Nova and Nora: How our robots are helping customers

Mattias Fras, Head of AI Strategy & Acceleration
18-04-25 12:40 | About Nordea

What do phone queues, cost-cutting plans and customer contacts all have in common? They can all be improved with a robot.

As we presented our first-quarter results for 2018 today, we also talked about Nordea’s work on developing services that make it easier for us to serve our customers. One of these projects is about robots and artificial intelligence.

Because robots are good at speeding up automated processes and making them more secure, we gain better tools for helping you faster and more simply. This in turn enables our employees to focus more on helping our customers. But do customers actually want to deal with virtual employees?

“Customers are different and want to be served in different ways,” says Mattias Fras, Head of AI Strategy & Acceleration at Nordea. “Say, for example, I’ve lost my cash card and want to block it and order a new one. Customer A wants to do this quickly and simply through the chat function at 1 a.m. There’s no need for human contact. The customer just wants confirmation that it’s been done. However, Customer B really wants to talk to a human, and doesn’t mind waiting a few minutes during the day for assistance. We are a bank for all customers and build solutions for both.”

The advantage in automation for Customer A is that customer service employees helping Customer B can spend more time doing so and respond faster. When creating services that feature robots, it’s important to find the right level for customers.

“Finding the right mix between humans and robots is key to creating the right service,” says Mattias. “Our customers, through their needs and how they use our services, will tell us how they want to be served. Then we just have to listen to their needs and create services for them in different situations.”

Starting with customer needs

Finding the right customer needs to build an automated solution around is actually quite simple.

“Like Steve Jobs used to say – ‘Start with the customer experience and work backwards to the technology’. This is how we want to identify customer needs,” says Mattias.

Two of Nordea’s robots have names – Nova and Nora. In addition, Nordea has a great number of artificial intelligence (AI) programmes. The difference between AI and robots is that AI gets smarter over time and can improve processes, while robots merely reiterate what we have programmed them to do. 

“A great advantage of AI is that it enables a large bank to be more agile and flexible to new conditions on the market, such as new customer needs, new regulations, new business models or new competitors. AI will enable a large bank to develop in the right way, for instance by creating relevant, frictionless interactions for customers and by providing employees with tools to better understand customers and the market, and hence the ability to develop innovative customer solutions, also by automating processes,” says Mattias.

The chance that you have already come into contact with one of our robotic functions as a customer is quite high. But we’re not done yet. You help us – by being a customer – to become the bank you want us to be in future. We can measure how you choose to contact us, how you choose to open an account, take out a loan, or ask for advice. Using all this information, we then create new services and functions. So, what would your dream robot be for the Nordea robotics team to make?

“My dream is to create solutions for our customers that make fulfilling customers’ goals relevant, straightforward and swift – a robot that enables us humans to spend more time on being human in our contacts with customers,” says Mattias.

When we presented a video during our quarterly presentation today demonstrating some of the things the robot Nova can do, our CEO Casper von Koskull remarked: “This is a taste of the future.”

Nordea’s virtual co-workers

As a customer of Nordea, you’ve probably already met some of our virtual co-workers:

Nora is our robot investment advisor who can instantly help you set up a savings plan. She’s already available for our customers in Sweden. Customers in Finland can start using Nora in a couple of weeks, while Norway and Denmark will both follow suit this summer.
Nova is a chatbot that can help customers with easy tasks, shortening the lines to customer service.

We are working with Artificial intelligence (AI) on an ongoing basis so we can come up even better solutions and services for our customers.

Learn more by reading our Digital Hub blog "Robotics are empowering humans to be more humans".

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