Budgeting Business

Meet Maxi: A Seamless Conversation Between Ann Arbor-based Clinc and Turkish Bank IsBank

İş Bankası oluşturmak ve dağıtmak için Clinc’in AI Platformunu kullandı

Mobil bankacılık sanal asistanı Maxi, Türkçe

8.2 milyon müşteriye.

Can you translate the above statement into English? Most likely, like me, you are not one of the 116,515 (give or take) American citizens who speak or read Turkish. But have no fear – IsBank banking’s multi-lingual and highly conversational virtual assistant, Maxi, is here.

Maxi is the American-born blanket-like blue-ish creature that resembles a character out of the beloved children’s film The Brave Little Toaster. That little, smiling blue bean bag you see pictured below will be more than happy to tell you what the above Turkish statement says.

Go on, Maxi. What does it say?


 İşbank used Clinc’s AI Platform to build and deploy

their mobile banking virtual assistant, Maxi, in Turkish,

to 8.2 million customers.

 What is Clinc?

Clinc AI, the Ann Arbor, MI-based conversational Artificial Intelligence research start-up, consists of a team of scientific and creative minds who developed and gave voice to our Turkish-speaking blue virtual assistant friend, Maxi. Since its inception in a University of Michigan computer science classroom in 2015, Clinc has been a leader and pioneer in the research of conversational AI.  Clinc’s research is designed to create ‘human-in-the-room’ virtual assistant technology like Maxi. Clinc deploys these AI virtual assistants into banking and financial services companies, providing businesses worldwide with the tools needed to automate their self-service customer support systems.

Industry awards and trusted publications like Forbes Magazine acknowledge Clinc as one of the world’s leading AI businesses. Its newly-developed AI capabilities  focus on the processing of natural language so that it can understand anything a human might say, recall the information, and quickly offer a candid and human-like response. Further, Clinc’s advanced conversational AI technology can comprehend and accurately reply to almost every unstructured, everyday human speech pattern.

A History of Turkey’s IsBank

Following the culmination of World War I in 1918 and the subsequent dissolution of the Ottoman Empire in 1922, Turkey was declared a republic and Mustafa Kemal Atatürk was elected by parliament as the first president of Turkey. Atatürk was quick to realize that the government needed a national bank to rebuild Turkey’s economy following the debacle of the war. Türkiye İş Bankası, the first truly national bank in the Turkish Republic was founded on 26 August 1924 at the First Economy Congress in İzmir.

Atatürk appointed Celâl Bayar, his close aide and then the Minister of Exchange Construction and Settlement as the president of the newly formed bank. İşbank began operations with two branches and 37 staff under the leadership of Celâl Bayar, its first general manager.  Afterwards, financial services took off at an incredible pace. That led to significant technological advances that proceeded to unthought-of new ways of governing business in Turkey altogether. IsBank, from then until today, has been a pioneer in the industry. Examples of IsBank’s leading achievements include initiating electronic banking in Turkey, introducing Turkey to the ATM, and building overseas branches in Europe and Cyprus. Isbank introduces the Turkish people to instant banking, internet banking, and soon mobile banking, and most recently added Bioidentity capabilities to their ATM experience. It was no surprise to anyone that IsBank would be the first to incorporate conversational AI technology into their customer service system using Clinc’s virtual assistant, Maxi.

Today, Isbank is the largest private bank in the Republic of Turkey.  The bank operates 1,354 branches domestically, giving it one of the largest branch networks in Turkey. İşbank’s international network comprises 16 branches in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, two branches in each of Iraq, Kosovo and the United Kingdom,[10] and one branch each in Bahrain, Cairo and Shanghai. İşbank’s German banking subsidiary (İşbank GmbH) has 13 branches in Germany and one branch each in the Netherlands, France, Switzerland and Bulgaria. İşbank’s Russian banking subsidiary (JSC İşbank) has 11 branches in Russia. There is also a subsidiary in Georgia (JSC İşbank Georgia) with branches in Tbilisi and Batumi.

Building and Deploying Maxi

IsBank, thinking ahead, wanted to differentiate itself from the other financial service providers in Turkey once again. They hoped to build a truly unique customer experience that involved both digital and face-to-face channels. They looked to construct a virtual assistant, grounded in artificial intelligence, that could support multi-turn use cases from bill payment to money transfer in Turkish. At the onset, IsBank struggled to find a vendor that suited all of its needs. Then IsBank found Clinc.

