EcoCash taps AI to improve customer experience

…introduces new chatbot called ‘Thembie’

Zimbabwe’s leading mobile money platform, EcoCash, has added another digital touch point to improve its customer experience by introducing an Artificial Intelligence (AI)-powered chatbot, or smart assistant, called ‘Thembie’.

Munyaradzi Nhamo, EcoCash’s Chief Operating Officer, said the launch of Thembie was driven by the company’s desire to add more communication channels to support its customers and improve the overall customer experience.

“The aim is to constantly improve the customer experience of our clients by offering yet another channel they can use to easily reach us whenever they need support for any of our products and services,” he said.

The new self-care chatbot intuitively addresses customer queries on WhatsApp without the need to physically visit a shop or to phone a call centre, therefore giving customers greater choice and convenience.

“Customers’ behavioural patterns have shown us that customers want to engage with brands over channels of their choice. It was therefore important for us to offer this solution in order to increase customers’ support options and channels,” Nhamo said.

He said to interact with the smart assistant Thembie, a customer simply needs to save Thembie’s contact number +263777222150 onto contacts (phonebook), log onto WhatsApp or Telegram, search for her number and type, ‘Hi’ to start a conversation.

“Thembie is mainly conversation-based and is highly interactive, allowing customers to carry out a normal conversation,” he said, adding that the chatbot can carry out a variety of tasks, ranging from customer onboarding, and financial transactions as well as self-help services.

Speaking on the launch of the chatbot, Loice Gakaka, the company’s General Manager for Customer Experience, said Thembie will be able to assist customers on a wide range of services.

“For all our customers, Thembie will be at their service 24/7, to help support them with any queries or issues they may have around merchant and bill payments, airtime purchases, send money, send money reversals, ZESA token purchases, banking services, PIN resets, stamped statement requests, balance enquiries and many more,” she said.

Gakaka added that Thembie, the start assistant, utilises AI data from a range of sources and is seamlessly integrated into various backend platforms for a smooth and consistent customer experience that requires no human intervention.

“The success of any chatbot hinges on its availability when the customer needs support and wants to interact with it. We have designed Thembie in such a way that she can pop up on any digital platform; on the website, on Sasai, on Facebook Messenger, on WhatsApp, on Telegram, Instagram or on Twitter any time the customer needs it,” she said.

Gakaka said when customers have a conversation with Thembie; any personal and sensitive information is kept safe and not shared with any unauthorized third parties.

EcoCash is a unit of the diversified digital and fintech group, EcoCash Holdings which is listed on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange.