market, as well as about the importance that voice technology and information security take on during the coronavirus pandemic.
CNews: Which development strategy and tactics are adopted in BSS?
Georgy Kravchenko: We always set ourselves two tasks. The first is to expand the functional range of services that we, as a manufacturer of a digital platform for remote access to the bank, can offer our clients. Our clients, in turn, will offer it legal entities and individuals as end users.
The second task is to make the use of software convenient. Historically, the main users of the RBS for legal entities were accountants, and for many years we were the dominant vendor of the RBS for legal entities. Today, the penetration of remote banking has reached a new level, because the small business segment has begun to actively develop and use remote channels. The roles of users, their skills and professional competencies have changed; now they are business owners, shareholders, heads of other areas. In principle, a modern user of the RBS, for the most part, makes the same requests for an account statement and payments. However, the interfaces and services that accountants worked with in the corporate business are neither familiar nor convenient for these new users.
As a result, the work on improving customer experience required. Some banks started to compete and began to develop their own solutions. A large development wave passed through the market; new business models have appeared in the financial sector.
We took on a new challenge, and BSS has developed expertise in the field of customer experience and interfaces from scratch. The deep expertise accumulated in the banking sector over many years helped. As a result, we thoroughly reviewed and seriously changed approaches to the development of the product line. When planning development of a new product or existing ones, we actively collect opinions, reviews, and wishes of our clients.
We have a large feedback base — at least half of the Russian banks use BSS’s solutions. We study what is important for them, which tools are in demand, what client behavior prevails, and in which direction its development is going. Feedback has become for us an important part of work of R&D team. And due to the fact that BSS has been a leader in the RBS market for a long time, we have also formed the best expertise in the field of ensuring the safety of RBS systems, their reliability and performance under load. All of the above allows us not only to create solutions superior to similar industrial systems, but also to seriously compete with the best banks’ in-house design teams.
CNews: Tell us how your product line evolved in 2019, what new solutions appeared and what key improvements were aimed at.
Georgy Kravchenko: We have two solutions that are actively replicated. We created Digital2SME and Digital2Business Mobile basing on Digital2Go platform. The first solution took part in the Markswebb rating thanks to the implementation in Ak Bars Bank this year. We succeeded in taking the 2nd place in the nomination The best Internet banks for companies with foreign trade activities.
Due to the fact that Ak Bars Bank trusted us, headed for a new platform and successfully implemented it, the bank made an impressive leap in the ranking, overtaking banks with in-house developments started 3-4 years ago. This is a major achievement.
The second solution — Digital2Business Mobile — is an important mobile channel for a business of any scale, a full-fledged mobile office for a corporate client. The new solution has taken a step forward in terms of ergonomics, UX and UI, and ease of implementation. I am happy to share this solution and suggest trying it.
We also have two new products. The first one is a counterparty diligence check service. The check is carried out against all available databases, and as a result, a consolidated rating of problematic information on the client is formed. The new service was named "Sonar", we implemented it in partnership with Integrum company. In addition to basic knowledge about a client, the service can extract information via a full-text contextual search. It analyzes more than 80 thousand sources, and what radically distinguishes us from competitors is that we can easily increase this number at the client’s request. The enrichment of knowledge about clients seems to me very promising, it plays a large role in the tasks of analyzing client needs, patterns of behavior of client groups, etc. Without succeeding in solving these problems, you can hardly claim a competitive advantage in the modern world.
The second new service is related to the digitalization of the remote service channel, which is fully analog today. The fact is that, after 25 years of its development, the RBS has eliminated the need to go to the bank with a payment document by fully automating many tasks. Today, this effective remote channel exists, apparently, in 100% of banks. But banks retain another remote channel — contact centers. Banking contact centers are large-scale, the costs of their development and maintenance are impressive amounts, often exceeding the RBS costs. At the same time, many of the inquiries received by a contact center today are related to issues within the competence of the RBS: balance, verification and completion of transactions, blocking cards. We decided to begin seriously digitalize this channel. Basing on our Digital2Go platform, we are opening an additional voice channel that will serve voice or textual requests within the RBS tasks.
Our new Digital2Speech solution is responsible for implementing the voice bank. To do this, we do not need to integrate with a contact center, which often happens painfully and hard. Our new system is easily deployed, it happens simultaneously with the implementation of the remote bank.
I am sure that the voice channel will not disappear in business. It will remain an important element of communication and sales. Clients will continue to call, because for many of them it is more convenient to call and clarify the situation, ask questions of interest. Companies will also continue to use the voice channel, often as the most effective one, to solve their problems and achieve certain goals. Voice and live speech are much more informative, unlike text dialogs. The conversation contains a lot of valuable information about the client which is lost in the text version. These are preferences, needs, satisfaction with experience, and so on. But the voice also provides possibilities of biometrics, analysis of emotions, sex determination — all this is additional knowledge important for accounting. Voice analytics is the most important area of AI application. Accounting and analysis of information collected in the voice channel makes it possible to take steps to increase its effectiveness and reduce the cost of its maintenance.
