Westpac

Virtual Agent Red

Co-creating an artificially
intelligent super-being.

To help deliver Westpac's brand promise of 'help' in their customer experience, we partnered with them and IBM Watson to create Red.

Co-creating an artificially
intelligent super-being.

To help deliver Westpac's brand promise of 'help' in their customer experience, we partnered with them and IBM Watson to create Red.

The Project

A collaborative multi-disciplinary series of sprints to research, ideate, design and test an artifically intelligent being to assist customers with online banking.

The Outcome

Westpac unleashed Red for the benefit of millions of online banking customers, confident in the virtual agent's ability to navigate any kind of question in a helpful manner.

Workshops unpacking helpful

We created a series of creative workshops for Westpac to collectively unpack the visual and tonal cues that would be most likely to invoke feelings of being helped, when customers encountered our virtual agent's personality in the digital world.

Design for empathy
and resilience

A virtual agent exists perpetually in a two-way relationship, between itself and any one of millions of customers, each controlling a part of a written conversation. In both name and identity, it was important to find the sweet spot between humanoid and machine; sensitive on one hand, efficient and unflappable on the other.

Conditioning a non-human

To fortify our virtual agent for its role conversing with millions of customers, we called on multiple sources of insight, including years of observing interactions with real humans, collected from the Westpac branch network's frontline staff. 

Would its appearance invoke teases or taunts? Should it have a mouth that moved or no mouth at all? We created multiple iterations for customer testing panels and evolved both name and identity before landing on and launching Westpac's newest employee: Virtual Agent Red.