Garanti Bank

Voice activation and chatbots: next generation mobile banking arrives

By 2015, Garanti Bank of Turkey had more than four million active users (representing half of its customer base) on its online banking app (first launched in 2011, and which Fjord also designed), making it an early leader in online and mobile banking. Garanti, however, did not take its early digital successes for granted and turned to Fjord for help in figuring out the next step in optimizing its product experience in a very fast changing digital world.

This didn’t mean just adding more mobile and online users (although that happened) or increased functionality to the app (which also happened, with customers now able to perform 200+ different types of transactions). Garanti has always been about turning turning traditional banking on its head, like when we first helped it launch the award-winning iGaranti, and this time was no different.

The result? A variety of next-generation services – specifically, voice control, OS-level services and chat UI for transactions – integrated into its mobile app (called Garanti Cep Subesi) that sets it apart from the pack and gives its customers a unique, intelligent banking experience.

We initially focused on alternative approaches to engage users on mobile through their everyday banking habits. We conducted user testing, utilizing early mockups to fine-tune the experience and navigation of the product. We explored ideas around native operating system-level features, like widgets, notifications and trackers, for customers not logged into the app in order to turn interaction with the bank into more of a habit. We also retooled the core look and feel, making it compatible with newly-launched Android and iOS releases, and introduced a custom design for Android.

But it was the launch of a mobile interaction assistant (called MIA) that made this next gen version something special.

MIA, a voice-based chat bot, allows customers to perform a variety of transactions – currency conversions, transferring money, payments, checking a balance, etc. Users will find, however, that MIA allows them to perform these traditional transactions within the app in a highly customized way and tailored to their specific needs. This customization and intelligence is not something many chat and voice services, especially in banking, can yet claim.

For MIA, we analyzed commonly used mobile app functions that we thought would be most valuable for customers while also considering their needs and daily routines to define different use cases. From there, we designed a character to embody the mobile assistant concept and create a companion-like emotional relation with the user. MIA also comes with an extensive grammar and comprehension capability, creating a distinctive experience that is also compelling for the audience. By considering tone, gender, types of responses, etc., in this way, MIA verifies that all banking transactions can be performed when users request and need it most.

The voice activation and chatbot are just two features that make Garanti Cep Subesi unique. Some other features of the app include:

  • Eye recognition as a means to log into the app
  • Push messages/notifications and emojis
  • A video feature that allows customers to have an online, face-to-face meeting with a loan consultant entirely within the app
  • QR code ATM withdrawals

The newly-designed app proved hugely popular when it launched:

  • 5 million digital (mobile and online) customers
  • Of the 5 million, nearly 4 million are active mobile users
  • 2.7 million are mobile-only customers
  • Within mobile banking, customers can perform 200+ different transactions
  • 111 million financial transactions per year are completed via mobile banking

More importantly, perhaps, is how well MIA has performed. It has achieved an understanding capability of 90% and 300K active monthly users, making it the most actively used customer service utilizing voice recognition in Turkey.