27 September 2018
Councils Save Resources, Optimise a Chatbot
Click4Assistance has been providing live chat for over 10 years and works closely with numerous councils and local authority outsourcing companies across the UK. This includes Sunderland, Somerset and Salford City Councils, Civica and Capita. Our aim is to help improve their online communication with their residents whilst situating to budget restraints and saving resources.
Councils add live chat to website to provide general advice, aid with completion of online services and form part of disaster recovery strategies. Representatives are able to handle multiple enquiries simultaneously, allowing fewer staff to manage the workload more efficiently. On average, operators are able to handle 3 chats comfortably at the same time once fully trained.
This does all depend on the nature of the enquiry and the speed of the typist, as more complex questions and/or a resident with rapid fingers will demand more attention. However it is known within Click4Assistance that a contact centre’s agents regularly manage 8-9 chats simultaneously with no impact on their customer service.
In order to assist representatives to improve their response rate which allows them to handle more enquiries at the same time, Agent Assist was developed as a foundation for artificial intelligence.
The solution holds a library of pre-agreed response to frequently asked questions. An operator has access to these during a chat where they can select the most appropriate answer to the visitor’s enquiry and edit it before sending if necessary. Agent Assist automates this process by running an algorithm, whilst the visitor is typing in real time, matching what is being said with the library of replies. The functionality will automatically suggest the relevant responses to the agent to select from.
Building on this idea, Click4Assistance developers wanted to mitigate the need of a human operator handling the chats in the first instance. To achieve this we have teamed up with IBM who has 20 years expertise in artificial intelligence to build a chatbot based on Watson the brain/system IBM provides.
What is the Role of a Chatbot in Councils?
It is known that councils have to come up with innovative solutions to continually provide an efficient service whilst complying with budget restraints. A chatbot can streamline live chat communications further from the already resource saving channel its proven to be for local authorities.
When a chat is first initiated the bot can greet the resident. It will be able to ask them prequalifying questions that the councils require to identify them. This can include full name, address/postcode and any council reference number they have, for example council tax.
Depending on the level of service the bot is to provide, it can transfer the chat over to a human operator. Alternatively, the chatbot can be taught to answer frequently asked questions, providing residents with faster responses and improve first contact resolution rates. It could also be used to signpost them to relevant areas on the website, supplying a link if the webpage is regularly asked for.
This reduces the involvement of the operator and allows enquiries to be transferred to them once it is absolutely necessary for them to step in.
The chatbot doesn’t have working hours, meaning it can run 24/7 unlike it’s human colleagues. Therefore, residents can gain answers at peak times when council representatives are unavailable (evenings and weekends), making the service more convenient and accessible. Should the bot not be able to answer their questions during this time, it can offer alternative contact such as a call back or for the resident to try again later.
It is easy for your council to get started with your very own chatbot, our team will have a consultation with you to find out the level of service you expect from the bot and the questions/ answers it will need to know. The Artificial Intelligence (AI) development team will teach the bot the questions/answers and thoroughly test its responses ensuring they are accurate to the data supplied by your organisation.
Once the chatbot has been enabled to your account (at a click of a button) you will then be able to amend its name if necessary, from its default identity of Mx Chat Bot and select its personality – friendly, professional, formal, informal etc. You can then select the chat experience that the bot will respond to and what group of representative will provide backup.
Click4Assistance ensures that any new functionality has been fully tested and is reliable for your organisation to use. It is vital for your customer service to remain efficient, therefore it is important to review the chatbot’s performance regularly and at any point it can be retaught should the responses need to change.
For more information on the Click4Assistance solution and chatbot, call our team on 01268 524628 or email email@example.com.