EQ launches voice-recognition service

Customer service never stops evolving... you can now check your EQ online account by talking to your Amazon Echo!

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluslinkedinmailFacebooktwittergoogle_pluslinkedinmail   by Ben Faulkner, 19th April 2017

Introducing… Alexa

Alexa is the voice-activated operating system for the Amazon Echo – a smart speaker that is capable of understanding spoken requests and responding in kind, whether that be to play music or control your smart home.

The service itself is hosted by Amazon in the cloud but can be hooked up to a myriad of different “skills”. The skills are provided by third parties and give Alexa the ability to interact with services relevant to the user.

EQ meets Alexa

EQs technology team began tinkering with Alexa and Echo in late 2016 – intrigued by the new technology and curious about how to leverage Alexa to assist EQ clients.

One of our priorities at EQ, is to make life easier for clients by giving them a choice of ways to access details of their investments. Clients can already interact with us in person, by phone or via our new portal. By building a voice experience with Alexa, EQ is now able to reach people in a different way – using voice.

With clients more digital-savvy than ever and expecting information on a 24/7 basis, we decided to focus on a skill that would allow them to keep a track of their portfolios and one that could be enhanced over time.

Creating skills for Amazon Alexa

Nathaniel Papadacis, Head of Technology at EQ, and his team took the lead and built the skill.

The first version of the EQ Alexa skill allows clients to:

  • Check their total balance of their investments
  • Obtain a breakdown of their different portfolios and current values
  • Request performance details over a specified time period.

To experience EQ’s Alexa skill, you need the following:

  1. An Alexa enabled device, such as the Amazon Echo or the Amazon Echo dot
  2. An EQ Investors online account

With both of these things you can use the Alexa companion app (or the website) to add the EQ Skill to your Alexa service. Once added and enabled it will prompt you to link accounts by opening the EQ client portal login page. Once you sign in with your credentials the link is formed and away you go. Now you can say “Alexa, ask EQ for my balance” or “Alexa talk to EQ”

Benefits

Clients can now use technology they use daily in their personal lives when dealing with EQ. The EQ skill offers:

  • Simple and hands-free operation, making use of the latest technology.
  • Up to date information whenever you need it – great for checking a balance on the go.
  • Raises the bar on what customer service should look like in the wealth management space.

Improving the skills over time

Learning how clients are using the skill will enable the team to make adjustments and this feedback will determine additional releases.

Going forward, future features in the pipeline include:

  • Introducing a more conversational format to the questions.
  • EQ’s thoughts on current market conditions.
  • Reminders to top us ISAs before the tax year end.
  • Set threshold values to be contacted about: ‘let me know if my pension hits £500,000’
  • Notification when recently deposited cash has been invested.

Some of these are dependent on Amazon-Alexa developments being implemented.

Demonstration

If you’d like to try the demo then you will either need your own Echo or try using the simulator website.

You’ll also need to add the skill to your Alexa account either by using the app or logging on to http://alexa.amazon.co.uk and searching for the EQ skill.

Once added you can link accounts using the login dummy@dummy.com with the password of dummy or simple click the “Try the demo” link on the login page.

The Alexa App is compatible with Fire OS, Android and iOS devices.

Ben Faulkner
Communications Director

» If you have any questions about the above, please do not hesitate to contact us.

About the author: Ben Faulkner

Ben joined EQ in 2015 and has over 14 years’ of experience across the pensions, financial technology and wealth management sectors. At EQ, he is responsible for developing, managing and implementing the marketing communications strategy. Outside of work, Ben’s two daughters keep him busy. He enjoys keeping fit, especially running and cycling along the Pilgrim’s Way.

Find out more

  • Search the EQ library

  • Find articles by theme