By Robert Williams
- Bank of America’s virtual assistant, Erica, has reached 7 million users since its nationwide rollout last June, according to a company announcement. Erica completed more than 50 million client requests using artificial intelligence (AI), predictive analytics and natural language processing (NLP).
- Those technologies have doubled Erica’s conversational knowledge to more than 400,000 ways to ask financial questions from 200,000 at launch. Since expanding Erica’s features last year to show customers a broader view of their finances, an average of 150,000 customers a week now use the service, per the announcement.
- Nearly half (49%) of Erica’s users are millennials, followed by Generation X (20%), baby boomers and seniors (16%) and Generation Z (15%). Bank of America next month plans to add a “Balance Watch” feature to Erica to notify clients when their typical spending may push their account balance to $0.
Bank of America’s first year of its AI-powered assistant shows strong signs of consumer acceptance by reaching 7 million users. The bank has more than 37 million active users of its digital banking services, including more than 27 million mobile users, giving the company a large audience for introducing new services and tech like digital wallets, voice features and loyalty programs. The number of users are likely to rise as tech-savvy Generation Z continues to reach adulthood and begins using more financial services.
Here, the national bank is flexing its digital tech muscles as mobile banking continues to grow more popular, with more than 53% of retail banking customers using mobile financial services, according to market researcher J.D. Power.
While banks have a worse reputation now that they did before the financial crisis of 2009, only 4% of consumers switched banks in the past year amid improvements in customer service, per J.D. Power. Personalized service from AI-powered tools like Erica will be a key part of boosting customer trust in retail banks, especially among younger adults who are more familiar with digitized financial services. Banking apps are best at helping customers transfer funds, pay bills and perform routine services, but are more limited in helping people manage their finances and reassuring users about security and privacy, per Forrester Research.
Erica’s significant usage demonstrates how consumers are growing more comfortable interacting with virtual assistants for some tasks while signaling that AI and natural language processing can give mobile apps a wider range of functionality for on-the-go customers.