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Fine-tuning AI for natural speech

When starting its new digital bank Next, Bradesco needed to find a solution that could connect the customer journey and ensure its customers have the highest level of service. To differentiate and better serve its customers, it chose the Genesys Engage™ on-premises solution and IBM Watson. The bank onboarded 300,000 customers in one year, seeing a 95% utilization of digital channels. Using a natural language processing bot, Next services 85% of customers through artificial intelligence (AI).

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Over 75,000 discrete questions

and native slang handled by chatbots

300,000 customers

onboarded in first year

95% utilization

of digital channels for journeys

With 85% of all inquiries handled by AI, we’re able to lower customer effort and get greater productivity by joining up previous transactions, regardless of which channel the customer used.

Eder Gonzaga

Head of Customer Experience and Artificial Intelligence

Bradesco Next

Reaching out to the hyperconnected

For seven decades, Banco Bradesco has been at the forefront of innovation, riding market transitions and continually reinventing the customer experience. Its latest innovation is Next, a unique digital bank created for 18- to 35-year-old customers who want options to self-serve and engage using mobile devices. It wants to fit banking around the hyperconnected lifestyles of busy Brazilians — not the other way around.

“A person doesn’t wake up in the morning with the desire to ask for credit,” said Eder Gonzaga, Head of Customer Experience and Artificial Intelligence at Bradesco Next. “They want to acquire something or go on a trip. So, we asked how Next could be made part of their daily lives.”

Reducing customer and agent effort

Guided by in-depth research studies and support from digital anthropologists, the company discarded standard bank product design and decided to make every customer journey 100% digital — from account opening to ongoing engagement.

The bank reached out to Genesys for self-service journeys, powered by blended AI and natural speech recognition. Installed on site and integrated with IBM Watson AI software, the Genesys Engage on-premises solution orchestrates every call, email, chat or WhatsApp message.

The customer’s first point of contact is Bia, the Next virtual assistant. “The Genesys solution is excellent and marries up perfectly with our vision,” said Gonzaga. “With 85% of all inquiries handled by AI, we’re able to lower customer effort and get greater productivity by joining up previous transactions, regardless of which channel the customer used.”

Teaching a machine to speak the millennial language

The project was a significant undertaking. Twelve months were spent teaching the solution native Brazilian slang to humanize natural language processing.

“In creating Bia, our female virtual assistant, we had to build a totally different knowledge base and a more easygoing dialect recognizable by millennials,” said Gonzaga. “We beat our target and delivered early, thanks to a massive team effort.”

That investment has opened the door to a brand new market. Within a year of its launch, Next acquired 300,000 clients — 86% of whom had not previously engaged with Bradesco.

We find clients don’t mind dealing with a person or machine — they just want their query resolved straightaway.

Eder Gonzaga

Head of Customer Experience and Artificial Intelligence

Bradesco Next

Digital experience delivers immediately

Today Next operates as a full-fledged digital bank. Without any physical branches to visit, around 95% of its customers use chat. The remainder of customers opt to call or to communicate over email. Currently, Bia is programmed to answer over 75,000 discrete questions. Most interactions are successfully handled without the need to speak with a human agent.

“We find clients don’t mind dealing with a person or machine — they just want their query resolved straightaway,” said Gonzaga.

Innovation doesn’t just end with technology. As a reward for their loyalty, customers also enjoy treats from Next partners, like free taxi rides and cinema tickets. “We’re always looking for new partnerships so that, in time, we’ll become part of the customer’s daily life, helping them plan new journeys,” concluded Gonzaga.

At a glance

Customer: Bradesco Next

Industry: Financial services

Location: Brazil

Company size: 440 agents

Challenges

  • Launch digital bank targeting 18- to 35-year-old customers
  • Maximize opportunity for AI and self-service