Citizen expectations are growing faster than technical resources; conversational AI can help SLGs keep up
Citizens expect fast, personalized service from the organizations they interact with online. As digital service expectations continue to exceed what many state and local agencies can realistically offer, it’s time to consider how governments can use conversational AI to enhance their existing digital services to better deliver on citizen expectations.
Conversational AI offers a scalable way for state and local government agencies to offer more personalized services and interactions in a way that is accessible and intuitive to citizens. It has the ability to work quietly in the background, powering great experiences by improving the consistency and accuracy of information provided, improving speed of response, and improving the intuitiveness and ease of use of the digital experience.
In today’s tight labor market, finding and training people to staff things like 311 call centers takes a lot of time – and you may still find inconsistencies in the information shared by different reps.
At XAPP AI, our conversational AI solution is tied to what we call the Unified Knowledge Model™ and it’s designed to act as a single source of truth that returns highly relevant and accurate answers to specific questions like “when is my recycling being picked up this week?”
The technology works by indexing all of the available content and information that an organization makes available and organizing it for all inbound queries. When a question is asked, the response presented back to the citizen comes directly from that information.
Because the responses are coming from a single source of truth, you are guaranteed that if ten people ask the same question, they’ll get the same, accurate, answer.
As things like new street cleaning schedules are uploaded, the system automatically pulls from the new, updated information to respond to citizens with the most accurate and up to date information.
With almost a third of website visitors using a site search box when one is available, searchability is crucial for accessibility to information online. Done well, it helps citizens quickly navigate to the information they’re looking for so that they can continue on with their day.
Things like site search or using a chat feature are known as “self-service” features because the user is able to get what they need without interacting with another person. Conversational AI technology can be layered into these features in a way that makes them more powerful and easy to use, which we’ll discuss in more detail in the next section.
We know that perception of ease of use is often tied to the amount of time it takes someone to get a response or find the information that they need. Conversational AI tools like Intelligent Virtual Assistants that can automatically process and understand a query or question can immediately respond with helpful, contextual, information. Live chat responses can take up to two minutes, and are only available when someone is actively monitoring the inbox. They also require a physical resource to run – powering a chat feature with conversational AI frees up employees and lets them focus on other core responsibilities.
If an experience isn’t intuitive to use, it isn’t going to be used. Citizens today expect to be able to connect with their government services online in ways that feel simple, seamless, and intuitive.
Conversational AI that leverages natural language processing (NLP) lets people talk or type as they would naturally, lowering any perceived barriers. Instead of pausing and typing robotically into a search bar, “property tax bill schedule 2022” someone can simply ask, “when is my next property tax bill due?” and the system will automatically search through the available data repository, find the property tax schedule, and provide that information back to them conversationally. It’s a more natural and intuitive way to engage within a digital experience.
Because the technology is always on, citizens won’t come to the site or app at certain times of the day only to find that a helpful feature like chat is unavailable. A consistent experience means less pausing to think about where to go and what to do, an important part of a positive user experience.
By offering consistency in the experience and consistency in the information provided, SLGs are well positioned to help build trust with citizens. Conversational AI offers new ways to provide seamless and intuitive digital experiences that better reach, inform, and engage citizens – even as their needs grow.
Contact us to discuss how we can help any size business launch Conversational AI experiences that people want to use.
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