UBank’s AI vision expands with rollout of RoboBrain

Customised AI solution relies on IBM Watson capabilities to create a one-stop, one-screen solution for searching information at UBank

UBank’s CMO says the launch of RoboBrain, a hyper-personalised cognitive assistant, is dramatically improving customer response times and a massive leap forward in the bank’s AI journey.

The digital-only banking group took its first steps into AI last year with the launch of RoboChat, a chatbot designed to help customers through the home loan application process. In less than 12 months, RoboChat has been asked more than 22,000 questions, with over 80 per cent answered correctly on the first attempt.

“After the success of RoboChat, we wanted to find a solution that our people could use and benefit from directly,” UBank CMO, Jo Kelly, told CMO.

This led to RoboBrain, designed and developed by UBank’s North Sydney-based team in collaboration with IBM. The customised AI solution relies on IBM Watson capabilities to create a one-stop, one-screen solution for searching information at UBank.

Jo Kelly
Jo Kelly

In the past, the UBank team had to move between a handful of different platforms in order to find the answer to customer questions, Kelly explained. Consolidating a number of the bank’s knowledge bases, RoboBrain provides immediate information for employees in one spot.

“Now, thanks to RoboBrain, we’ve got a one-stop portal of information where we can search information and find the answer almost instantly,” she said.  

By typing in a question in natural language, the UBank team on the phone or on LiveChat can find answers in approximately two seconds to thousands of questions asked by customers, such as “what was the interest rate in June 2011?” or “how do I set up a regular transfer?”. 

Kelly said RoboBrain improves on the overall customer experience by making interactions as convenient as possible. 

“Customers don’t want to spend their time talking to their bank, so when they get in touch with us over LiveChat, Secure Mail, Facebook or on the phone, we need to meet their expectations and help them as quickly as we can,” she said.

Since going live, RoboBrain has sped up processes for more than 40 per cent of UBank’s 200 employees, and improved response time for more than 400,000 Australian customers, cutting down search time by 33 per cent.

For Kelly, AI is a major focus area - and a key to marketing success - at the digital bank.

“We see AI as a key enabler in disrupting the home loan market and changing the end to end process of buying a home from applying to approval and then settlement. We believe it’s important to embrace technologies to adapt to the ever-increasing expectations of our customers and create a more personalised experience,” she said.

Asked what’s next in terms of AI, Kelly said UBank flagged more innovation around customer service. RoboBrain has been trained to display and share complex information in real-time, and like any AI-based solution, the more it’s used, the smarter it gets, she noted.

RoboBrain will learn and improve by adapting to the search terms used, based on the rating applied, and through ongoing training by UBank experts.

Follow CMO on Twitter: @CMOAustralia, take part in the CMO conversation on LinkedIn: CMO ANZ, join us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CMOAustralia, or check us out on Google+:google.com/+CmoAu      

 

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