NatWest Banks on IBM AI for Smarter Customer Chats

IBM’s watsonx tech is set to power NatWest's Cora+ virtual customer care assistant

Ben Wodecki, Jr. Editor

November 8, 2023

1 Min Read
IBM, Natwest logos

At a Glance

  • NatWest partners with IBM to enhance its Cora virtual assistant to offer customers smarter responses.

British bank NatWest is tapping IBM's watsonX AI and data platform to improve its Cora virtual assistant. The result will be Cora+, a bot that will offer new generative AI enhancements to give customers more robust responses when they interact with it in natural, conversational language.

Cora+ can generate personalized responses to complex queries. It can help customers compare products, find services they need and navigate NatWest's digital platforms.

The improved chatbot can draw information from various secure sources - a capability not previously available through chat alone. Customers can still choose to speak with branch representatives during business hours, however.

Wendy Redshaw, chief digital information officer at NatWest, said in a statement that the improvements should make Cora more human-like and establish its role as a reliable and safe digital helper.

Cora was first launched in 2017 to answer simple questions from retail and business customers. Upon launch, it handled around 1,000 chats a month. NatWest’s chatbot now holds 1.4 million conversations every month.

IBM's Client Engineering team tested and validated Cora+ alongside NatWest's business and technology teams, with a focus on the secure deployment of the AI digital assistant.

“With the appropriate guardrails and governance in place ensuring that AI is open, trusted and targeted, banks can deliver an empowering value proposition enabling an even deeper level of customer loyalty,” said John Duigenan, distinguished engineer and general manager for the global financial services industry at IBM.

A recent IBM study found that more than 40% of banking and financial leaders expect AI to contribute to financial success in the next few years. Customer experience is a main technology focus for more than half of the industry leaders surveyed, with talent acquisition and security among the other top issues.

Read more about:

ChatGPT / Generative AI

About the Author(s)

Ben Wodecki

Jr. Editor

Ben Wodecki is the Jr. Editor of AI Business, covering a wide range of AI content. Ben joined the team in March 2021 as assistant editor and was promoted to Jr. Editor. He has written for The New Statesman, Intellectual Property Magazine, and The Telegraph India, among others. He holds an MSc in Digital Journalism from Middlesex University.

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