Heinzelmaennli_vision

Heinzelmännli: a collaborative assistant for financial advice

Banking advice is becoming increasingly complex. The financial consultant is obliged to establish relationship with the customer, to offer adequate services or products, to take risk aspects into account, to identify cross-selling opportunities, or to provide reliable documentation. All of this increases the cognitive load, which is at the expense of collaboration and communication between the consultant and the client. A collaborative digital assistant, which is seamlessly integrated into a conversation and carries out time-consuming tasks in the background, could help reducing the pressure on the consultants and increase the quality of the consultation. We envision Heinzelmännli (little helper), a collaborative assistant who understands Swiss German, can execute individual commands, and maintain the focus of the conversation throughout the entire consultation. He enriches the advice with up-to-date facts and playful, audio-visual content. He becomes an interaction partner for the customer and the consultant.

Current research sees digital assistants as an additional contact channel between the client and the bank or as a replacement of the traditional, face-to-face contact. This project intends to break this paradigm by pursuing a vision of Heinzelmännli, a digital assistant whose abilities complement those of the advisor or the client. The practical objective is to improve the advisory service and to empower the consultant. The intended scientific contribution is the description and evaluation of collaborative configurations involving digital assistants in face-to-face services.

Together with the partners from industry and research, IMRG follows a plan to develop an instance of Heinzelmännli for use in investment advisory services. The project embraces fieldwork, software development, experiments, and a pilot study. The user and organizational studies are carried out to identify and test the essential functions of the system. The user experience and the new interaction paradigms are addressed by design explorations in order to achieve a high level of user satisfaction. Speech recognition for Swiss German, as the basic technology behind the Heinzelmännli, is being adapted to dialogues. It is brought together with other technical components and applications and integrated into a uniform system that can be used in investment advice.