Lee Hatton’s team at UBank has worked with IBM over the past two years to create innovative, automated customer service products. It started with RoboChat, to help customers with their home loan applications, and then RoboBrain, to centralize resources for UBank’s own customer service advisors. The latest innovation is Mia, a virtual agent that can answer hundreds of different questions in real time, transforming the online experience and creating a one-to-one personal connection with each customer.

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How are you using Watson in your business?
We first started in the AI space in 2017, working with the IBM Watson team. This was to solve a customer problem: the application form was sometimes overwhelming to people. So, we set out to build RoboChat, a text-based chatbot, in about eight weeks. This now gives customers support at any time with the home loan app, and it also frees up our advisors to help customers with more complex questions during business hours. Now we’ve developed Mia, built in partnership with IBM and FaceMe, which can answer more than 300 different spoken questions.

Once we had really aced something for our customers, we wanted to use AI to do something for our team members. They used to have to search multiple sources for something as simple as our current interest rate. So, we ingested 950 documents across four sources to create RoboBrain. Now, our advisors can type in a question on the dedicated RoboBrain web page and the answer is shared with them in real time. It’s a one-stop portal of valuable information to help us deliver a faster customer and employee experience.

What have you learned that you wish you had known when you first started working with AI?
You're never going to get to a perfect moment with AI—by its very nature, it will always continue to learn the more it interacts with customers. Don't be afraid of that journey. Embrace it and take your customers along with you. Also, it’s critically important to not lose sight of the problem you’re solving.  It’s easy to get wrapped up in the technology and the excitement of doing something new, which is great, but you need to think about why you’re doing it and never stray from that focus. 

What advice would you give to the next generation of women as they enter the workforce?
You're going to get some less-than-stellar advice.

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