Equity release firm Key has revealed it is working with Edinburgh-based speech analytics platform Aveni.ai as it seeks to build on its customer service with artificial intelligence.
Aveni.ai’s tech will be at the heart of Key’s customer interactions – monitoring conversations with AI to improve the later life lending specialist’s ability to identify and support vulnerable customers.
Customer vulnerability is a leading concern for financial services companies, as per the recent guidance from the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority, which stipulates that firms must act to understand the needs of vulnerable customers and make sure they are treated fairly.
Historically, identifying customer vulnerability or those who are at high risk has been the role of an agent, requiring them to flag a potential issue for further investigation. With the Key and Aveni.ai partnership, the firm will be able to monitor all its conversations with customers, with the ability for specific keywords and phrases to be automatically flagged and routed to the compliance team at Key for review.
For example, certain topics mentioned in conversations with an agent, such as a bereavement or illness, may be indications that a customer is potentially vulnerable and requires support from one of Key’s “vulnerability champions”.
“We embrace innovation at Key, and our partnership with Aveni.ai demonstrates our commitment to using technology to consistently improve the quality of our advice, and ensure we continue to lead the market in how we support our clients,” said Will Hale, CEO of Key.
He added: “Beyond efficiency, this partnership will allow us to drive greater transparency and oversight, and help us to better identify vulnerable and other high risk customers, all of which contribute towards ensuring the best possible outcomes for our customers.”
Leveraging advanced natural language processing (NLP) technology, Aveni.ai’s platform draws on information about their customers, culture, products and processes.
For example, in the banking sector, a customer is generally considered potentially vulnerable when over the age of 65. However, given Key’s focus on retirement finance, this would pertain to a majority of its customers, so it has configured Aveni.ai to monitor for different criteria.
“Every company is unique, and off-the-shelf speech analytics tools often deliver less than optimal results, so we start by understanding the specific problems our customers are trying to solve,” said Joseph Twigg, CEO of Aveni. “It’s great to work with a company like Key that truly cares about its clients and recognises that innovative solutions can help improve customer service and ultimately unlock a wealth of new intelligence and insight.”