AI-based devices and services are growing rapidly around the world and the growth of the AI-enabled smart speaker market is quite revolutionary, doubling its size every year and changing our everyday lives. Global giants such as Amazon, Google and Apple and players like Alibaba and Xiaomi are leading the market, not to mention domestic companies such as SK Telecom, KT, Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics that have showcased smart speakers to join the AI voice user interface revolution.
This AI trend is spreading throughout other industries and sectors as well at a fast pace and Hyundai Card is leading the pack in Korea’s finance industry by actively leading the digital transformation by introducing AI features in customer service. In 2017, the first time in the Korean finance industry, Hyundai Card introduced the AI chatbot called Hyundai Card Buddy for customer service. It engages with customers to answer common questions quickly while freeing up Hyundai customer service professionals to handle more complex customer service needs.
The company has just recently taken a major step forward in the adoption of AI in its customer service by introducing an Artificial Intelligence - Automatic Response System (AI-ARS) in its customer center as of April 4, a first for the credit card industry. An automatic response system (ARS), which is commonplace today, listens to a customer's desired service information or contacts the appropriate customer center counselor to provide counseling services. However, with Hyundai Card’s AI-ARS, there is no waiting time and the AI customer service agent provides instant assistance.
Hyundai Card has analyzed its customers' ARS usage patterns and has implemented AI-ARS for the six most frequently used items: prepayment, limit inquiries, limit adjustment, billing/payment history confirmation, new password registration, and password changes. Now, when a customer calls the Hyundai Card Customer Center, the artificial intelligence system recognizes the phone number and connects the customer directly to the artificial intelligence agent. For instance, if a customer says, “I want to pay,” the AI agent tells the customer, “If you make payment of XX, the total is XX including principal YY and interest ZZ. Do you want to make a prepayment?” Even if the customer speaks in an ambiguous way, the artificial intelligence agent is smart enough to understand the actual meaning and continue providing assistance.
Hyundai Card automated the whole process using Robotic Process Automation to train AI-ARS. Hyundai Card expects AI agents to be able to handle about 450,000 cases, up to 30 percent of 1.5 million consultations per month, with the introduction of the AI-ARS system.
As a voice-based system, AI-ARS is faster and more convenient than a text chatbot. It is more in line with services such as Amazon’s Alexa and Apple’s Siri, or Google Assistant. It is designed to understand Korean natural language processing. Only a few companies in the world offer this service, and none of them are credit card companies.
Hyundai Card has aggressively been driving tasks that further its digital transformation. When Ted Chung, CEO of Hyundai Card, was invited to give a speech at the IBM Think 2019 Conference in February, he delivered his commitment to accelerating the digital transformation of the company and setting new standards in the industry. He spoke about putting artificial intelligence (AI) into the front lines of customer service, how Hyundai Card is using new technologies to provide extremely customized services to its customers, and how essential big data and AI is to the future of any company.
Ted Chung emphasized the importance of AI for business during the IBM Think Conference 2019 by saying, “If you have to face digital innovation to survive, you have to take a bold, committed, and companywide strategy. So it's like the 17th century which moved from spears to gunpowder. The name of the game is who will master gunpowder first.” As a companywide approach, Hyundai Card is working on being the first to master AI and come up with the most innovative and effective AI solutions by successfully merging finance with IT.