A Scotland-based bank ranked amongst the worst in Britain for customer satisfaction may have found a saviour - a robot named Luvo. 

The Royal Bank of Scotland has turned to the world of 'human artificial intelligence' to tackle the backlog of calls which can leave customers frustrated.

The AI system - which has a human-like personality - will help staff answer customer questions more quickly by supplying "huge amounts of information" in seconds, the lender said.

The Herald:

Luvo answers RBS employee questions through webchat.

It will then talk through the answer with the member of staff on a web chat system, or pass the question on to someone else in the team who can solve more difficult problems.

Last month the Royal Bank of Scotland was ranked equal bottom in a Which? survey of consumer happiness with Clydesdale Bank and Copenhagen-based Danske Bank.  It is believed RBS's rating was affected by IT issues it has had in the past year.

In July, RBS blamed a cyberattack for an IT failure which left hundreds of customers unable to access online banking on pay day.

The previous month a glitch which affected all four of its banking brands - NatWest, RBS, Ulster Bank and private bank Coutts delayed around 600,000 payments for customers.

The taxpayer-supported bank faced a barrage of customer complaints after it admitted that delayed banking payments may not show up in accounts until the weekend. The issue also affected some Bacs payments, such as tax credits and disability living allowances.

NatWest and RBS had already been hit by a number of embarrassing IT glitches in recent years.

RBS is now  also investigating whether to cut out the middle man and let Luvo interact directly with customers, if a small number of trials prove successful.

RBS - which is 73% owned by the taxpayer - said the AI has a "unique psychological profile" and a "warmth" to its personality, which is approachable, creative and uses intuition and reasoning when answering questions.

But it said the move was not a step towards cutting jobs, but was being rolled out to help staff improve customer service.

Simon McNamara, RBS chief administrative officer, said: "Luvo is a really exciting new technology that brings artificial intelligence to life and will help our staff serve customers better by resolving their questions and problems much more quickly.

"Its potential is huge and we'll be exploring if Luvo could talk to customers directly to answer straightforward questions, freeing up time for our staff to answer complex issues."

The decision to introduce AI comes after RBS piloted Luvo with 1,200 staff who manage relationships with small businesses.

The questions Luvo can answer with staff include: my customer has lost their card - what steps do they need to take now? My customer has locked their PIN - how do they unlock it? And how do I order a card-reader for my customer?

RBS announced its eighth year of annual losses last month when it posted a deficit of £2 billion, although this is down on the £3.5 billion reported a year earlier.