Absa Regional Operations selects KAI to deliver groundbreaking digital experiences to its customers across Africa

Absa’s virtual assistant helps customers in its African markets with their day-to-day banking needs and plans are afoot to offer transactions over chat.

Kasisto, creators of KAI, the leading digital experience platform for the financial services industry and Blue Turtle Technologies (Blue Turtle), South Africa’s leading enterprise technology partner, have announced that Absa Group Limited’s subsidiaries outside of South Africa, collectively known as Absa Regional Operations (ARO), have selected and deployed KAI, Africa’s first Conversational AI powered virtual banking assistant. ARO chose to partner with Kasisto and Blue Turtle based on KAI’s proven Conversational AI technology and Blue Turtle’s ability to assist Absa to plan, implement and transform their customer digital experience strategy.

Absa’s virtual assistant helps customers in its African markets with their day-to-day banking needs and questions. Customers can find out information about Absa’s banking services, account information, the nearest ATM, information about new products and services, what types of services require them to come into a branch, how to access mobile wallet and more, all through intuitive and intelligent digital conversations directly via the virtual assistant.

What’s more, the virtual assistant becomes more intelligent over time. In the near future, the bank plans to offer transaction inquiries, transfers and full payment fulfilment over chat. For added accessibility and ease of use, Absa’s virtual assistant will be available over the company’s Web site as well as a fully secure WhatsApp Business account.

“At Absa we believe in helping our customers bring their possibilities to life. So, when we set out on the journey to improve our customers’ digital banking experiences, we knew we needed a Conversational AI technology that was proven and a partner that was local. The partnership between Kasisto and Blue Turtle provided just that,” said Vimal Kumar, ARO Chief Executive for Retail & Business Banking, Digital and Customer Experience.

“Together we are providing Absa customers with a more personalised, digital banking experience that no other bank in the region can offer.”

With close to $100 billion in assets, approximately 40 000 employees and presence in 12 countries across Africa, Absa is a top player on the continent. Many in the market look to Absa for leadership and innovation.

“Everyone at Kasisto is excited to help power Absa’s mission with a virtual assistant that is trained on tens of millions of financial questions, and that allows Absa to deliver important self-service and financial wellness capabilities, and industry-leading digital experiences to its customers within Africa; this is an important market for us,” says Zor Gorelov, CEO and Co-Founder, Kasisto.

“We are also delighted to be working with our partners at Blue Turtle, who bring local technical expertise and know-how as we all work together to enable ARO to leverage the power of Conversational AI.”

Justin Arnoldi, Head of Digital Transformation at Blue Turtle, adds: “Our passion for innovation and customer success, and our partnership with Kasisto, has made us a great partner for ARO as it brings a new digital banking experience, based on a Conversational AI-powered and industry-leading virtual assistant, to their customers.

“Our strategy is to help banks like Absa integrate meaningful digital solutions that help them to engage, transact, gain insight and more accurately predict customer behaviour. We look forward to working with Kasisto and ARO to bring further digital possibilities to life.”

In addition to Absa, Manulife, DBS Bank, Standard Chartered Bank, TD, Emirates NBD’s Liv, and many other financial institutions use KAI to deliver intelligent virtual assistants and digitally immersive experiences to its clients. These experiences have proven to deliver impressive business outcomes by engaging with customers via omni-channel capable, intelligent human-like virtual assistants that:

Increase digital engagement, leading to more immersive Conversational AI experiences.

Increase brand loyalty and banking value by delivering financial wellbeing-related insights.

Reduce call centre operating costs while empowering customer self-serve through AI.

“The maturing of Conversational AI technology is coming at a critical time for the financial services industry. Financial institutions are increasingly challenged to meet rising customer expectations while managing costs. Conversational AI is enabling financial institutions to strike a balance between personalisation and cost to serve,” said Alenka Grealish, senior analyst at Celent.

“Among the Conversational AI vendors, Kasisto stands out for its strong understanding of the nuances of banking-related conversations and customer intents, which helps financial institutions deliver new and important digital capabilities to their customers.”

The Digital Customer Experience in Banking: 2020 Outlook

Trust is no longer your differentiator.

Issued by: Blue Turtle Technologies


Historically, banks focused on providing a trusted service to customers and relied on messaging and reputation for this trust, to gain market share and build sustained customer loyalty. The equation here was simple, trust equals loyalty equals customer lifetime value (CLV).

