Stoke-on-Trent City - ‘BinBot’

Streamlining resident enquiries with voice automation

Stoke-on-Trent City Council engaged with EBM to help them to continue to provide a great service to their residents, but also reduce the number of calls and handling time required within their call centre team. Despite providing residents with an online form, Stoke-on-Trent City Council were still receiving a large volume of calls focussed around missed bin collection.

To help handle the majority of these enquiries, the council used EBM to create a digital assistant that residents can call and interact with over the phone. The automated digital assistant speaks with the user helping them to understand the reason why their bin collection may have been missed, raising a missed bin ticket in the council’s system or handing the user over to a human agent if necessary.

Key to the success of the digital assistant was enabling it to accurately extract the users correct address. We deployed a solution to match a user’s address to database of all known addresses names in Stoke-on-Trent. Based on a confidence score the bot will return an exact match or the top five matches for their road name for the user to select the right name using their keypad.

Once we have a valid address, the system looks up that address in the council’s internal systems and returns relevant bins for that address. Once a user selects the missed bin, the digital assistant looks up if there was a reason logged in their system for the missed bin, if there is a reason, the assistant shares this information with the user.

If there is not a reason, the assistant lets the user log a missed bin ticket in the councils system. It asks them a few personal details, then raises a ticket and returns a ticket reference number.

The next phase of the role out is to allow users to interact with the assistant via text messaging, Facebook Messenger and a widget on the council’s website.

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