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UBank’s new “digital human” to help with home loans, send gifs


digital home loan

Mia will be available to help with over 300 home loan queries from late February 2019.

UBank home loan customers will soon have access to the next iteration of the chatbot, with the digital bank announcing the launch of its "digital human" Mia. Developed in collaboration with a leading provider of AI-powered digital humans for customer service FaceMe, the new assistant will begin helping customers in late February 2019.

Mia is short for My Interactive Agent and has been designed to answer over 300 common home loan questions. Customers will be able to speak directly to Mia via desktop or mobile and ask her questions at any stage of their UBank home loan application, such as what the variable rate is or what an expense would be. UBank's existing home loans chatbot RoboChat, as well as its LiveChat support service, will still be available.

Director of marketing at FaceMe Jody Boshoff says the benefit of a digital human is for brands to create incredible customer experiences.

"We have an intelligent digital human platform that brings to life chat in the form of a digital human. What that does is it creates an incredible opportunity for brands to embody themselves as digital humans and create some really great customer experiences," she said.

"It's more than chat [...] It evolves chat."

Boshoff says that Mia was created to embody UBank's brand.

"Usually a brand wants us to create a very unique digital human for them, which is what we did for UBank. There's no person that exists that looks like Mia. She is the one sole creation that embodies UBank and she is being designed to talk like their brand and have a great attitude and personality like their brand. So it's a really exciting cutting-edge space."

Mia is described as having a "cheeky" personality but that also has in-depth product knowledge. She will be able to send gifs and animations in her chats and customers will be able to talk to her at any time.

According to UBank CEO Lee Hatton the aim of the bank's AI-enabled projects, of which Mia is the third, is to continue attracting customers while maintaining the same number of team members.

"We need to leverage key technologies like AI to tackle the typical questions customers ask, so we can free up our team to address the unique situations our customers need more support with, every day," Hatton said.

She also said that Mia offers a whole new way for customers to interact with their home loan application.

"What we love about this opportunity with FaceMe is the chance to innovate in the digital space, staying true to our roots, but finding a new way to connect more deeply with our customers. It also helps that the FaceMe team is an awesome group of Kiwis."

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