Cathay launches conversational AI for customers

Cathay, in partnership with Fano Labs, has launched an advanced conversational artificial intelligence (AI) to enhance its customers’ digital experience.

The new conversational AI will improve the efficiency and productivity of the airline’s AI chatbots, enabling them to provide more accurate responses to customers’ queries – all in anticipation of the increase in the volume of call and chat traffic.

From left: Cathay’s Lawrence Fong and Fano Labs’ Miles Wen

The airline has seen a shift in customer behaviours, turning from traditional hotlines to digital channels such as WhatsApp and WeChat for more instant responses. Digital channel usage has experienced monthly growth of 10 to 20 per cent over recent months, as Cathay continues to add back more flight capacity.

Building an AI chatbot typically requires human AI trainers to look at historical data to see how customers interacted with the chatbot. However, the partnership is one of the first in the market to have successfully developed and launched the Conversational AI Training Excellence platform that uses AI technologies to train AI chatbots.

The trainer AI leverages Fano Labs’ Callinter product to analyse interactions with customers, including voice calls, live chats, messaging systems, and automatically group these data into different categories for further processing, before presenting the results to a human supervisor for review and approval. The AI chatbot then learns from the data extracted by the trainer AI, reducing the training time by half, enabling Cathay to take on a significantly greater volume of training data and ramp up its ability to discover new topics and improve the accuracy of chatbot responses.

Lawrence Fong, director digital and IT, Cathay, said: “This collaborative effort in Conversational AI technology is the latest example of how we can work together with start-ups to develop mutually beneficial partnerships and ultimately bring benefits and enhanced service to our customers.”

Miles Wen, co-founder and CEO, Fano Labs, said: “Our partnership with Cathay started in 2019 under the introduction of Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation. This successful collaboration is a strong showcase of Hong Kong’s thriving innovation and technology ecosystem.”

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