Robots greet customers in bank branches

The digitisation of banks enters a new phase as a Japanese bank deploys robots to greet customers and answer questions

The digitisation of banks is entering a new phase as a Japanese bank uses robots to greet customers in branches and answer questions.

Banks are using modern technologies such as software robots to automate back-office processes, but an initiative at the Bank of Tokyo Mitsubishi UFJ uses 58cm tall robots in the front office to help customers, according to The Wall Street Journal.

A bank spokesman said the idea is to improve customer communication. “We can ramp up communication with our customers by adding a tool like this,” he said.

The robot, known as NAO, can read people’s facial expressions.

Technology is breathing new life into bank branches, which were once seen as losing importance.

In the UK, banks are trying out new technology in the branches to improve customer experiences and make them more efficient.

Barclays retrains staff

In 2012 Barclays gave 8,500 Apple iPads to staff in branches to improve interaction with customers.

The devices assist branch staff when interacting with customers to improve the customer experience.

Barclays retrained 6,500 traditional branch staff so they can offer financial management to customers as IT increasingly takes care of day-to-day transactional services.

Banks are eager to demonstrate digital credentials to tech-savvy customers. IT investments are made to do this rather than to get a guaranteed return on investment.

Nationwide Building Society has completed the roll-out of video mortgage consultation equipment at more than 60 branches. Mortgage consultants meet customers via high-definition video links using Cisco technology. 

Plummeting connectivity prices have made video a genuine business tool.

Read more on IT for financial services

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