London, 28th March 2006:– Online customer service specialist, Synthetix, has successfully launched a new and exciting application for Yorkshire Building Society (YBS). With online mortgage sales rising rapidly, Yorkshire Building Society asked Synthetix to create an ‘online employee’ to be available 24/7 to deal with customer enquiries. The result was Helen, a Virtual Advisor based on Synthetix’s unique SmartAgent self-service technology.

The Society's customers can now engage in a dialogue with Helen, who can assist on a range of mortgage-related issues. The natural language interface allows the user to have a conversation by typing in questions and receiving replies in plain English. Throughout the dialogue Helen directs the user to relevant sections within the website; she also offers suggestions on matching specific mortgage products to individual needs. Typically Helen is asked “What is your best rate?” or “What types of mortgage do you offer?”

“Helen creates an engaging and entertaining experience, increasing customer loyalty and website “stickiness”, and initial results show that a significant number of people enjoy having a chat with her!" added Yorkshire Building Society E-Commerce Manager, Nigel York, “In just 3 months she has had over 3000 conversations, answered over 7000 questions at an average of 4 minutes per conversation and received very positive client feedback – some even believe she is alive!”

By using the analytics system linked to Synthetix’s SmartAgent technology, YBS has been able to see the immediate impact and benefits of the application on the website. Not only has it shown the volume of activity but, more importantly, has identified which questions are key to consumers when making decisions about mortgage products.

Peter McKean, Managing Director of Synthetix said: "Yorkshire Building Society is a highly significant new client for Synthetix and our first public facing website application of SmartAgent in the finance sector. We are looking forward to using SmartAgent for other sections of YBS’s site and working with other financial institutions in the future.

The application has been warmly received by YBS and they are already seeing a significant return on investment even though it has only been live for a few months.”

You can meet Helen at


Note To Editors

• Synthetix Ltd is a developer of cutting-edge, intelligent software technologies for on-line marketing, customer self-service and usability. Founded in 2001, Synthetix has unparalleled expertise in the field of 'Virtual Assistant' design and deployment.

• The company has become the marketing, customer service and web usability technology choice for blue-chip brands including the BBC, Vauxhall Motors, Berkeley Homes, Egg, Hitachi Europe, the Department for Education and Skills, Currys, CITB, AEG, Ford, BT, Masterfoods, Yorkshire Building Society, SkillsActive and even the legendary Harlem Globetrotters.

• Yorkshire Building Society is one of the largest building societies with 131 branches and 75 agencies across the UK. It is committed to mutuality and is determined to return real financial benefits to its members. Its purpose is to maximise long term benefits for a growing membership.
For more information on Yorkshire Building Society, visit its website -

For further information, please contact: Amanda Politzer, Telephone: 01763 209 388, Mobile: 07786 271 789, E-mail:, Website:

Published on: 12:00AM on 28th March 2006