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SMFG, NTT to introduce Line-based automated chat service in Japan

Japanese banking group Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group (SMFG) and SMBC Nikko Securities in collaboration with NTT Communications have developed a Line-based automated chat service that uses artificial intelligence.

The new service, which has been developed with support from Accenture Japan, will be available at SMBC Nikko Securities' Contact Center from 25 May 2017.

According to NTT, AI Chatbot is capable of understanding customer input on LINE Talk to a high degree of precision and can automatically offer the most appropriate response to customer enquiries.

The chatbot will provide guidance on ways to open accounts and on initial public offerings (IPO), NISA, My Number, and Direct Course.

This service uses an NTT Com AI engine, the Communication Engine COTOHA, which can engage in human-like dialogue. Understanding customer inquiries, COTOHA provides natural responses by such means as automatically asking questions about missing information.

COTOHA also comes equipped with an escalation function, which redirects clients to an operator for answers to questions that could not be resolved via AI Chatbot.

NTT Com said: “SMBC Nikko Securities believes that utilizing AI for some of its operator operations at the Contact Center will cut down on overtime and otherwise reform work styles to help employees achieve a good work-life balance. Efforts will be made to further improve quality and enhance the operator training system so that customers can easily make inquiries at any time.”

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