The Evolution of Digital Customer Service

by on May 29, 2013

IBM WatsonWhen Jeopardy champion Ken Jennings lost to Watson, IBM’s question-answering supercomputer, he jokingly declared “I for one welcome our new computer overlords.” Luckily, for all of the carbon-based life forms in the room, we have found a way for Watson to serve us – as a customer service agent.

Forbes recently reported that several companies, including financial services firm RBC, will partner with IBM to roll out an “Ask Watson” feature that will help enhance the user experience for a variety of customer service channels:  online chat, email, mobile and SMS. The service might eventually include voice recognition as well. Below, we review of some of the digital answering services that already exist on brokerage websites.

TD Ameritrade – Ask Ted
The Ask Ted service instantly answers questions like “How can I diversify my portfolio?” and “Where can I place a trade?” with appropriate links to related information. Ted narrates the answers to questions if clients decide they want to hear him speak. Ask Ted is accessible from the top menu throughout the private site, and the firm includes links to pre-loaded questions on certain pages, like the trade ticket. Ask Ted is not available on TD Ameritrade iPhone apps.

TD Ameritrade’s Ask Ted
TD Ameritrade’s Ask Ted
E*TRADE Financial – Virtual Assistant
E*TRADE’s Virtual Assistant is featured on specific pages like Account Transfers and seems best set up to answer specific frequently asked questions rather than general queries.  The Virtual Assistant couldn’t tell us how to diversify a portfolio, or point us in the right direction; however, it answered our question about where to place trades with a link to educational content about stock trading. Like Ask Ted, the Virtual Assistant isn’t available on E*TRADE’s iPhone app.


E*TRADE Virtual Assistant