BofA’s Erica Surpasses 6 Million Users, Aims to be ‘More Proactive’

Bank of America‘s virtual assistant Erica has crossed 6 million users, representing growth of over 29% in the past three months.

Considering BofA’s 26.4 million active mobile users, the number of customers using Erica’s might seem small, as only 22% of mobile customers use Erica. But this should not be seen as representative of customer sentiment towards Erica, according to Betty Riess, BofA’s spokesperson, who pointed out that it’s been less than a year since Erica’s nationwide rollout. 

The same can be said about Erica’s role in getting customers to buy different products/services at the bank, Riess said.

“Keep in mind, we’re still in early stages,” she said. “But we are seeing it drive inquiries about other services.”

BofA is one of the two major banks that have a virtual assistant. Capital One is the other bank, with a virtual assistant called Eno.

According to Capital One’s VP of conversational AI products, Ken Dodelin, for a virtual assistant to be truly useful to a customer, it should be “proactive and not reactive.” This means being able to give the customer “something valuable, without them having to ask for it,” Dodelin told Bank Innovation.

Capital One recently rolled out a tax feature on Eno that sends customers a list of tax-deductible items based on their transactions throughout the year.

Also Read: Capital One Trains Virtual Assistant Eno To Be Proactive with New Tax Feature

Alex Carriles, Head of Online Banking at BBVA Compass, echoed the same sentiments as Dodelin at the Bank Innovation Ignite 2019 conference in Seattle last week.

“In 10 years, the vast majority of interactions are going to be proactive, bank-originated and not reactive,” Carriles said. “Banks will be interacting with the users…advising them on what to do, what’s the best next step that they should take instead of just reacting to the request of the customer.”

Bank of America, too, has plans for making Erica “more proactive,” through its Erica Insights feature, Riess said.

“We only began launching Erica insights late last year and some of the features that have been popular are Spend Path (snapshot of month-to-date spending), flags on upcoming recurring charges and enhanced bill pay reminders,” she said.

Riess added that the bank plans on adding more capabilities to Erica Insights that will make it a more “personalized- proactive guidance,” tool. Exactly what those features are, Riess did not disclose.

“Since launching Erica’s proactive insights in November, we’ve seen daily client engagement and active usage double,” she said. “So, we feel like we’re on a great track and are excited to continue expanding the breadth and sophistication of Erica’s capabilities.”

BofA was also recently certified by J.D. Power for customer experience on mobile and website. “It’s the first bank to receive this certification,” Bob Neuhaus, VP of Global Financial Services at J.D. Power, had told Bank Innovation. This certification is based on various factors such as design, user experience, seamlessness, ease of operating, and customer service.

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