The Pepper robot is going Hollywood – or at least close by, in Beverly Hills. The social, humanoid robot created by SoftBank Robotics Group is now greeting customers and answering questions at the HSBC Bank branch in Beverly Hills, Calif. The latest assignment for Pepper is part of a larger rollout of the Pepper robots, HSBC and SoftBank Robotics America said.
“Los Angeles has a thriving and rapidly growing tech sector,” said Palo Sanchez, regional head of retail banking and wealth management for HSBC in the U.S. and Canada. “We’re focused on developing the ‘branch of the future’ and our use of Pepper in our flagship branch in [New York City] has streamlined branch operations, delighted our customers and enabled our bank staff to have deeper, more high-value customer engagements.”
Answering questions, having fun
Pepper’s standard capabilities were customized to “overcome traditional perceptions of retail bank branches,” the companies said. HSBC said it will use Pepper in the branch to offer customers basic information and the availability of self-service banking options, as well as asking some initial questions to determine how the bank can best meet customers’ needs.
“While Los Angeles is the undisputed entertainment capital of the world, we feel it’s about time the banking customer experience be just as fun and engaging,” said Jeremy Balkin, head of innovation for HSBC. “Los Angele is becoming a tech innovation hub in its own right, and this is one of the reasons we feel it’s incredibly important to bring Pepper into our Beverly Hills branch and further transform the U.S. retail banking customer experience.”
In the Beverly Hills branch, Pepper will be able to:
- Notify a banker – the robot can communicate directly with bank staff based on customers’ answers to qualifying questions. HSBC said the goal is to reduce customer waiting time, and free up the valuable time of skilled bankers to deliver a more personalized service.
- Provide tutorials and instructions – As HSBC rolls out more “branches of the future,” customers can keep up to date on the latest technologies, products and services. Pepper provides information on ATMs, the HSBC Mobile Banking app, self-service options, customer support, and more. “By educating and encouraging the use of technical tools and platforms available to HSBC customers, bank staff will have deeper, more meaningful customer engagements,” the company said.
- Promote special services – Pepper will be used to drive attention to and awareness of HSBC products and services, including special promotions.
- Pose for selfies – through the #PoseWithPepper hashtag, Pepper will upload their photos to their favorite social media channels, including the #PepperatBH and #MeetPepper hashtags.
Pepper’s impact in NYC
HSBC said that since it first launched Pepper, the bank has seen ATM transaction volumes increase, a notable rise in new credit card applications, and record foot traffic at its flagship branch at 452 Fifth Ave., in Manhattan. Balkin said that most importantly, “the smiles on the faces of people and customers banking is priceless.”
HSBC said this deployment is part of a larger vision to transform its branch banking experience “by providing a host of consumer-facing upgrades that is taking the franchise in an exciting new direction. By creating a revolutionary new type of digitally enhanced retail banking experience that uses data intelligence and leading edge robotics, HSBC is transforming the everyday task of a branch visit into the extraordinary.”
“We’re excited to expand our partnership with HSBC to the West Coast, bringing Pepper to a new retail branch,” said Kass Dawson, global head of marketing communications for SoftBank Robotics America. “Humanoid robots helping people and working alongside human coworkers is an idea no longer relegated to just a possibility. HSBC is helping us prove that Pepper has very real benefits for their customers.”