21 Aug 2017 09:44

Burning passion to use AI for world-class service

During her studies she specialised in intelligent systems, but when she started at SEB in 2008 she hardly thought she would have any use for it. “When I joined the bank I thought there was no way in the world I would be able to work with AI. It’s so incredibly fun to be able to work with what you have a passion for,” says Erica Lundin, Head of the Aida Center of Excellence since February.

SEB has been on an exploratory journey since 2015 to learn how the AI agent Aida can contribute to world-class service. As Aida is given more duties and has become a permanent employee, value has been created for a Center of Excellence for Aida’s technology for continued research, development and enabling of Aida in the organisation.

“Our job is to research, enable and support the use of digital labour in order to improve the customer experience and make the bank more efficient,” says Erica Lundin.

Interaction between man and machine
She stresses that the journey is not at all a matter of robots replacing people, but more about freeing up time for employees so that they can spend more quality time with customers. It’s about the interaction between people and technology and thereby enabling a shift in competence and providing more value to customers by focusing more on relationships. “I think this will revolutionise the way we work with service,” says Erica.

“Customers’ need for service is rising constantly, and with the help of AI agents, which are available 24/7 and can eliminate customer support queues, we can develop in line with our vision of providing world-class service. AI is a cutting edge technology that has had explosive growth in interest in just the past year, and SEB is one of the companies that is at the forefront of this technology.”

Two duties
At present Aida has two main duties: she has been employed as a digital employee in the bank’s internal IT Service Desk, where she speaks her original language of English, and she is a trainee at the Telephone Bank, where she is learning to chat with customers in Swedish, on seb.se.

“The central competence centre is staffed by six persons – four in Sweden and two in Vilnius,” Erica explains. “Their job is to research this technology and make Aida into a digital agent that delivers world-class service. This team consists of people with different competencies from different parts of the bank, which is exciting. The team that employs Aida then takes responsibility for coaching and developing her. This is handled by a team of three people at the Service Desk in Vilnius.

“We try to think of Aida as a person,” continues Erica. “So we are building up her CV to show what she has accomplished and is competent in, and going forward we will work on her PDD to develop her areas of competence.”

Erica Lundin is a systems scientist with a Master’s in intelligent systems. She joined SEB in 2008 as administrative head of C&I Online. She held various management positions in IT Solution Delivery prior to her appointment in February as head of the Aida team, which is part of ITS.