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Australian bank launches AI assistant ‘RoboChat’ to boost customer service

Posted: 24 May 2017 | By Darcie Thompson-Fields

UBank, one of Australia’s leading digital only banks, has unveiled RoboChat, the countries first virtual assistant to help potential home buyers and refinancers complete their online home loan applications.

RoboChat, which offers 24/7 support, will be available on the home loan section of UBank’s website and will be available to 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?”

It aims to help reduce the time needed for customers to complete the form by offering on-the-spot help. Built with IBM Watson, the firm says it still in training and will continue to learn as more customers engage with it, becoming smarter and more user-friendly over time.

The training comes from data collected from the of 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.

Robochat, which will be merged in to the current live chat functionality already offered on the site, even includes a sense of humour, offering a number of tongue-in-cheek responses, such as Q: How much does a hipster weigh? A: An Instagram.

“Our goal is to deliver simpler, better, smarter banking to our customers and RoboChat will help deliver on this by streamlining the application form,” said Lee Hatton, CEO of UBank. “If you’ve gathered all of 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. ”

No job losses

Whilst this new form of technology will provide a streamlined approach to the home loan application, it won’t affect the size of the local UBank Customer Service team or the great work they do.

“RoboChat will be a very welcome addition to our team of customer service experts,” continued Hatton. “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.”

Brock Douglas, Vice President Watson, IBM Asia Pacific added:“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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