Due to a continuous stream of questions from citizens and local entrepreneurs, the Municipality of Veenendaal is taking a forward-looking step with the use of an AI chatbot. Inge Lucas (Veenendaal municipality) talks about her experiences with the use of a chatbot within the organization. She discusses the implementation process and the results of the digital assistant within the municipality.
Chatbot Bo has been available for website visitors to the municipality of Veenendaal since the end of June. The mission to improve customer contact has started together with Watermelon. Inge Lucas: “Major challenges within the Customer Contact Center (KCC) were the increasing flow of telephony and unwanted channel switches. Our goal was to reduce telephone calls by answering questions online. We succeeded with chatbot Bo! Thanks to the chatbot, the municipality’s KCC has been further relieved and digitized. ”
Less telephony, more online
Every day the KCC has to process approximately 400 telephone calls with residents, entrepreneurs and social organizations. A significant part of this concerns recurring, simple questions that can be answered quickly and automatically.
With Watermelon’s user-friendly Conversational AI platform, the bot is easy to use for a wide range of customer questions. This is exactly what the municipality of Veenendaal opts for. Chatbot Bo has a wide range of topics and guides visitors to the correct answer via buttons in the conversation. The chatbot answers all questions about civil matters, such as extending your passport, notifying you of a move, getting married in Veenendaal, requesting a birth certificate and an extract.
Other service tasks will be gradually introduced in the coming period, so that the bot will provide support on every spectrum in the future. Inge Lucas: “With the chatbot, we as an organization go along with the digitization of customer contact and we offer our visitors faster service 24/7. And that’s what we want “.
The relevance of the chatbot has always been clear. The municipality did fear a complicated implementation process. However, this was not too bad for Inge and her team. Inge Lucas: “We started the adventure blank. The nice thing is that we were given the space to really pioneer. There is currently a joint project of municipalities to set up a chatbot, but we were ahead of it. ”
Inge Lucas continues: “After forming a personality, we started to come up with the questions and answers. We have tried to turn our chatbot into a human. Along the way we encountered obstacles. As a project team, we were flexible enough to drastically change the concept on a number of points. For example, we found out that the questions for many services were too similar. So after an intensive testing phase, we scripted Bo more. Now we guide visitors through buttons to the correct answer. ”
Support as a way to success
According to Inge Lucas, the support from Watermelon has been very valuable to the success of chatbot Bo. “Partly thanks to the help of a personal Customer Success Manager, the municipality of Veenendaal has built a well-functioning chatbot. The municipality has never underestimated that a chatbot requires patience and time to develop. Partly because of this attitude, there is a fully optimized chatbot that serves as an extra employee at the KCC. The goal has been reached! “Naturally, Watermelon and the municipality of Veenendaal will continue to strive for even more online interaction and positive results.
Customer Success Manager Elmer Schra (Watermelon) supports Inge Lucas in the implementation process. Elmer Schra: “Building a chatbot is easy at Watermelon because you don’t need any programming knowledge. However, inventing the chatbot is new to many organizations. The combination of the expertise of the municipality of Veenendaal on customer questions and the expertise from Watermelon on chatbot implementations ensures a success story. ”
The first results
The first results are very promising. Chatbot Bo helps about 150 visitors per week. “We clearly see an increase in the number of conversations through the chatbot. It is not yet possible to determine exactly whether these people would all have contacted the municipality by telephone, but it is clear that we have already helped many people in this way, “says a proud Inge Lucas.