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Hang Seng Bank's virtual assistant Haro joins WhatsApp

Hang Seng Bank's virtual assistant Haro joins WhatsApp

Hang Seng Bank has introduced a new chat contact for WhatsApp users in Hong Kong, providing a direct connection to its retail virtual assistant Haro.

Customers can use the messaging platform to make contact with Haro and get the most up-to-date information on Hang Seng services, including the nearest branch and ATM locations, credit cards, mortgages, personal loans, insurance products and special offers.

Haro can also send regular foreign exchange or market outlook updates to customers via WhatsApp.

Developed in collaboration with IBM Services, 'Haro WhatsApp’ is able to process natural language and simulate human-like contextual conversations. It can communicate in Chinese and English, understand Cantonese as well as a mix of English and Chinese, which is a common conversation style of Hongkongers.

Margaret Kwan, executive director and head of retail banking and wealth management at Hang Seng, comments: “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 WhatsApp implementation is the latest in a series of digital banking initiatives recently introduced by the Hong Kong bank, including the development of e-ticketing services for bypassing the queue at branches and an estate-wide rollout of NNFC-enabled ATMs for withdrawing cash by mobile phone.

The bank is also piloting the use of videoconferencing platform Zoom to meet 'face-to-face' with customers who are not able or do not wish to venture out during the Coronavirus lockdown.

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