The way public services are delivered is changing at an unprecedented pace. Challenges around efficiencies and productivity, meeting customer expectations and better customer engagement means that a digital strategy for councils is essential to identify how they will respond to these opportunities and challenges.
Increasingly, users of public services are expecting to access answers to their questions and general support 24/7/365 via a variety of digital means including telephony, desktop computers, ipads, mobile devices and voice assistants. Councils as well as other public sector bodies are being pushed to up-skill quickly to meet taxpayers needs as well as identifying innovative solutions to society's problems. This provides a host of new opportunities for councils to be the first to redesign public services around customer engagement and experience.
Many Councils are beginning to embrace these challenges and opportunities with the release of their customer and digital strategies. During this blog post, we’ll talk about the landscape, main challenges faced by councils as well as how the use of AI and chatbots can combat these challenges. For a more in-depth report, download our ‘Councils of the Future’ whitepaper.
Councils already have the knowledge base to power a chatbot capable of answering even the most obscure of queries. This is because they know: why people call, which services are most commonly called and how to respond to questions and/or how to direct them to services. Councils today are facing an increase in complicated, resource demanding enquiries from citizens driven by welfare reforms. IT Pro Portal found that there are 200+ questions posed frequently to local government organisations. Chatbots hold the potential to help with this, by handling simple, high volume queries, enabling frontline employees to deal with complex enquiries that require human judgement and empathy.
We recently implemented IntelAgent into Monmouthshire Council to deal with an array of FAQ’s around topics including bus timetables, jobs/careers, recycling waste, roadworks, school meals and library/hubs. Monmouth County Council have said that providing a simple, accessible route for customers to find information and complete automated transactions will encourage 'channel shift' away from the traditional, expensive contact routes - telephone and face-to-face contact.
A report going to Cardiff's policy review and performance scrutiny committee says that the benefits of using artificial intelligence include "significant improvements" for non-native Welsh and English speakers with automatic translation into about 80 languages, and an avoidance of costs associated with sickness, leave, training and recruitment. It is being considered as the authority looks to make £14.3m in savings this year alone.