Chatbots are probably one of the ways that you interact with that tech buzzword, “artificial intelligence,” the most. They let you message or chat with a computer that “talks” like a human so you can quickly get answers that actually make sense without the hassle of pulling up multiple apps, search pages or calling someone. Chatbots are even available to help you manage your finances. Capital One revealed Eno, the first natural language SMS chatbot from a U.S. bank, at SXSW in March. During the invite-only pilot of Eno, customers could text Eno anytime to stay on top of their Capital One accounts, pay their credit card bill, or chat about the meaning of life. Now Eno is available to text with millions of Capital One credit card and bank customers.
Ken Dodelin, VP, Conversational AI Products, talked with One Focus about how Eno has been getting ready to go from pilot to primetime.
OF: So what has Eno learned during the past seven months?
Ken: Well, three things, mostly...
1. Learning your lingo
It turns out that texting your bank isn’t that different from texting your friends and family. Each of our more than 100,000 invite-only pilot customers who have chatted with Eno about their credit card and bank accounts have their own style. They text at all times of day and in all kinds of ways. So Eno has had to learn how different people text about their money.
Some are very to the point and all about abbreviations - “bal” for “balance.” Others are chatty and text like they speak: ”Hi Eno! How much money do I have today?”. Some have typos in every other word – “val” is a common one since “b” is adjacent to “v” on the keyboard – while others prefer emojis. In fact, we’ve seen customers use a thumbs up emoji to confirm their payment more than 50% of the time, and Eno understands.
2. Getting smarter with some help from its friends
Eno learns to better understand what customers mean from every conversation through supervised machine learning. Full disclosure: Eno is a lifetime learner and can’t yet do everything that customers throw at it. While we’ve expanded some capabilities during the pilot, our main focus has been to make Eno great at answering the questions customers ask the most: your balance, available credit, recent transactions and paying your credit card bill (…oh, and the fastest way around to find that elusive routing number!).
For example, we’ve trained Eno on more than 2,200 different ways that customers have asked for their balance. Thanks to stellar work by our amazing Conversational Artificial Intelligence (AI) Design and Tech teams, customers increasingly find that Eno understands them and they are delighted when it does. Now that Eno speaks like you do, it feels like the days when you had to learn “bank speak” to manage your money are finally fading into the past.
3. Figuring out how to build relationships through conversations
You may not have expected this one. Through basic Q&A conversations, people are starting to form some emotional connection with Eno. In fact, one of the most frequent things people say to Eno is “thank you.” There is really no reason to thank a bot, but the conversation and personal interaction through even the most basic Q&A conversations is starting to develop trusted and valued relationships between Eno and our customers.
OF: What’s next for Eno?
Ken: Like Eno, we continue to learn every day. We’re excited about the next step in Eno’s journey and bringing Eno to millions of Capital One customers.