A 7-year collaboration between Natixis Interépargne and the Living Actor ™ team earned them a 2016 CRM Award for Best Virtual Assistant.
Natixis Interépargne, with nearly 56,000 corporate customers and 3 million accounts, is a pioneer of employee savings plans and a major player in France.
The 2008 financial crisis created a climate of distrust for financial institutions that Natixis Interépargne wanted to address in order to retain their customers. Not unlike other organizations in similar situations, they needed to focus on creating more personal relationships with each and every account holder. The company was already among the first to introduce a “Self-Care” service on its website (online newsletters, personal account, etc.) so they knew the value of providing customers online access to savings plans and products. However, they had also observed that while use of digital applications was growing, the interfaces lacked a human touch. Natixis Interépargne believed that creating a more helpful, human, and interactive online relationship with customers would be key to rebuilding trust and loyalty. Natixis began to search for an innovative company to assist them with this important strategic shift, and found Living Actor™.
The collaboration with Living Actor™ started in 2009 with the creation of the Virtual Advisor, Thomas, and continues successfully today. Thomas has played a variety of roles for the financial institution for over 7 years. Recently this ongoing collaboration between a large company and a SME earned the team a 2016 CRM Award for Best Virtual Assistant.
Thomas was first launched in 2009 to easily explain employee savings plans through an instructive and interactive video simplecommelepargnesalariale.com. Following the success of the video, Natixis Interépargne and Living Actor ™ designed a new service: The interactive savings book which offers entrepreneurs personalized communications, and educational videos and tools for their employees. This service was launched in June 2010 and has become a differentiating marketing tool for the company. Two years later, these interactive books would be generated automatically when opening an account, and continue to present day.
The joint innovation gained momentum with the arrival of Thomas in the application My Salary Savings available on smartphones and tablets. Thomas hosts ten 30-second videos about the release of employee savings plans.
In March 2015, Thomas was launched as an Intelligent Virtual Assistant able to interact with users using Natural Language Processing (NLP). Thomas is now present on all of the interepargne.natixis.com website pages (French content). As an Intelligent Virtual Assistant, Thomas is:
- Available 24/7. Thomas answers all questions about savings plans.
- Simple and intuitive, he supports users in all of their savings endeavors, through a comprehensive and updated knowledge base.
- Proactive, he can also spontaneously suggest topics related to users’ initial questions.
- Thomas takes investors by the hand when needed—redirecting them to a live advisor by phone when necessary.
Thomas generates over 4,000 savings plan book videos per year for entrepreneurs, and since March 2015 he has answered more than 500,000 customer questions, with a satisfaction rate of 73%. About 1,600 people interact with Thomas every day.
Feedback and Next Steps
“Thomas is the result of a 7-year effort to deploy new technologies and provide artificial intelligence to the customer relationship and support call center. Thanks to the Living Actor ™ technology, Thomas offers an exceptional user experience,” claims Frédéric Lenoir, Marketing, Communication and Innovation Director, Natixis Interépargne.
Thomas embodies the brand of Natixis Interépargne in all media and for all types of end users. He has been easily adopted as an integral part of the company for many years. He is now the go-to, first contact for customers discovering employee savings plans.
As we announced in a previous blog, Thomas recently received an award for the best Virtual Agent in 2016. Thomas says in an interview: “I inspire confidence: I am perceived as competent, honest and I take into account the interests of the client. It is this ability to connect with others on their terms that encourages people to contact me, and even recommend me to others who need assistance.”
Thanks to a successful collaboration between a SME and large company that resulted in an innovative and iterative approach to rebuilding trust and loyalty, Natixis Interépargne’s Thomas is the main online contact for investors who works with the marketing teams and experts in the contact center.