UBank debuts Watson-based ‘RoboBrain’ for customer service staff

Virtual assistant allows staff to respond to customer enquires quicker

NAB subsidiary UBank has released details of ‘RoboBrain’, a new cognitive assistant based on IBM’s Watson platform.

The online-only bank said that RoboBrain was being used by its customer service team to rapidly respond to customer enquiries.

UBank said the virtual assistant provides “one stop, one screen” access to data spread across a number of knowledge bases.

The bank’s phone and LiveChat staff can use natural language queries to find answers to thousands of questions. Example queries that can be answered by RoboBrain include “What was the interest rate in June 2011?” and “How do I set up a regular transfer?”

The new service came online earlier this month, UBank said. The bank said that already it had been used to speed up processes by more than 40 per cent of its employees, cutting average search time by a third. 

“We’ve already seen some great results from RoboBrain, through faster response times and more efficient information searches, allowing us to help more customers every day,” the bank’s CEO, Lee Hatton, said in a statement.

Last year UBank launched what it claimed was an Australian first: A customer-facing AI chatbot for home loans.

RoboChat is also based on IBM’s Watson cognitive computing platform. The bot was trained using data derived from customer questions submitted via UBank’s LiveChat service.

The system uses Watson’s Conversation API and at launch could respond to hundreds of questions on 40 core topics, answering queries such as “What term do you offer on home loans?” and “Do you offer redraws and how do they work?”

UBank has experimented with a range of potential interfaces for RoboChat.

NAB was one of the first Australian companies to launch a ‘skill’ for Amazon’s Alexa voice-based virtual assistant.

The bank earlier this month launched ‘Talk to MLC’ for Google Home, which it said is Australia’s first superannuation virtual assistant.

NAB has also launched a “digital virtual banker”  and Talk to NAB for Google Assistant.

Read more: MLC rolls out virtual assistant

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