Freo: digital precursor
Freo is a subsidiary of the Rabobank Group. The online loan specialist focuses on competitive rates, personal service and clear conditions. No complicated constructions or unclear conditions, but clear and accessible information. Freo is constantly looking for new possibilities to further improve that information’s accessibilaty.
"Our intensive collaboration with Iquality includes a Team as a Service (TaaS) agreement," says Freo’s IT business analyst Fremko Blox. “As a result, we can engage additional expert professionals at any time to develop new technologies. In this way we guarantee our position as a digital precursor, and we always respond quickly to new developments with which we can further improve the service to customers. ”
Voice: fast customer-oriented action on a new channel
Thanks to this collaboration, Freo and Iquality previously developed a number of digital tools for Freo’s website. This allows (potential) customers to, among other things, easily calculate their maximum loan amount and the costs of a loan, and the possible cost savings when switching from another loan company. To be able to respond to the rapid growth of voice user interfaces (VUI), Freo started a project at the end of 2018 to make these tools available via the Google Assistant.
"At that time there was no other Dutch lender who had voice-driven tools," says Blox. “With this project we wanted to distinguish ourselves among an interesting tech-savvy target group and gain experience with an important new channel at an early stage. Also, you immediately gain authority with this new channel. As a result of the growth of voice-driven searches, more consumers end up with Freo and our specific Actions. ”
Challenge: Action requires accurate input
Google’s Dialogflow platform helps developers with speech recognition in their Action. This platform recognizes the words, but does not include the context. This makes it difficult to ask the consumer about related data in the correct order, such as the desired loan, the level of income and the fixed costs. "The tools that are running on Freo's Sitecore platform only work if this data is entered very accurately and in the correct order," says Blox. "And if this intake process takes too long, the consumer will simply quit the process.”
To enable fast and accurate deployment of the Google Action, Iquality developed a smart link between the Dialogflow platform and the tools. With the help of artificial intelligence (Natural Language Processing), Dialogflow ensures that the user's input is understood. The link then ensures that the Action asks the questions in the correct order, and that the calculation tools receive the correct input. Iquality made use of the knowledge that was gathered during the development of conversational platform Duoloog.
Because Iquality already had experience with this technology, we were able to switch very quickly.Fremko Blox, Freo's IT Business Analyst
New service, interaction and valuable insights
Thanks to the effective collaboration, Freo was the first Dutch loan company to present a Google Action on 29 May 2019. Now consumers can use a few simple voice instructions in their Google Assistant to calculate the amount they can save by transferring a current loan to Freo. Freo and Iquality test continuously to further improve the interaction between the customer, tool and Google Assistant and to collect new insights.
"Of course we are proud of this great achievement, with which we once again confirm our reputation as a digital precursor and improve our service," says Blox. “Equally important are the insights that we collect about the way in which consumers prefer to interact with a voice user interface. These insights lead to new ways of advertising online. Thanks to our long-term cooperation with Iquality, we are already making rapid progress with that, and we can quickly scale it up if necessary. ”