Ellis ascends: Intesa Sanpaolo's gold-winning GenAI customer service revolution

Digital Reinvention
05/02/2024 Interview
profile picture of Cristina Motta

Cristina Motta

Intesa Sanpaolo

Executive Director of Digital Branch Management - Retail & SME Banking Division

Intesa Sanpaolo won a gold award at the Qorus-Accenture Banking Innovation Awards 2023 in the Reimagining the Customer Experience category for 'Ellis: Cognitive AI & GenAI Revolutionize Customer Service’. Cristina Motta, Head of Digital Branch Management at the Territorial Bank Division of Intesa Sanpaolo, tells us about the win and the challenges they faced to make this first step into the world of GenAI.

Can you introduce yourself and tell us more about your role at Intesa Sanpaolo?

I’m Cristina Motta, head of the Filiale Digitale department, the Customer Service of Intesa Sanpaolo and part of Retail Banking Division. In Intesa Sanpaolo, the Filiale Digitale (Digital Branch) is an innovative high-value service model aimed at providing users with a comprehensive omnichannel experience. My job is to guarantee excellent customer support in line with their expectations. Meanwhile, my goal is to ensure Filiale Digitale is perceived as a primary touchpoint and to evolve bank-client interactions by providing clients with 24/7 fast responses on the most suitable channel for them.

What made you most proud of the Ellis project?

I’m proud to be part of this pioneering experience in the conversational AI field, mainly because we have developed solutions with the latest innovative technologies which have been strongly appreciated by our clients and relationship mangers. We designed solutions (e.g. Ellis) which help to strengthen customers' bonds with the bank and to achieve, with other AI-based initiatives of the bank, the targets set out in Intesa Sanpaolo’s strategic plan.

What is the most important thing you would tell someone considering embarking on a similar project?

Similar projects should be based on four pillars:

1. Human + Machine Intelligent Collaboration: strengthening the support offered by AI, allowing clients to easily engage relationship managers in case of need;

2. Human-Centric Approach: designing new AI-based solutions with a human-centric approach to deliver the most linear and exhaustive solution to meet clients’ requests;

3. Market is King: progressive growing path to evolve AI-based solutions, driven by data and high quality standards;

4. Continuous Improvement: constant improvement of AI-powered solutions based on active listening to feedback received from clients and relationship managers.

What's coming next for the Ellis project?

We will enhance the support offered to our clients by extending the perimeter of handled use cases, allowing clients to engage our assistants for commercial or executive purposes, and by implementing new cross-channel features to streamline and improve the customer experience. Furthermore, we are scaling up the benefits and capabilities of GenAI for all our relationship managers within Customer Service.

What would you say to companies that might consider entering the 2024 Banking Innovation Awards?

The focus should always be clients and their needs, with data-driven decisions. From the start of our journey, we decided to assess the touchpoint to find out most recurring and standard topics, with the goal to address first the most important use cases and meet clients’ expectations and needs. Even after the release, we have continued to customize the experience of the most complicated use cases by streamlining the dialogue and making it easier for clients to address their issues. In the co-pilot phase too, we proceeded with a data-driven approach, analyzing the most recurring needs and implementing the priority features.

What does this award mean to you and your innovation team?

The recognition of our hard-working path. This achievement comes as the result of all Intesa Sanpaolo’s business units working together and creating synergies. Every step of this project has been essential to reach this point, allowing us to gain experience and know-how that would be crucial in the future.

Qorus members can access a complete feature including a detailed presentation of all the winners here

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