CNews: Last summer, you announced the purchase of iDA Mobile, why did the choice fall on mobile development?
Georgy Kravchenko: We had a certain complementarity of client bases, in addition, colleagues use native development on mobile platforms, and we were just considering a shift from hybrid platforms.
The combination of technology and experience allows us to offer banks a new unique mobile product that accumulates the best practices of BSS and iDA Mobile. This solution fully meets the banks’ mobile channel development goals. It maximally satisfies the needs of bank clients in the convenience and ease of use. We want to provide clients with the level of service they need.
CNews: How do you rate market interest in voice technology?
Georgy Kravchenko: According to our observations, attention to voice technology has grown significantly in the last year. We see a noticeable revival in the development market, an increase in interest among banks, and the inclusion of new businesses in this process. Voice technology has a number of clear applications that bring tangible economic benefits. The most common are intelligent assistant and voice analytics. The first service is a smart voice robot that understands the natural speech of a person and is able to take on the work of the employees of the reception or contact center. The second — voice analytics — helps businesses evaluate the quality of operator work and provides invaluable information to increase the effectiveness of the contact center, helps evaluate the consumer loyalty and customer satisfaction index, also based on the analysis of emotions and moods.
The largest banks have already realized the opportunities opening up when using voice technology. They understand the economic effect. Therefore, they are actively investing in design and development. We see that Sberbank bought STC, Tinkoff is developing its own development, VTB has STC implementation and is actively considering options for developing its involvement in technology.
However, there is a number of constraints for the growth of voice technology. The most significant is the availability of data and expertise to work with it. An important deterrent is the reluctance of many organizations, primarily financial ones, to use cloud services. This is due to the need to work with sensitive and confidential information, personal data, etc.
But this does not mean that these limitations are insurmountable. There are vendors with the potential for competition able to cope with these challenges. Their technologies make it possible to successfully overcome constraints and compete on equal terms with technology giants such as, for example, Sberbank. Yes, such vendors are fewer than fingers on one hand, but they exist. And BSS is among them.
CNews: In 2019, BSS brought a new cybersecurity line to market. What is it and why do you need it? What tasks do you set for yourself?
Georgy Kravchenko: In fact, we have been engaged in cybersecurity for 25 years. The RBS is probably the most frequently attacked digital channel, because it provides access to financial information. The role of cybersecurity is growing, and we are paying considerable attention to it. Our expertise allows us to provide a wider range of services to clients. That is how security audit line and pentests appeared. In addition, we are forming a network of partners with "software" and "hardware" solutions, and jointly we deliver a full range of security capabilities.
CNews: What do you plan to surprise the market with in 2020?
Georgy Kravchenko: We will focus on three main areas. First, the development of the industrial RBS solutions based on Digital2Go for all categories of bank clients. We are convinced that an industrial solution by a vendor is the best choice for a bank in the race for the leader, in an effort not to lose, but to strengthen its position. Second, the development of voice services — the technologies where machine learning, recognition of oral and written speech and dialogue management are used. We will expand the application of this new area and delight with new partnerships. Third, the development of anti-cybercrime and information security services. A hot topic.
In the current unprecedented pandemic situation, the topic of channel automation is particularly relevant. Contact centers experience high peak loads. The business faced with the need for fast, safe and reliable organization of remote work. The banks also need to maintain a high level of service provision in conditions of self-isolation. It is necessary not only to provide access to corporate resources, but also to implement work control, ensure information security and support for contact centers to arrange remote work.
And that is where the understanding that both voice technology and information security are in extreme demand in the current conditions clearly comes.
Our expertise in the field of information security makes it possible to quickly establish control over the work of remote employees and provide information security when working from home.
Today, it is mega-important for many companies to quickly implement the work of a remote contact center. To find a solution that easily automates typical voice and text queries. The solution that provides accurate recognition of client’s natural speech and the essence of his request. The solution that can automatically and continuously handle most calls even when remotely working in home offices. This will effectively relieve the contact center during peaks. Our solution can do it.
Against the background of crisis situation and a large influx of identical calls to a contact center, BSS’s neurobot can be promptly trained in typical topics. The integration with a contact center is not required to use it. It can be quickly deployed and work "on wheels". It is able to conduct a dialogue and response to requests without attracting remote operators. This makes it possible to unload the contact center by 40% or more.
This is the field where we plan to surprise the market. Watch out. It should be interesting.