7 December 2020

Have you ever thought of meeting a humanoid robot while going to your bank? This one will even greet you, answer any questions you might have and help you carry out some transactions. No, you are in a fictional movie but in one of Absa Bank (Mauritius) Limited’s branches!

Abby, the very first humanoid robot of the bank is now operating in its branches as a digital personal assistant. The launch of the digital kiosk took place this Monday 7 December 2020 in the flagship branch of Absa located at Sir William Newton Street in Port-Louis. Abby was introduced during the rebranding ceremony last February and this extraordinary employee marks a first for the local banking sector. Absa Mauritius also unveiled another revolutionary digital solution in Mauritius – the WhatsApp Banking, an extension of Abby.

Who is Abby?

Abby is a personal humanoid robot which has been developed by the digital transformation team of Absa Mauritius. It is proudly dressed in the vibrant colours of Absa and equipped with a touchscreen controller. Fitted with artificial intelligence, Abby is the new member of the customer service department which will serve as a perfect digital personal banker by responding to client’s need in seconds. For the time being, the robot will be available in the branch located at Sir William Newton Street in Port Louis, while, for now, the other branches will have only the digital kiosk.

How will Abby assist customers?

If customers want to be helped by Abby, they will have to register directly to the humanoid robotic kiosk. Once they are registered, the robot will make use of its integrated facial and voice recognition system to identity clients. They will then have access to a wide range of services namely opening of an account or carrying out "self-service" transactions; such as transferring funds or paying bills with a secure PIN code. The robot is also able to direct any client to customer service representatives who can answer their queries.

Why did the bank launch Abby?

Abby has a shaping role in Absa Mauritius’ digital transformation journey. In line with this strategy, the bank aimed at reinventing the customer experience by changing some of its branches into a “phygital” (a blend of the physical and the digital) space. This massive shift is key for the banking institution considering the current innovations in the sector. “We are the first bank in Mauritius to use a robot powered by AI. Our digital kiosk is part of a very ambitious and promising transformation journey announced during our rebranding at the beginning of this year. The pandemic has catalysed digital transformation across the globe and technology is now an essential element in many companies’ operations. The financial industry is undergoing a radical change with AI and robotics. Absa Mauritius is proud to be a major contributor to the evolving banking sector in the country,” says Ravin Dajee, Managing Director of Absa Bank (Mauritius).

How does Abby fit into Absa teams?

Abby will work alongside our teams in the branches where it will be present. “Its job will be to handle mundane and basic tasks like facilitating transactions in a secure manner and avoiding long queues. However, we will never be able to operate without human contact and the relationship we have built with our clients over time. Abby will be able to free our customer service consultants for them to better focus on the real core banking which is building trust with our clients and advising them on their complex needs,” explains Sandeep Mohapatra, Head of Digital Transformation at Absa Mauritius.

"As an innovative bank, we not going to stop here. Our teams are working on digital solutions that will better serve our customers by means of AI, like our WhatsApp Banking, amongst others. This innovative feature allows our customers to securely manage their banking transactions through a WhatsApp conversation.  We are all attracted to new technologies and is now a fundamental part of our new business model," he adds.