¿Hablas Español? How Banpro in Nicaragua Used Conversational AI to Grow Its Customer Base

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When Banpro set out to grow its business, the Nicaragua-based bank knew that the key to doing so would be to find a way to engage with as many people as possible within their target audience, while improving the experience for their existing customers. To do so effectively, the company not only needed to get the attention of the market, it also had to find a way to bring a simple banking experience to the channel where everyone was already spending much of their time: their phones.

In Central America, people tend to rely on their smartphone as their primary means of accessing the Internet. Given this reality and the fact that half of Nicaraguans report using Facebook on at least a daily basis, trying to create some kind of conversational assistant to engage with them on the social media platform made a lot of sense. And while mobile banking was already commonplace in Nicaragua, the Banpro team believed that launching a financial conversational assistant within Facebook Messenger would be a new, innovative, and effective way to meet its goals.

“We saw it as a smart way to better educate the market and make our products and services more accessible, all while taking a big step forward in achieving our expansion goals,” said Sergio Balladares, Manager of Alternate Channels. “And since we could do all of this using a platform that many Nicaraguans were already highly familiar with, it seemed like a smart strategic play.”

Of course, the challenge that Banpro faced was figuring out how to build a virtual assistant that people would actually use.

“Finn AI has been an excellent partner who has helped us meet our ambitious goals by putting cutting-edge conversational AI in the hands of our customers.”

SERGIO BALLADARES,
MANAGER OF ALTERNATE CHANNELS

Going for Growth in the Nicaraguan Market

It was around this time that some of the executives at Banpro met Finn AI, the award-winning, conversational banking technology provider. Given Finn AI’s expertise in banking and data science, and its vision for promoting financial literacy through the use of advanced conversational assistants, partnering with the company made a lot of sense. The only outstanding question that Banpro had was would Finn AI be able to deliver an assistant that worked well in Spanish?

After sitting down with Banpro to understand its specific goals and objectives, the Finn AI team began to map out all of the different types of queries that would require a response from the conversational assistant. In this particular case, Banpro was looking for an assistant that would, among other things, be able to handle many of their customers’ day-to-day banking needs while also giving them information about Banpro’s products and services.

From there, the team created all of the necessary content to support the assistant. Although Finn AI had a track record of building successful English-language conversational assistants, it had never developed one in a foreign language before. To tackle the challenge, the company hired a team of native Spanish speakers to translate and localize all of its content, tailoring it precisely to the idiosyncrasies of Nicaraguan Spanish. That way, local customers could interact with the assistant in a very natural way, which was critical for driving adoption and garnering their trust.

“This was the first conversational assistant that we had ever developed in a foreign language,” says Ben Terrill, Vice President, Customer Success at Finn AI. “We knew it would be critical to get the specifics right in terms of how people actually speak in Nicaragua. And we did. Today, we’re systematizing the model we created with Banpro and using it to create virtual financial
assistants in other languages.”

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2.2 million

internet and active social media users in Nicaragua (36% penetration since 2016)

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48%

of web traffic is from mobile (up 32% since 2016)

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91%

of the 2.2 million Facebook users in Nicaragua access the platform on their mobile

Early Results Point to Massive Adoption

Within three months Banpro’s new conversational assistant was up and running. Wanting to build momentum, the bank launched their assistant with a bang. In addition to deploying it to all of their channels at once, they made a big splash with media, garnering great coverage and awareness.

Although it’s still early days, their assistant had already attracted close to 10,000 users in its first month. Not only that, Banpro is delighted and keen to build out the product. “We really see conversational AI as the future for engaging our next generation of customers,” says Balladares. “Finn AI has been an excellent partner who has helped get us on track to meet our ambitious goals by putting cutting-edge conversational AI in the hands of our customers.”

Finn AI is equally pleased with the results. “Because we’ve deployed so quickly, we’re already getting access to tons of user data,” says Terrill. “That means we can continue to work with Banpro to optimize and enhance their conversational assistant. I think we’re going to see a huge uptick in adoption over the months and years ahead and we’re excited to continue partnering with Banpro every step of the way.”

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Features

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Information and Support:
Banpro’s customers can evaluate and apply for products, and access bank information such as commonly asked questions, bank/ ATM locations, and more.

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Day to Day Banking:
Banpro’s customers benefit from a conversational interface that they can use to access, interact, and transact with their bank accounts.

About

Finn AI is an award-winning, AI-powered virtual assistant built for personal banking and finance. We put a personal banker in every bank customer’s pocket, helping them to manage their money
wherever they are, whatever they need—via a simple, natural conversation.

The Finn AI team of data scientists, engineers, and financial industry experts helps banks and credit unions transform customer engagement and increase financial literacy, while delivering the convenience and savings of a digital-first experience.

For more information, please contact us.