The Korea Herald


Kakao Bank to launch chatbot to upgrade unmanned customer service

By Son Ji-hyoung

Published : June 8, 2018 - 17:12

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Kakao Bank, South Korea’s largest internet-only bank, on Friday showcased a beta version of a customer service chatbot it expects to play a crucial role in enhancing its unmanned operation.

The service will officially launch this month, the company said, without elaborating.

The launch is expected to relieve the burden of existing customer services, for which 80 percent of customer inquiries were simple issues that could be addressed by the system, according to the bank.

(Yonhap) (Yonhap)
Veronica Lee, project leader of a task force in charge of chatbot development at Kakao Bank, said in a press conference Friday the chatbot technology is indispensable for the online-only bank, which suffered delays in customer service as demand for its products mushroomed.

Mainly targeting consumers who seek deposits, savings, loans, cards and remittances, the bank created accounts for over 5 million customers in its first six months. But it faced criticism for its customer service, in part because it did not have enough staff to handle demand.

“The project (to develop a customer service chatbot) kicked off to meet the needs of Kakao Bank, whose existing customer service channels have been almost paralyzed since it opened in July last year,” Lee said.

“What’s interesting here was, a majority of customer inquiries revolve around basic functions of the bank’s app, which are frequently asked about and usually self-explanatory.”

The introduction of the customer service chatbot is expected to “enhance the quality of customer inquiries to service centers over phone calls,” she added. Four out of 10 customer inquiries go to two customer service centers in Seoul through phone calls, according to the bank.

The automatic agent set up by the mobile-first bank here will adopt a goal-based model and pattern-response structure, the company said.

Based on the analyses of user information accumulated since the launch in July 2017, the chatbot will answer questions ranging from app functions and products sold by Kakao Bank to remittance services and more.

“We not only went through quantitative and qualitative analyses on questions received through the existing channel, but also tracked follow-up questions of customers on customer channels’ response,” Lee told press.

Unlike conventional chatbots, Kakao Bank’s will feature video, emoticons and other user interface features, in addition to text.

The chatbot service will be available on KakaoTalk Plus Friend, running on its parent company’s messenger app.

The chatbot will come in addition to existing channels for customers -- calling a customer service center, sending inquiries directly to the bank’s website or to the bank’s KakaoTalk Plus Friends account.

By Son Ji-hyoung