Bank customers can chat with Sara, a Siri-like avatar

Commercial Bank of Dubai has announced that it is launching a Siri-like feature to enable its customers a better online experience.

The online avatar is named Sara and will be available for assistance at the click of a mouse, or even a voice-enabled command.

Just say ‘Need a card’ and Sara will type out instructions on how you can go about your task of applying for a card including giving you a list of documents you might need and even put you in touch with a (human) customer service executive.

The bank has revamped its new online portal as part of what it terms as the region’s ‘first-of-its-kind revolutionary online banking’.

Another feature that CBD introduced is a Personal Financial Management Tool, which helps customers analyse their spending patterns.

Frans Jan Burkens, Deputy General Manager, Personal Banking Group, says the bank has invested millions in developing the new technology. “The new virtual assistant gives a more personalised experience and a more engaging environment. She even waves out and walks back when you say bye and are done with the chat. When she does not know the answer, she immediately connects you to a service agent,” says Burkens.

“We are even planning to introduce video chatting facility with a real service agent,” he added.

The website is mobile enabled and integrates seamlessly on all platforms.

The service works in combination with the already existing CBD mobile Apps available on the Apple App store, Google Play and BlackBerry World.

“Being voice-enabled, Sara can currently only understand English, but we are training her in Arabic,” added Burkens. The virtual Assistant technology has been enabled by the UK-based Creative Virtual.

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