May 19, 2020

Chatbots - a ‘quick win’ in improving Government service delivery

South Africa
chatbot
Saurabh Kumar
2 min
Chatbots - a ‘quick win’ in improving Government service delivery

Chatbots have the advantage of being limitlessly scalable (theoretically, there’s no additional cost to serving 1000 people, versus one person). When created and refined correctly, bots automatically ‘learn’ from their interactions, and from the organic involvement of human actors in the process. So, for example, if a bot is unable to understand a customer query, and a human supervisor is required to intervene, the bot will learn from the answer that the supervisor gave to the user.

By requiring that users create digital profiles, government departments can start tracking a detailed history of the user’s interactions (with both the digital and the human workforce), building a clear picture of the user and helping to personalise the responses from the chatbot.

In fact, this digital profile should be synched with various other back-end systems as well as related government departments – such as CRM databases, or the Home Affairs and the Licensing Department databases.

Getting started

The next step is to move from concepts on paper, into real life scenarios. Based on our work with government departments around the world, we can look at five key considerations when getting started on your Chatbot journey:

  1. Identify the public services that would benefit from Chatbots, or from increased feedback from citizens, and focus on creating Chatbot interfaces for those services.
  2. Ensure that your Chatbot is fully-integrated into back-end, legacy and core systems that will enable to bot to easily fetch information, write or reduplicate new data into databases, and add activities into workflow systems.
  3. Thoroughly address the cyber-security requirements from all possible angles. As more and more sensitive data bouncing between bots and users is stored digitally, it’s essential to have an impenetrable security posture.
  4. Implement a comprehensive, engaging change management approach. As with any new technology, it takes a lot to overcome initial resistance. Ensure you have a sustained focus on the benefits to the staff member, the government department, and the end-user, brought to bear by compelling change management strategies.
  5. Get started – today! Chatbots are still a somewhat nascent technology – so it can be tempting to sit on the side-lines and watch the field developing. But the best approach is to simply get started with a very basic Chatbot, in a restricted beta trial, and then build it out from there, infusing ever more complex self-learning algorithms as you progress.

Saurabh Kumar is the CEO at In2IT Technologies.

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