A Conversation with Abe AI's Rob Guilfoyle on Consumer-Centric AI Experiences

As digital financial products and services become more commoditized, standing out in the crowd requires moving from a product-centric focus to a more customer-centric experience. Advanced AI-driven solutions are enabling both financial institutions and fintech providers to efficiently deliver the customer-centric digital experiences customers demand. In this article we speak with Rob Guilfoyle, the CEO of Abe AI, on how Conversational AI works and why it is such a crucial element in the next step of consumer financial wellness and interactions.  

How does it work? How does it learn? Our Conversational AI uses a hybrid approach which introduces both business logic and machine learning to dictate the "next turn" in a conversation. The system is trained dynamically by user data to ensure the conversation they have with the system is accurate per that person’s unique dataset.  

What can I do with conversational AI? Does this mean I can pay my bills and transfer money via voice command? Right now, if it’s possible to do something online or in a mobile app, you can do these same things through conversation with a virtual assistant. We’re seeing a lot of interest in informational insights such as where people are spending their money and transactional actions such paying bills and moving money between internal bank accounts.  

How do I protect myself? How do I keep someone from, say, sending themselves $500 when they’re at my house? Can it do voice-recognition security? There are several layers of protection that we implement, such as voice passcodes and other timeout features. We work closely with digital banking institutions to incorporate their security “step up” features to align with their internal security protocols and to protect against any nefarious behavior. The major platform players, such as Amazon and Google are also investing heavily to ensure voice experiences are a balance of simplicity and security.  

What does the future of voice AI look like in the fintech world? What are the 10- and 20-year goals and visions? The real power of Conversational AI is its ability to hold contextualized dialogue with customers at scale. It’s a different kind of way for financial service providers (FSPs) and their customers to strengthen their relationship through asynchronous conversation about meaningful matters of money.  

What differentiates Abe from other Conversational AI platforms? Our platform is differentiated not only by the tools we provide FSPs to create, maintain, test and scale for any channel, but also by the quality of the conversational experiences themselves. Our differentiating capabilities that make human-like conversation possible include:

  • Personalized Understanding: empowering customers to refer to their accounts in the familiar language they would use at a branch.
  • Non-linear Dialogue: the ability to handle complex conversation, across multiple workflows even if seemingly out of current context.
  • Long Form Input Modes: ability to build more complex, conversational journeys like Loan Origination, Account Opening, or Mortgage Estimates.

Beyond this, we’ve deeply integrated with the Yodlee suite of APIs, so FSPs can get to market incredibly fast with conversational interactions that are proactively generated and work.   How does conversational AI help connect financial institutions with consumers?

Voice activated smart speakers are becoming ubiquitous and woven into the daily lives of everyday people. Conversational AI helps expand financial services into these new digital channels that have ever increasing adoption by consumers.   Why would consumers prefer using conversational interfaces for managing their finances versus current methods? It not that one channel is “better” than another to manage your finances. There is simply a time and a place when one channel is more convenient than another. If you’re on the subway, an app is the best way to check if your direct deposit has hit. If you’re at home feeding three kids at the dinner table and need to know how much you owe on a credit card, asking Google Home is faster and more convenient.