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​UBank recruits IBM’s Watson for chatbot

​UBank recruits IBM’s Watson for chatbot

RoboChat to join live chat functionality already offered on the bank's website

UBank has used IBM’s Watson technology to build what it claims is Australia’s first virtual assistant to help potential home buyers and refinancers complete their online home loan applications.

The NAB-owned bank said on Monday that RoboChat will be available through its online home loan application to guide customers through the form.

The chatbot is still in training and will continue to learn as more customers engage with it, becoming smarter and more user-friendly over time, the bank said.

RoboChat will join the current live chat functionality already offered on the site and is the latest technological advancement in the bank’s cognitive banking offering.

The chatbot uses IBM Watson Conversion API and will use natural language to respond to customers on 40 core home loan topics along with hundreds of associated questions.

It has been trained on data collected from customer questions submitted via the bank’s LiveChat experience and has been tested by dozens of users and iteratively trained.

UBank said thousands of questions and responses have been plugged into the chatbot and analysed using IBM Watson.

The bank has also built the chatbot with a sense of humour meaning it can provide tongue-in-cheek responses to questions like: How much does a hipster weigh? Apparently the right answer is ‘an Instagram.’

UBank, CEO, Lee Hatton said if a customer can gathered all of their paperwork, the chatbot-driven form can be completed in as little time as it takes to have breakfast.

Hatton said while 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.

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

“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.”

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