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RONA - the first chatbot in the Albanian banking system

The principles of artificial technology are based on the simplification of standard bank processes, and in this view, the acceptance from the society is quite high.Erion SERTIHead of IT DivisionRaiffeisen Bank Albania The latest technology developments, especially artificial intelligence, have increasingly allowed banks to look at new opportunities to use the latter in customer service, by providing intelligent solutions. Thanks to artificial intelligence, banking services are becoming smarter, thus creating a huge space for the future. One of the markets, where a significant developments and great leaps are scored, is automated communication, which has led to the extensive adoption and development of chat-bots. Part of Raiffeisen Bank's mission, aiming at an increasingly focus on customer service and continuous improvement of banking services, is the launch of RONA (Raiffeisen ON Assistant), a virtual assistant which uses artificial intelligence, the first bank ever in the Albanian banking market to make such a move. Through RONA the bank enhances its services to customers and in a more quick way, typically on a 24/7 basis, thus replacing traditional communication channels, such as: telephone or e-mail, by saving time, because it is not necessary to show up at the branch to get information on banking products and services. The service is quite simple; it allows clients to ask questions, write, or perform some banking services through RONA. One of the new terms used today is the Augmented Intelligence, which is the complement of algorithms with human decision. Today, in cases where RONA fails to get the right answer, then there is an interaction by bank agents. The design itself, and the services provided through social communication channels (Viber and Messenger), along with opportunities that are further usable, creates a tremendously positive customer experience. Each chatbot user has h/er/is own "banker", an assistant who can help h/er/im answer and solve the most common questions or concerns, at any time, by providing some banking services, such as: real-time account balance and the ability to pay back the credit card. Researches by some companies, including Gartner, underscore the fact that 85% of customer interaction with banks will be conducted by chatbots. The increased speed on customer response, process automation, and cost savings are some of the benefits of applying chatbots to banks today. Raiffeisen Bank continues to be the leader of innovation in the Albanian banking market, by always offering innovative products and services to clients. The year 2019 coincides with the 15th anniversary of Raiffeisen Bank Albania and the launch of RONA is one of the innovations the bank offers in this regard.Today, the most innovative banks in the world are not traditional banks. Names like: Revolut in London, or N26 in Berlin, are increasingly eating more market slices from the traditional banking market. The way they are doing this is through the use of technology and Artificial Intelligence, in the processes of risk assessment, improving the user experience, etc. Although these digital banks are focused on limited banking products, their ability to simply serve the younger generation has made them quite popular. For the first time, after about 5 years in the market, Revolut has applied for a pure bank license, which is a clear sign that people in Europe and around the world are increasingly tended to use online services rather than physical services. This wave of change, although being a bit distant over the horizon, is quite close to the region where we live. In our view, the Albanian market has almost overcome the barriers to technology use, as we have the second youngest population in Europe, next to Kosovo. The principles of artificial technology are based on the simplification of standard bank processes, and in this view, the acceptance from the society is quite high. Today, Raiffeisen ON – the digital application – has scored more than 100,000 downloads, which is a clear sign that the barrier, more than human-like, has been in the way, the technology has been offered to them, so far. For us at Raiffeisen Bank, the key question we ask ourselves is “how much time and money our customers have saved this year”, and to increase satisfaction, technology is the only way.