Using Robotics and Artificial Intelligence to deliver superior customer experience.

In today’s competitive business landscape, digital transformation is imperative for banks to realise enhanced customer value and unleash significant bottom-line improvement.  

At Diamond Bank, we stand at the forefront of driving customer experience through technology innovation.  We have taken bold innovative steps, such as our enhanced mobile banking app experience, and our online chat-bot Ada, which has seen continued growth in use by our customers across board.

In consideration of our customer’s needs, we continuously seek ways to improve overall customer experience by looking at critical issues that impact our customers, and seeking digital solutions to enable a more efficient customer experience.  For this case study, we have considered a pressing issue related to dispute resolution and the tangible value digital has helped deliver (i.e. efficiencies and cost-to-serve).

CHALLENGE

Every customer can relate to the frustrating experience of waiting for retail vendors to complete a transaction using multiple POS machines and blaming the network/system which after failing, results in a trip to the closest ATM fraught with its own challenges and potentially failed transactions. Nothing worse than having your funds finally ‘deducted’ from your account with no cash in hand to show for it and then beginning the odyssey of resolving the failed transaction with your bank, all the while not resolving the initial need for the transaction. This leads to deep discontent and customer dissatisfaction thus reliability and guaranteeing a satisfying customer experience is critical, extending to the need for a streamlined, efficient transaction dispute process.

The use and dependencies on ATM and POS imply the need for reliability.  The complex nature of banking systems, which the customer will never see, implies that we must maintain optimal customer experience in the midst of failed ATM or POS transactions. The dispute process must be seamless and efficient to guarantee the right customer experience.  ATM and POS disputes for our VISA and BETA cards customers for local transactions take on average 3 – 5 days to resolve (and this is prevalent across the banking industry in Nigeria). The reality is clear – this deprives our customers of often-essential funds for that duration leading to discontent and dissatisfaction – our shared perspective is that it is unacceptable to how we bank our customers’ lifestyle. Such negative experiences also serve to break down the level of trust our customers have in electronic channels and the attendant benefits. For a critical channel in the transaction value chain, dispute resolution enabled through automation becomes imperative.

Reflecting on the new reality that RPA has enabled, Uzoma Dozie, Chief Executive Officer stated that: “When my team advised that they were looking into Robotic Process Automation with Deloitte, I was excited to see what results we could derive from that partnership. In under 2 months, we have been able to develop a robotic solution that successfully engages over six (6) different system platforms within and outside the bank to solve a pressing customer need – ATM and POS dispute resolution.  We have achieved a proven reduction of over 400% in the resolution time for a single dispute, and more than 300% reduction in backlog resolution turn-around time. I am now even more excited for what is in store for the Bank and its customers through RPA solutions.”

APPROACH

To address this issue, we collaborated with Deloitte to assess the viability of assisted intelligence for efficiency improvement to the accuracy of process outcomes (a combination of Robotics Process Automation, Data and Business Logic) to help automate the tedious dispute resolution process.

We used Robotics Process Automation (RPA) to prove this concept over a 6-week period working with the team of RPA developers from Deloitte right here in Nigeria. The team utilised an agile approach executed in a series of three (3) agile sprints, working closely with our business and technical specialists to converge with speed on the optimum solution iteratively.

Diamond Bank has leapfrogged into the future of work. Rob Giles, Head, Retail Banking: “We’re really excited by the possibilities that Robotic Process Engineering presents. As Nigeria’s fastest growing and leading retail bank it is important for us to deliver predictable and consistently positive experiences for our customers.  RPA has cut down the time it takes to solve customers’ requests and it has created more time for our people to focus on creative activities and engaging with our customers. In collaboration with Deloitte, we have proven that RPA works and it delivers positive outcomes for customers, colleagues and bottom-line performance.”

SOLUTION

The solution was developed on the UiPath™ Enterprise RPA Platform. The RPA platform engaged multiple systems through this process, namely our core banking system, our Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solution, Dispute Management System (DMS), BankOne, Extra switch and Base II.

On the new dawn for seamless banking transactions Alex Alozie, Head, Operations added that: “The complexity of the RPA solution developed is first of its kind in the Nigerian banking industry.  The system not only manages the operational interface between the platforms involved in the ATM/POS dispute and settlement, it also goes as far as posting the required chargebacks/ transaction  into our core banking application so the customer automatically receives value – THIS IS REVOLUTIONARY!!! .”

On execution, the robot was able to perform the following tasks without human intervention and at orders of magnitude faster than a human operator could, without error, slowing down or getting fatigued:

  1. The bot logged into the Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platform to view open cases assigned to it.
  2. The bot read all the cases, iterated through the list to investigate the root cause of the cases using a set of rules and a suite of logic to determine valid, invalid cases and cases requiring further investigation.
  3. Using the set of rules and logic, the bot had developed capabilities to access the switching dispute platforms and dynamically integrate with our core banking application to investigate dispute transactions ensuring that there was no duplication of resolution.
  4. Once the investigation proved a dispute was a valid case, the bot proceeded to the respective switch and logged a chargeback.
  5. Finally, the bot went back to the case on CRM and closed the case with a resolution message communicated to the customer.
  6. The bot was also able to check for invalid cases, return these to the initiator or escalate on the CRM platform for proper checks to avoid unnecessary re-work.
  7. In scenarios where the Robot was unable to resolve the dispute automatically, the solution escalated to a Diamond Bank Supervisor for further action.  

IMPACT & BENEFIT

During the course of the exercise, over a thousand cases were treated and automatically resolved – demonstrating rapidity and efficacy with a lens on reducing cost-to-serve.  We were able to realise a few benefits not limited to the following:

  • A 300% reduction in turn-around-time (3-5 days’ backlog of cases handled in less than 24hours)
  • 400% reduction in average handling time of a single dispute resolution (the Bot processes cases in average time of 1-2mins which is on the average five (5) times faster than a human (i.e. 6-10mins).
  • We saw an immediate increase in the capacity of the team to handle more value-adding tasks with productivity gains of up to 60% – this is helping us re-define the future of work at Diamond Bank.

Agility, responsiveness and flexibility have come alive in serving customers.  Sampson Aneke, Head, Transaction and Electronic Banking concluded by saying: “This development is truly exciting! An investment that pays for itself in terms of reduced cost of managing the resolution process, and value from a return on customer satisfaction. Working with Deloitte and our in-house team of “robot farmers”, we are cultivating the field of Robotic Process Automation to unlock significant values in several critical use cases.

Deloitte’s focus on driving digital in Nigeria aligns to its purpose of making an impact that matters.  Simply put, there are clear and tangible financial impacts to rolling out robotics. Nigerian Banks should leverage robotics to drive more efficiency in banking operations, reduce cost-to-serve and more importantly scale robotics innovation to enhance their customers’ journey and experience. On the back of Diamond Bank’s progressive approach towards the adoption of digital enablement in the dispute resolution space, Yemi Saka, Consulting & Digital Leader (Deloitte West Africa) illustrates that Robotic Process Automation is a key component in the future empowered workforce.   

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