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Hello Google: Major bank launches super-bot

Hello Google

A major Australian bank has launched a superannuation virtual assistant, and anticipates the technology will become “everyday” in no time.

NAB subsidiary MLC has welcomed the arrival of its Talk to MLC virtual assistant. Available on Google Home devices, the assistant aims to “bridge the engagement gap” between Australians and their superannuation.

Customer experience specialist at MLC Peter Forster said Australians want more information, transparency and education in order to feel more in control as they enter and experience retirement.

He argued that virtual assistants can help get them there.


“Speaking to your super fund means getting to know and grow your super more easily, quickly and conveniently, and that has the potential to help millions of Aussies,” he said.

“Talk to MLC has been programmed to answer the fifteen most common questions people ask us – including how they can open an MLC account, change their investment options, and how to find lost super.”

Mr Forster explained that the assistant will be able to provide personalised tips to help people increase their super balance, in the future, and also engage with them to consider the benefits of putting money into superannuation rather than spending.

“After that, the world is really our oyster,” he continued.

The fund expects older Australians, Millennials and people with busy schedules will populate the first crowd to talk with the assistant.

However, it also believes the technology will become “as everyday as a mobile phone” soon.

Mr Forster said, “The technology took us six weeks to develop and deploy, and we’re in the process of developing other technology at a similar speed that will help to reduce asymmetry of information and further benefit our customers.

“It’s exciting to be creating innovative products and services to help our customers make the most of their super and their money.”

Speaking to Nest Egg in November last year, Deloitte Digital director Simon Stefanoff predicted a future in which voice assistants like Google Home are omnipresent.

At that point in time, Deloitte Digital was working on voice assistant software, which was set to be launched by individual funds this current quarter.

Mr Stefanoff told Nest Egg that a critical challenge for super funds was cutting through the complexity of superannuation, and argued that the industry had always appeared to need some simplification.

“Quite often I've got a lot of questions about that data where I have to think, alright what's going to show me this, how can I compare that to what happened five years ago? It's fine to see a graph in isolation, how about some context around it, what does this mean in terms of everyone else?” he said.

This is where voice tech comes in handy, Mr Stefanoff continued, arguing that this was the power of voice.

“One of the strengths of voice is the inclusive nature,” he said, especially for older age groups and retirees who may not be as digital-fluent.

“There are a lot of super brands that are trying to interact with this age group and they're probably not going to be able to do it via their mobile channels or desktop channels. We think that with voice they'll have a far better engagement with this age group because it's something they can simply do.

“I think that’s really powerful.”

Hello Google: Major bank launches super-bot
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