Monday, 15 May 2017 09:35

RoboChat from UBank – want a home loan?

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UBank, a digital only bank, has introduced RoboChat, Australia’s first virtual assistant to help potential home buyers and refinancers complete their online home loan applications.

UBank  operates under the National Australia Bank licence. RoboChat will be available 24/7 on the home loan section of the bank's website and will guide customers through the application form.

By providing real-time input on questions like “What term do you offer on home loans?” and “Do you offer redraws and how do they work?” RoboChat aims to help reduce the time needed for customers to complete the form by offering on-the-spot help.

Lee Hatton, chief executive of UBank, said “Our goal is to deliver simpler, better, smarter banking to our customers and RoboChat will help deliver on this by streamlining the application form. If you’ve gathered all your paperwork, the form can be completed in as little time as it takes you to have your breakfast. And, securing one of the most competitive rates in the market could help a customer save thousands of dollars in interest over the life of a loan.”

Built with IBM Watson, RoboChat is still in training and will continue to learn as more customers engage with it, becoming smarter and more user-friendly over time. It uses IBM Watson Conversation API and will use natural language to respond to customers on 40 core home loan topics along with hundreds of associated questions. RoboChat will supplement the current live chat functionality already offered on the site.

RoboChat has been trained on data collected from customer questions submitted via UBank’s LiveChat experience, and has been tested by dozens of users and iteratively trained. Thousands of questions and responses have now been plugged into RoboChat and analysed with IBM Watson, ensuring customer’s queries are responded to in an efficient manner.

Ensuring the home loan process is as enjoyable as possible, RoboChat has even been built with a sense of humour, offering several tongue-in-cheek responses, such as Q: How much does a hipster weigh? A: An Instagram.

“RoboChat will be a very welcome addition to our team of customer service experts. UBank will still have experienced staff on hand to chat on the phone, via email and our live online chat offering, RoboChat will provide an added option for those needing quick online responses or those that are close to finalising the form,” said Hatton. 

Brock Douglas, vice-president Watson, IBM Asia Pacific, said, “From deepening the customer experience, to increased productivity for employees, virtual assistants are being adopted across industries and becoming more advanced in natural conversation and emotional intelligence, with the help of cognitive technology. This year IBM Watson will engage with more than a billion people, across 20 industries.

"UBank’s work with IBM Watson is a powerful example of how organisations are leveraging cognitive virtual assistants that have the ability to engage in a conversation, ask questions, learn and respond in context – as opposed to providing stock responses.”


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Ray Shaw

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Ray Shaw ray@im.com.au  has a passion for IT ever since building his first computer in 1980. He is a qualified journalist, hosted a consumer IT based radio program on ABC radio for 10 years, has developed world leading software for the events industry and is smart enough to no longer own a retail computer store!

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