In the world of Bank 1.0, trust was established by the fact that banking activities were carried out purely in a physical world. Customers would visit branches to physically deposit and withdraw funds, request a loan or discuss financial needs. The explosive growth of digital technologies has changed this dramatically – its more complex and far more competitive. The ever-changing customer needs means that customers are banking on-the-go, and through devices, mediums and channels that weren’t originally designed with banking in mind. Banks, and the banking industry as a whole, have had to adapt to this dynamic landscape to merely stay in the game.

Enter Bank 4.0, which calls for a way of thinking beyond what has ever been required before – the iterative innovation process we have grown accustomed to has worked to create incremental enhancements to our banking experiences. But it is truly customer-centric, first-principle thinking that will guide us into the future and leave the laggards chasing their tails.

The concept of customer centricity is widely spoken about in workshops, strategy sessions, board meetings, and even around the water-cooler. As easy as it may be to explain, is far more difficult to implement, let alone do well. Fundamentally successful customer experience management (CXM) is not possible without this first-principle thinking. Questions have evolved from “how can we do this better” to “how can I solve the customer’s problem, service their need in the best way possible, or create a new product to meet a future need”.

This gargantuan shift in the banking industry is epitomised by recent studies that have shown that, for the first time, we have entered an era where trust is not the chief factor considered by customers when choosing their bank. This has been usurped by customer experience (CX). Forbes captured this tenet by stating that “customers don’t care if you claim you have omni-channel or multi-channel capabilities. They only care that they can connect with you, the way they want to connect with you, and when they want to connect with you. They go through the channel that’s easiest and most convenient for them. It could be a phone, a desktop computer, a tablet – whatever communication method they are most comfortable with.”

It must be stated, however, that trust is by no means less important to banks. Trust, in the eyes and minds of the modern-day consumer, is table-stakes. It is implied and expected, and those that do not conform to a basic standard will suffer a very rapid demise.

To complicate CXM even further, banks are coming to realise that a customer’s digital experience with their bank is constantly being compared to all the digital experiences in their lives. The demanding customer expects the same (if not better) experience with their bank that they get from the likes of Netflix, Amazon, iTunes, Spotify, to name a few.

This can be seen in the data – in 2016, 89% of respondents to a Gartner study believed competition was based predominantly on customer experience, versus just 36% from 4 years prior. In addition, an IDC study revealed that worldwide spend on CX technology amounted to roughly $508 billion in 2019, with a projected compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 8.2% for the period 2018-2022, reaching a staggering $641 billion in 2022– making it the fastest growing enterprise application software category.

So what emerging technologies are best positioned to provide customers with the biggest impact on CX? A Gartner study revealed that in 2020 and beyond, these emerging technologies are artificial intelligence (53%), virtual customer assistants and chatbots (39%) and omnichannel engagement solutions (37%).

Banks looking to differentiate themselves through customer experience should be focused on the following:

  • Understand the shift from GUI to CUI

In the past, customers were delighted in the graphical user interface (GUI) and intuitive interactions with web and mobile applications. Oftentimes the bank with the best mobile app was perceived to be the best, or “most innovative”. Recently, customers are gravitating towards a conversational user interface (CUI), where they interact, and transact, using natural language through voice on virtual assistant devices, or chat via instant messaging apps.

  • Use technology to combat the trade-off between customer security and friction

Historically, banks were challenged with finding a balance between offering customers rigorous security measures and offering them seamless, intuitive interface. Today, technology can be leveraged to offer customers state-of-the-art security without the cost of introducing friction or complexity which frustrates customers and increases the risk of onboarding drop-off, and transaction abandonment.

  • Meet the customer where they are and feel most comfortable

The modern-day customer is largely tech-savvy, mobile, and expects instant action and feedback. Processes and technologies need to cater for this, giving customers the ability to onboard, login, interact and transact remotely and digitally. In so doing, organisations need to ensure they don’t introduce unnecessary friction and must be cognisant of the challenges their customers face, for example, offering a large mobile application with high data consumption, and pushing regular application updates in areas of low connectivity and/or high data costs.

