5 ways the public sector can use AI to streamline digital services

Posted on: 21/02/2019


In late 2018 councils were granted over £1 million in funding to help shape and improve digital services and to explore the potential that new technologies can offer. Already, a number of public sector organisations have begun to use virtual assistants for a variety of tasks, such as supporting disabled people in their homes to taking queries about bin collections and processing council tax payments. We look at how, for the public sector, using chatbots can improve efficiency, frontline service delivery, as well as user satisfaction.

  1. Chatbots enable citizens to contact councils out-of-hours

People want services beyond the normal 9 to 5 business hours. No longer must people wait until the morning to find out detailed information regarding an inquiry, chatbots can provide specific details 24/7. Complaints and reports can also be processed around the clock. For example, Waltham Forest just introduced an online system for processing environmental concerns such as fly-tipping.

  1. Chatbots work faster

Reducing wait times enhances experience. Instead of leaving people waiting on the phone, chatbots can handle simple requests immediately. The best chatbots interact with more people faster than humans will ever be able to. The trick is knowing when and where to use them. In many cases, chatbots are basically a more informal way for people to navigate your website and find the right information.

  1. Chatbots help free up employees

Chatbot’s artificial intelligence ensures human resources are only used when they’re needed. Councils today are facing an increase in complicated, resource demanding enquiries from citizens. Chatbots have the potential to help with this by handling simple, high volume queries while enabling frontline employees to deal with more complex enquiries that require higher levels of judgement and empathy.

  1. Chatbots make feedback easier

A chatbot is the easiest and most natural way to engage users to collect feedback, both qualitative and quantitative. With smart backend integrations, bots can automatically route the feedback to the right departments within the government for quick action and redressal.

  1. Chatbots make services more accessible

 Chatbots can provide the ultimate user experience and breakdown barriers in accessibility. For example, by providing conversation experiences like those in Facebook Messenger. Transport For London launched its Messenger chatbot, Travelbot, in 2017, which now deals with thousands of enquiries daily.

As AI develops, chatbots for the public sector will only become broader and more sophisticated at mirroring human interaction. They will be able to comprehend more complex patterns of human speech and build from every interaction they have. This means that, eventually, they will be able to tackle more challenging tasks alongside frontline employees so that public organisations can focus their resources on the most complex enquiries and improving their services.