For many years, banks have utilized technology for back-office activities such as regulatory compliance, record-keeping, and check-clearing. Nonetheless, as technology advances, consumers can anticipate more direct communication with virtual assistants and artificial intelligence (AI)-based robots, which is expected to help save banking institutions money while boosting efficiency.
Pepper is the latest technology to join the banking industry. It is a customer-assistance robot that was developed by Softbank Robotics America, which HSBC plans to launch this week in New York during its flagship Fifth Avenue branch. Since over 18million individuals walk by that location each year, HSBC is counting on Pepper to draw more of them inside the bank.
According to Pablo Sanchez, HSBC’s head of wealth management and retail banking, by creating the customer assistance, the bank wanted to introduce some fun into the banking space. The object of this move is attracting new clients into the New York branch through something that is both exciting and fun.
Sanchez also emphasized that Pepper simply a gimmick by saying that it may add job opportunities to the bank ’s branch with increasing customer numbers. According to SoftBank, the technology is backed by a $25,000 three-year lease contract, including equipment replacement and maintenance. He also asserted that Pepper would also assist in directing clients to the right human personnel for a task as well as carry out some customer education. Additionally, the interactions with Pepper will not only boost customer wait experience but also minimize wait times.
Sanchez revealed that HSBC has found out that the wait experience is usually more vital than the wait time. With Pepper, the idea is to offer additional options to allow people to pick between Pepper, working with a human or traditional automation such as ATMs.
Christian Engel, SAS’s business analytics adviser, said in an article published by the BAI, that more banking clients need more personalized services and they embrace new technologies. He stressed his statement by saying that in this age of Amazon, Facebook, Apple, and Google, customers have become increasingly accustomed to individualized provisions that are created using the data that customers offer voluntarily.
Aside from HSBC, other banking institutions have also turned to artificial intelligence (AI)-based technology to help them interact with their customers. Bank of America, for instance, introduced Erica back in 2016. The voice-based assistant can search for previous transactions, schedule bills to be paid or even make money transfers. Additionally, Wells Fargo launched a virtual assistant last year that customers can utilize through Facebook Messenger.
Last week, JPMorgan Chase launched a virtual assistant meant for its treasury services enterprise that cannot only respond to queries but also provide suggestions. Aside from that, banking institutions are seeking to utilize more familiar virtual assistants like Amazon’s Alexa, Apple’s Siri and Google Assistant in providing banking services.
US Bank is on all the three platforms, which currently allow its customers to check balances, transfer money and pay their bills. Furthermore, American Express and Capital One customers can also now take advantage of Alexa in paying their bills and checking balances.