IsBank quickly partnered with Clinc with a goal to deploy its advanced conversational AI technology. Together, Clinc and IsBank leveraged Clinc’s state-of-the-art AI to create Maxi. Powered by advanced natural language processing, machine learning, and deep neural networks, Maxi can comprehend and answer unstructured, everyday human speech. This process took Clinc and IsBank six months of build and two months of roll-out. Then, in November of 2018, IsBank successfully deployed Maxi to every one of Its 8.2 million mobile app users.

Clinc’s Technology and IsBank’s Maxi Yield Unprecedented Results

Leveraging Clinc’s natural language processing skills, and comprised of more than  10,000 Turkish words, Maxi can speak to customers as naturally as another human. Clinc’s virtual AI-anchored financial guru can support all basic financial transactions for Isbank customers, including bill pay and money transfers, to more detailed personal finance management questions, such as  complex spending advice, and so much more.

The results have been stunning.

IsBank’s clients provided essential feedback early in the bank’s moving to digital. Its customers quickly grew tired of the monotone chatbot that did not provide much warmth, was challenging to listen to and, ultimately, didn’t offer conclusive answers to fit their needs. In response, Clinc built the conversational AI technology that, supported by the communication and language research conducted back in Ann Arbor, Michigan, brought Maxi to life conveying a life-like personality through its incredible grasp of “messy” language. Clinc’s AI platform had, essentially, become a real human in the room, and the bank’s customer-base received every piece of the “digital assistant” puzzle that they were hoping for in Maxi.

The Media on Maxi

Maxi garnered quite the favorable and a rather endless list of publications looking to interview the young AI virtual assistant and get to know his creators, Ann Arbor-based Clinc AI, as well. Publications ranging from international fintech and the financially-focused to important, high-profile news, tech, and business outlets like Forbes Magazine came knocking down the door. Many media sources wanted to take multiple writing snapshots of the new leaders in conversational AI research, technology, and now with numerous successful international and multilingual deployments in the bag. Maxi had put Clinc in the global AI spotlight right where the conversational AI pioneers belonged. Yet, Maxi’s tale does not end there.

Clinc and Maxi Versus the Pandemic

Unfortunately, COVID-19 found Turkey, along with the rest of the world, and presented a unique challenge for Maxi and its creators at Clinc. As the Turkish people were directed to cut off social contact and remain under quarantine to stop the spread of the virus, the leaders of IsBank reacted quickly. Maxi immediately became an intricate part of the bank’s COVID-19 mission, providing customers with new services that allowed them to work within their new world of isolation.

Maxi’s use saw an instant increase as the Turkish people went into lockdown. Maxi answered one million queries in just one month, almost a 70% increase in usage from the month before COVID-19 hit. In only one week, Clinc’s tech team added four competencies (including coronavirus) to Maxi’s natural language skills. Though Maxi’s dialogues spiked from 1.8 million to 3 million in one month, his success rate remained the same. Clinc’s team worked quickly, and Maxi was able to field the new conversation that came from customers in real-time, continuing to take care of their financial needs throughout the pandemic.

Clinc provided IsBank with a seamless conversation from the beginning and continued to improve upon it in response to one of the most jarring moments in our world’s history. Maxi’s conversational intelligence grows daily. His ability to adapt and understand the messiest of human speech patterns shows us that Clinc leads the way in conversational AI and will continue to do so for some time to come.

Maxi wanted to say one last thing.

“Çılgın konuşma becerileriyle kendi olağanüstü yapay zeka sanal asistanınızı oluşturmaya hazır mısınız?  Sizinkini bugün Clinc ile oluşturmaya başlayın”

Thank you, Maxi. We appreciate the sentiment in your native tongue, but go on, what does it say… in English?

“Ready to build your own remarkable artificial intelligence virtual assistant with mad conversational skills?  Start building yours with Clinc today.”

Lindsay Shearer
Lindsay Shearer is a world renowned SEO Expert, & Lead Generation Specialist & Publication Editor. Her Specialty? Helping entrepreneurs start online businesses, write books, grow traffic & lead conversion, through SEO, Free & Paid Advertising. Check Out More: https://launchmasterymarketing.com
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  • Clinc technology is working or has worked with US Bank on some AI stuff as well. I remember that name from banking information I got recently. US Banks system is great now.