  • Have a truly single view of the customer

As already discussed, the digital customer is likely to engage their bank from a multitude of channels and change these from one interaction to the next. The customer sees their bank as one entity and expects to be treated the same by their bank. Whether the customer is engaging with the loans department, or credit card division, or customer service, data should be shared and easily accessible so as to ensure every customer engagement is part of a seamless conversation.

In summary, trust in banking is now implied and expected by the customer, and customer loyalty and CLV is being driven predominantly by delightful customer experience. We have often heard the adage that this is “the year of the customer” – but it is more relevant today than it ever has been before.

With our key strategic partnerships and cutting-edge AI technologies, Blue Turtle Technologies is able to offer a full end-to-end digital solution that will enable customers to engage and transact using virtual assistants, conversational AI, and process automation. We develop integrated solutions that include digital onboarding, chat banking, digital insurance claim processing and much more, using chat, natural language and hand-over to live agents when required.

We are also able to surface conversational AI over multiple channels, such as web, in-app, Facebook Messenger, and WhatsApp with our access to the WhatsApp Business API.


Conversational AI a reality with Digitall from Blue Turtle

Partnership brings conversational AI solutions to businesses looking to accelerate customer service and better automate client responses.

Issued by: Blue Turtle Technologies

Blue Turtle Technologies today announced it has been appointed as a strategic partner for Digitall.ai, a globally recognised vendor delivering all-in-one enterprise ready omnichannel conversational AI solutions, that allow customers to build intelligence-driven customer experiences without code. Another strategic partnership within the company’s digital transformation portfolio, the agreement enables Blue Turtle customers to engage and transact using virtual assistants, conversational AI, and process automation.

The Digitall.ai portfolio provides a customer with a toolkit that allows them to deliver chatbot functionality, drag and drop form builders, form-filling via natural language chat, document OCR, live-agent handover, and analytics. It also harnesses Natural language Intelligence (“NLI”) by way of a platform add-on that enables users to perform powerful queries on datasets, using natural language.

“Our clients need to provide solutions that cater for a mobile, resourceful, and demanding customer who want to be able to reach their service provider – no matter where the customer is, or what device they are using,” states Byron Wolff, Digital Product Manager at Blue Turtle. “Digitall.ai ensures that the responses that our clients provide are intuitive, relevant and purpose-driven, where they can create customer experiences using logical decision trees, enabled by AI, without having to rely on coders or developers to do it for them.”

Furthermore, Blue Turtle can offer packaged solutions that leverage Digitall.ai’s chatbot and conversation flow functionality and combine it with the WhatsApp Business API from its vendor partner Infobip. Creating an end-to-end digital conversational workflow.

Additional functionality within the Digitall.ai product stack, includes document upload, cognitive capture and OCR, as well as digital signatures and RPA for true solution versatility. Its live agent hand-over and chat management features provide a client the peace-of-mind that customers will always be serviced. Including in cases where interactions require human intervention, such as personal and sensitive conversations as well as specific cross-sell and up-sell opportunities. According to Wolff, the chatbot functionality within Digitall.ai allows a business to interact, transact and “converse” with customers anywhere, and at any time.

Some of the main use cases for Digitall.ai include:

  • Requesting product information, including FAQs, stock availability etc.
  • Requesting ATM, branch, store, or office locations
  • Customer remote onboarding
  • Form-filling via natural language, including e-signatures
  • Querying data sets using natural language
  • Requesting status updates on parcel deliveries
  • Scheduling meetings or consultations
  • Providing live agents, the ability to gather customer information and intents prior to engaging with them directly
  • A personal HR bot for employees to query policies, leave balances or even apply for leave
  • And so many more

“The decision to partner with Blue Turtle was an easy one, it is a well respected and established technology partner in Africa and its business model is closely aligned with our go to market strategy. Blue Turtle has identified Omni-Channel Conversational AI as a key technology to improve customer experience and reduce operational costs and the way that its teams have already started to position our solution to customers, should be used as a template for other partners who want to be successful in this industry. I am very confident that this partnership with be a profitable one and I look forward to doing great things with Blue Turtle,” says Bruce Skjolde, Sales Director at Digitall.ai.

Blue Turtle partners with Daon to deliver frictionless biometric authentication and protect customers’ digital identities

Daon and Blue Turtle partner to offer industry-leading omni-channel biometric authentication software in the African region.

