Montreal-based online small business lender Thinking Capital answered that question this week by introducing “Lucy”, an AI-powered virtual banking assistant developed by Vancouver-based Finn.ai that provides customers with 24/7 support through Facebook Messenger – a North American first.
In an Oct. 18 statement, Thinking Capital’s Anthony Lipschitz called Lucy “a welcome addition” to the company’s customer service team.
“We want to be present and accessible in all major communication channels our customers are using,” he said. “It is our goal with this pilot to provide users the best in class conversational experience, while continuing to position ourselves at the forefront of fintech innovation.”
In addition to answering basic questions regarding Thinking Capital services such as the company’s fixed and flexible loan repayment options, Lucy can help small- and medium-sized businesses qualify for up to $300,000 in financing by asking key qualification questions.
Should users ask a question she cannot answer they will be automatically linked to Thinking Capital’s human customer support team, though the company says users can expect Lucy to learn the answers over time.
Part of the reason for implementing Lucy, Lipschitz said, is that 52 per cent of Thinking Capital’s customers already apply for loans through mobile devices. Adding a chatbot to help them out seemed like the next logical step.
“We are harnessing the power of artificial intelligence to learn and then adapt to our customers’ needs,” he said.
Lucy is now available through Facebook Messenger, and can be accessed by any Canadian small- and medium-sized business owner with a profile on the platform, according to Thinking Capital.
The company is also in the process of integrating Lucy into its web and SMS platforms so users can switch from one channel to another, and has promised to add features such as the ability to check individual account information to future versions.
According to Thinking Capital, Lucy is one of around 30,000 bots that have been added to Facebook Messenger since the social media giant announced the platform’s support for chatbots at its F8 conference in April.