Nationwide trains virtual assistant to offer mortgage advice

Nationwide has revealed it is using a virtual assistant, Arti, to answer questions about mortgage support for those impacted by coronavirus.

Arti has been supporting the building society’s frontline teams by learning how to respond to the most common mortgage holiday queries.

Having provided swift responses to more than 10,000 queries since 27 March via an online chat, Nationwide announced that Arti has also freed up hundreds of hours for colleagues to deal with more complex queries from the society’s members during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

A team made up of Nationwide’s mortgage, technology and AI specialists worked together on the project to build, test and roll out the service in just four days. The society revealed its virtual assistant’s new abilities were live at the end of March – answering thousands of mortgage holiday queries within the first few days – and has continued to respond to around 350 queries per day since.

Nationwide senior digital manager, Beverley Bartlett, commented: “We see Arti as one of our 18,000 colleagues supporting members to find the best possible solution to their query. This isn’t solely about innovation but responding to our members’ most pressing needs.

“With an 89% increase in new registrations for Nationwide’s online bank since lockdown began, it’s important we provide our members with more choice to engage with us digitally, alongside our branch network and contact centres, should they need them.

“The speed at which we delivered this new capability meant that frontline teams could spend their time dealing with more complex queries from our members. It means we can continue to serve our members in more ways, more quickly and effectively, but still with the added reassurance of the human touch, if needed, that our members value.”

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