What if your intelligent assistant obsessed over your money, 24/7?

Presented by Capital One

The ways in which we interface with machines has evolved a lot since the Industrial Revolution. Early on, professionals relied on manual interfaces (think knobs, buttons, and levers) before the development of the programming interface. We dramatically expanded the accessibility and possibilities for consumers through the keyboard and mouse, and fueled the ubiquitous adoption of mobile devices through touchscreen technology. With the more recent advent of the conversational interface, we have miraculously reduced the human-machine interaction to a simple verbal cue.

What all of these human-machine interface advancements have in common is the central tenet that the human will predominantly serve as the initiator of the interaction. The cognitive load of thinking about what to do, when to do it, and how to do it lies with us. But, what if the machine took on this cognitive load and was there for you before you even knew you needed it?

Enter proactivity. It’s a buzz word you hear frequently in the technology industry, but proactivity might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of banking or even AI. Yet as data availability and machine learning models enable us to be more predictive of customer needs, banks have an opportunity to proactively look out for customers and their money 24/7 to help give them a sense of confidence and control over their finances. That’s where intelligent assistants come into play.

The case for personalized proactivity in banking

Managing money can often be tedious, complicated, and stressful. At Capital One, we’ve been focused on building a proactive assistant to make it less so. Having led the product team that has partnered with exceptionally talented colleagues in technology, design, and data science to develop Capital One’s intelligent assistant, Eno, I’m proud to have seen us move the customer-bank relationship up the value chain. Eno is adaptive and ambient, taking on many form factors and bringing discrete assistive capabilities to different experiences.

Eno watches for abnormal charges

It takes time and energy to review every charge on your credit card statement. That’s why we’ve trained Eno to do the heavy lifting for customers. Whether it’s a potential double charge, an abnormally large tip or a recurring charge that is suddenly more than usual, Eno pores over the data and proactively reaches out to let you know and, if necessary, help you take corrective action. Eno also proactively helps customers prevent fraudulent charges by offering merchant-specific, virtual credit card numbers at online checkout.

Eno helps you get more out of your money

Take tax season, for instance. Americans want to maximize their tax returns, but it’s rare that they take the necessary steps to prepare themselves in advance of crunch time. A recent survey conducted by Capital One indicated that over one-third of Americans (37%) do not track how much money they donate to charitable causes each year, with over half (52%) finding it stressful to have to track down their charitable donation information from the past year.

Eno helps make it easier for Capital One customers to do their taxes by sending a personalized, year-end summary of charitable donations made with Capital One accounts. For 2019, Eno scoured customer transactions, ultimately identifying nearly $ 2 billion in charitable donations that may be eligible for tax deductions. In January, Eno then delivered personalized emails to five million customers, summarizing each customer’s unique charitable donations into one succinct view for each customer. In this case, Eno proactively delivered helpful information to customers before they needed it, well ahead of the July 15 Tax Day deadline.

Another example of Eno’s personalized proactivity is that Eno can now detect when you started a new free trial. When Capital One customers sign up for free trials at one of over 20 merchants, Eno proactively takes note and, with the tap of a button, customers can accept Eno’s offer to remind them of the upcoming free trial expiration — before it happens. Eno later appears with a reminder and instructions on how to swiftly cancel the trial. If you’ve decided to continue with your subscription, Eno will send a reminder the day after letting you know that you have a new recurring subscription charge.

I’m really proud that charitable donation summaries, free trial notifications, and other proactive experiences have resulted in Eno’s 95% approval rating among customers.

The machine-human interface

At Capital One, we’re building Eno to provide increasingly proactive, personalized experiences for our customers and, in doing so, we’re evolving the relationship between our customers and their bank. We see this as part of a broader trend in how humans and machines interact, with more interactions initiated by the machines — often through an AI assistant. We’re in the early stages of this next phase and emphasizing customer control, trust, and preferences in every experience we design. This is an exciting space for sure, and as we continue to teach Eno to be a more valuable AI assistant, we’ll continue to focus on designing experiences that are “customer-back” and let the machine do most of the work.

Ken Dodelin is Vice President, Conversational AI Products at Capital One.

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