Hong Kong-based Hang Seng Bank, a banking and financial services company, has launched a new chat contact for WhatsApp users based in the city, which is a special administrative region of the People’s Republic of China.
The new chat feature aims to provide a direct connection to the company’s retail virtual assistant, called Haro.
The chat contact can be used by Hang Seng’s clients to get the most up-to-date or latest information about the bank’s services. Haro can answer common questions like providing directions to Hang Seng’s nearest branch and ATM locations.
Haro can also offer assistance with credit cards, mortgages, personal loans, insurance products and various special offers.
Additionally, customers can ask Haro to provide regular foreign exchange or market outlook updates and reports through WhatsApp.
Haro has been developed with the help of New York-based tech giant IBM.
“Haro WhatsApp” can understand natural languages (spoken by humans) and it can simulate human-like contextual conversations. Haro can speak and understand English, Chinese, and Cantonese.
It can also understand a mix of English and Chinese, which is a common way of communicating in Hong Kong.
Margaret Kwan, executive director and head of retail banking and wealth management at Hang Seng, stated:
“Haro is unique because our customers and the public can communicate with it as if they were having a conversation with another person. It is intuitive and informal, making it well-suited to the WhatsApp instant messaging environment.”
The Haro chatbot feature is a key part of Hang Seng’s digital banking strategy and initiatives.
The bank has also developed various electronic ticketing services, which help customers bypass long lines at branches.
Additionally, Hang Seng has introduced NFC-enabled ATMs for making quick cash withdrawals with the help of mobile devices.
The bank is currently testing the use of Zoom, a leading video conferencing platform, to conduct “face-to-face” meetings with clients who can’t or prefer not to leave their homes due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.