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USAA testing Amazon Alexa skill

USAA is testing an Amazon Alexa skill that will enable its customers to get answers to some of the most frequent and basic questions fielded by service representatives answering member phone calls, according to a press release.

The San Antonio-based bank said the pilot is designed to provide a conversational experience with Amazon Alexa used artificial intelligence technology developed by a company called Clinc, which has developed a conversation platform for financial institutions.

"Our members deserve great experiences each and every time they interact with us, regardless of how they choose to do so," Darrius Jones, assistant vice president of USAA Labs, said in the release. "Technology is what enables us to provide those experiences. This pilot is designed to better replicate the interaction members would have with a USAA service representative on the phone, open new avenues to better serve our members and create more opportunities for our member service representatives to handle more complex member needs."

USAA's skill for Amazon Alexa pilot will leverage Clinc's artificial intelligence conversation management technology to produce a more human-like interaction from Amazon Alexa, as the skill remembers context, follow-up questions, and complex human language, according to the release. This technology will also learn as members interact with it and infer information not explicitly specified by users throughout a conversation.

For security purposes, members must enable the USAA skill in the Alexa app, and link their USAA account. In addition, members will have the option to add a voice PIN for additional security if they worry others may have access to their Alexa device.