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Once we had built the natural language processing system – the ‘brains’ of our new chatbot – we saw an opportunity to bring this new technology to life by creating a character we could use to tell our story to intermediaries about data-driven lending and our journey towards the new world of Vida’s innovation hub, V-Lab, and beyond.
Ultimately, the goal of a chatbot is to automate conversations at scale – that’s the technology’s bread and butter – but users should still feel like they are having a one-to-one conversation, and well-executed chatbots should create a user experience that connects with the intended audience in a relatable and useful way.
So, meet MILO. The mortgage industry’s answer to Cortana or Siri – the little robot assistant who is ‘always on’ and always present; a digital concierge who is ready to help at any stage of the mortgage journey.
MILO is acronymic for ‘My Intelligent Lending Operative’. We have chosen his name carefully, with ‘My’ used to give intermediaries a sense of ownership; we want our business partners to feel like MILO belongs to them. Similarly, ‘Intelligent Lending’ describes how we aspire to approach every case intelligently, no matter the complexity. Finally, the ‘O’ for Operative was chosen specifically to differentiate MILO from less sophisticated chatbots, often given cutesy or subordinate titles of ‘helper’ or ‘butler’. We believe MILO can stand up on his own and be an integral part of the Vida brand.
Setting MILO apart will be how we use the data being captured by his usage. When intermediaries interact with MILO, we’ll be collecting information on what they are asking and where in the mortgage journey the questions are being asked. In turn, this information will be aggregated, packaged up, and played back to our intermediaries, in the form of market trends and insight, for example: The Top 10 ‘most searched’ criteria items this month.
To this end, MILO has the potential to become a key source of data and insight for all our intermediaries as his artificial intelligence develops.