Don’t be taken aback if you find a robot at your HDFC Bank branch greeting you soon, as the second largest private sector lender has decided to use humanoids for customer assistance.
The decision follows a similar model adopted last year by some Japanese banks – Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi, which launched a robot named ‘Nao’ last year, and Mizuho Bank’s ‘Pepper’. The HDFC Bank, however, is yet to finalise the name for its robot.
The robot, as per the plan, will assist customers with common tasks like withdrawing or transferring money or just finding the relevant departments to get their task done. The robot is reportedly a part of the bank’s “Project AI” (artificial intelligence) programme.
The robot will be initially deployed at one of the branches of the Bank in Mumbai, and depending on the experience, it may be used at other branches as well.
However, unlike the Softbank’s Pepper robot and ‘Nao’ robot of the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi, which are capable of reading human emotions, HDFC Bank‘s robot, however, will have limited capabilities and is expected act largely as a receptionist only, for now. The $8,000 Nao can speaks Japanese, English and Chinese and also helps customers who are seeking help with opening a bank account or filing a complaint after losing their card.
The humanoid will come equipped with a touchscreen display, which customers could use to input their query, sources said. It will greet a person entering the branch with options such as cash withdrawal or deposit, forex, fixed deposits and demat services displaying on the screen. Once the customer punches in the selection, a layout of the branch will appear on the screen with a “Take me there” option.
While the initial plan may look a little basic, the bank plans to expand the menu to include voice recognition and facial recognition technologies and link it to consumer behaviour pattern.