SA’s RCS launches chatbot service with local startup

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South African financial services provider RCS has launched its own chatbot in partnership with local startup GotBot after collaborating in the wake of last year’s Startupbootcamp accelerator.

RCS is owned by one of the largest banks in Europe, BNP Paribas, and is a consumer finance business that offers customers a range of card, loan and insurance products in association with a number of leading retailers in South Africa, Namibia and Botswana.

The company has partnered with South African startup GotBot, a convenient, at-your-fingertips social commerce and customer experience solution, to launch the chatbot, an omnichannel artificial intelligence (AI) solution created for customer communication and satisfaction.

The chatbot is a tool allowing RCS to learn more about its customers through the Facebook Messenger platform. RCS is a core sponsor of the Startupbootcamp accelerator, which recently selected 10 startups for its second edition. GotBot took part in the first programme last year, and its deal with RCS was one of 32 such corporate partnerships struck by participating startups.

The chatbot, named Ricci, is focused on increasing and improving retail and customer relationship management (CRM) through always-on, real-time training. The chatbot will field frequent queries while aiding Facebook community managers with timeously answers to complex questions.

Ricci was created out of the need to build an AI for the retail and communications sector that was innovative and adaptable. It will allow queries to be answered outside of standard office hours.

“We are in the midst of a digital revolution. Companies need to adapt to the fast-paced world our consumers live in,” said Regan Adams, chief executive officer (CEO) of RCS.

“Having the availability of a 24/7 service, which enables customers the ability to receive information with minimal effort are all key indicators of the fast-paced environment we live in.”

Anyone will be able to train the AI chatbot in real-time. It will also allow for complex operations, such as connecting to external Application Protocol Interfaces (APIs) or databases in order to construct intelligent replies based on that data.

The initial phase will provide responses to customer queries and allow them to obtain account balances. Future features will include CLI and Cash advance features.

Read why Regan Adams believes more startups and corporates need to work together here.

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Passionate about the vibrant tech startups scene in Africa, Tom can usually be found sniffing out the continent's most exciting new companies and entrepreneurs, funding rounds and any other developments within the growing ecosystem.

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