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Councils: 5 reasons why an AI Chatbot should be part of your Digital Roadmap

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For local councils, the pandemic and rising costs of living have sparked an enormous influx of questions into the call centre. Citizens have been relying on their local councils more than ever to provide information about benefits and support packages, council tax rebates, covid updates, and much more. 

As councils face continued pressure as a result of the pandemic, many councils are turning to AI chatbots to alleviate pressure within the call centre. This shift towards digital and self-service is a long-awaited move, received particularly well by today’s Millennials and Gen Z.

With millennials and Gen Z now making up approximately 45% of the population, we are seeing a trend in which these cohorts increasingly prefer to skip the call queue. Research has shown that Millennials and Gen Z find phone calls “too time-consuming’’, with 75% of the current generation listing this as the top reason they avoid calls. 

In order to reap efficiencies within the contact centre and keep Millennials and Gen Z happy, councils must unleash the power of AI Chatbot technology to ensure round the clock customer service via whichever channels their audience prefer.  Those channels may be WhatsApp, web, or even a home smart speaker.

Here are five reasons why an AI Chatbot should be a crucial item on your digital roadmap for 2022/2023. 

Automate routine questions

Instead of trawling through pages of information or calling up the contact centre to obtain an answer to a simple question, users can receive an answer instantaneously via a chatbot. Research suggests that a chatbot has the capability to answer more than 80% of all routine, simple questions that are received. The move to chatbot technology reduces call volumes and takes the strain off customer service employees, enabling your staff to focus on the more complex or emotive enquiries that a user may have. 

Intelligent automation

While a simple FAQ bot can certainly alleviate a large volume of waste calls, chatbots need to be made ‘’intelligent’’ if organisations really want to reap the benefits and stay ahead of the curve. In practice, this means integrating the bot with your other existing digital platforms to enable the bot to pull and push data via APIs. Once integrated with your core platforms, your users can complete their journey end-to-end via the bot without the need for human intervention. This may include:

  • Checking a payment status
  • Applying for benefits
  • Reporting an address change
  • Rescheduling a bin collection
  • Processing a document or ID  

Conversation routing 

Of course, not all users prefer to speak with a robot, and equally not all questions should be served by a robot. That’s why it’s crucial to have a chatbot compliment your existing customer contact solutions such as live chat. 

Should a question steer in the wrong direction, or if a user has specified a highly complex or emotive enquiry that is better dealt with by a human, then you can seamlessly hand over the conversation to a human, all within the same interface and without losing the previous conversation history. The agent can then pick up from where the chatbot left and the user does not have to repeat his/her question, resulting in a reduction in your AHT and a satisfied citizen.  

Obtain granular data and insights

At the core of any chatbot platform is the data and analytics on its interactions. Common metrics include the % of questions answered, types of questions being asked, conversation dropout rates, % of positive feedback and much more. With this data at hand in real-time, councils no longer need to manually trawl through reports to identify trends and issues. Instead, insight can be obtained instantly within an aggregated dashboard, allowing them to take early intervention.

Prevent knowledge silos

Studies suggest that 54% of organizations report their customer experience operations are managed in silos. Knowledge silos within the customer experience division can lead to inconsistent messages being provided to users or lengthy handling times while customer service agents put their users on hold while trying to frantically find an answer. This can cost your organisation a small fortune, all the while damaging your reputation. 

With a low-code chatbot platform in hand, employees are equipped to input and share their knowledge within a centralised knowledge base, which can be regularly updated and distributed amongst all customer service agents, enabling them to quickly find the information they need.

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