Issued by: Blue Turtle Technologies

Blue Turtle Technologies, South Africa’s leading enterprise technology management company, is pleased to announce it has been appointed as an official reseller partner for Daon, a world leader in biometric identity technology.

As a reseller partner, Blue Turtle will integrate Daon’s biometric authentication technology into its digital go-to-market. This cutting-edge technology allows organisations to alleviate the need for compromise between the security and convenience of their customers’ digital interactions, offering mobile identity assurance through the use of fingerprint, face, voice, iris, liveness or multi-modal capture.

“For too long, organisations such as online retailers, banks, wealth managers, insurers and the like have had to make a decision between creating a fast, convenient and easy way for customers to interact and transact digitally, or opting for a more tedious process that was safe and secure,” said Byron Wolff, Product Manager at Blue Turtle Technologies.

“The modern customer is both more demanding as well as tech-savvy, which leaves organisations with little margin of error when operating in the digital world.” Wolff goes on to state that “the mobile phone has become so ubiquitous, so engrained in our lives that one could refer to them as extensions of ourselves and the connection we hold with the outside world.

“A greater reliance on mobile devices to communicate and transact 24/7 also implies that we are more vulnerable to digital threats, hazards and frustrations. Biometric authentication not only helps protect customers on their digital journeys, but it can also increase the convenience experienced through these journeys.”

Faster, more seamless authentication, coupled with less reliance on oft-forgotten and misplaced usernames and passwords allows organisations to simultaneously secure and streamline digital interactions – benefiting both parties immensely.

“Daon is laser-focused on providing a tailored, continuous digital experience for our customers and their users,” said Tom Grissen, CEO, Daon. We look forward to working with Blue Turtle Technologies who share in our approach to innovation and flexibility to enable South African organisations to build future-proof extensibility into their platforms and deliver the world’s most trusted identity journeys, creating lifelong partnerships.”

In addition to IdentityX for authentication, the integrated product includes Digital Onboarding: a simple, seamless, all-digital onboarding path for organisations in any regulated industry, including banking, payments, investments and gaming, which are required to meet KYC and AML regulations for identity verification during account opening. Daon also combines multi-modal biometrics, fraud prevention and adaptive enrolment and cross-channel voice authentication to integrate seamlessly with contact centres.

“This strategic partnership with Daon allows us the ability to provide organisations with a way to provide secure and convenient online authentication and transaction in a mobile-first, omni-channel way that will service the African market perfectly,” ends Wolff.

Digital innovation has become a critical element of a successful e-commerce business. Blue Turtle’s mission is to help clients integrate meaningful digital solutions to help them enhance efficiencies, reduce costs, enhance customer-centricity and further future-proof their organisation.

Blue Turtle partners with Majesti-fi to deliver a global secure data roaming WiFi solution

Issued by: Blue Turtle Technologies

[Johannesburg, 13 August 2018]

Blue Turtle Technologies, a leader in enterprise technology management, has partnered with Majesti-fi to offer a competitive, hassle-free international, secure data roaming WiFi solution.

The partnership will combine the extensive skill set of Blue Turtle with Majesti-fi’s award-winning 3G/4G WiFi hotspot solution, providing the world’s first SIM-free global WiFi solution as a business alternative to new and existing clients in the region.

As a newly appointed reseller partner, Blue Turtle will integrate Majesti-fi’s WiFi offering into its FinTech solutions to market to help clients manage and reduce expenditure when roaming in multiple countries, while ensuring a secure, encrypted connection. This removes the need for users to connect to unsecure WiFi while travelling, allowing for seamless, reliable connectivity without limits, using virtual SIM technology.

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Blue Turtle partners with Kasisto to deliver KAI, conversational AI platform

Kasisto and Blue Turtle partner to offer an industry-leading conversational AI platform in Africa.

Issued by: Blue Turtle Technologies

[Johannesburg, 31 July 2018]

Blue Turtle Technologies, South Africa’s leading enterprise technology management company, has partnered with Kasisto, a global leader in conversational AI software for the finance industry.

Through the partnership, Blue Turtle has been appointed an official reseller for KAI and will combine its overall talent pool to bring Kasisto’s advanced conversational AI platform to its clients. As a reseller partner, Blue Turtle will integrate Kasisto’s platform into its fintech solutions suite to better help clients unlock the power of real-time and secure customer interaction.

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