Although chatbots are not entirely new technology, their value and usage have dramatically increased over the last couple of years as more enterprises around the globe recognize their value. Bots are altering the business-consumer relationship in the realms of healthcare, e-commerce, customer service, and much more.
It’s only logical that this innovative tech would be applied to government institutions, several of which around the globe have begun using chatbots to make information more readily available and improve services for their people.
Government is historically one of the last areas in which new technology is adopted, but there is a multitude of use cases for bots in the government sector. Below we’ll explore five ways that chatbots can improve the relationship between a government and its people.
1. Citizen Engagement
The idea of “conversational government” is the notion of strengthening an interaction between a legislative body and citizens, with chatbots being the link between them.
Here are just a few ways that bots can, and in some cases are, being used by government bodies to better engage their citizens:
• Answering commonly-asked questions in a personal, conversational way.
• Keeping people informed of pending changes in policy and legislation.
• Issuing surveys based on citizens’ preferences and needs.
• Collating and analyzing data of a user base.
A bot-building platform like SnatchBot offers real-time analytics that allows governments to learn what people are talking about and gain new insight into the needs of their citizens. Not only is this more efficient and simpler than traditional means of data collection, but it affords each person a voice and a personalized experience.
2. Access to Information at Every Level
Chatbots use context and machine learning functionality to respond to input in a way that is quick, simple, and efficient—turning what might ordinarily be a one-way interaction into a two-way conversation. This equally reduces the workload of government employees and allows them to maximize productivity.
Simply by supplying information and answering questions, a chatbot could aid any level of government in a number of ways:
• Keep citizens informed of their rights.
• Answer tax-related inquiries.
• Allow access to public records, such as property surveys, marriage licenses, birth certificates and more.
• Inform people about employment opportunities.
• Direct citizens to resources pertaining to eligibility and applications for housing, grants, subsidies, and scholarships.
Though there are myriad requests that a government institution might receive, chatbots are capable of answering nearly any question or request quickly and efficiently.
3. Health Organizations
In many countries, government and healthcare are linked by either universal health coverage or, in cases like the US, government subsidies on insurance. These programs are usually accessed via websites or apps, which are costly to produce and maintain.
Bots, on the other hand, offer an inexpensive, effective solution to answer inquiries, provide advice, and notify citizens of available local resources. Bots are able to “learn” a user’s preferences over time so that they are able to send only relevant data to any given person.
For example, if a pregnant woman interacts with a chatbot regarding prenatal services, the bot learns her needs and may send her advice and information about required vaccinations, childcare, and the services thereof in her area.
Furthermore, health departments can employ bots to inform citizens about health care regulations and public health concerns.
4. Public Outreach
Even in developed countries, the means of contact between representatives and citizens are typically antiquated media like phone or fax. Campaign offices are staffed by teams of volunteers.
Using a single intelligent bot as the liaison between official and residents can provide a multitude of advantages, such as:
• Answering frequently-asked questions, day or night.
• Providing information about incumbents or candidates.
• Accepting campaign donations safely and securely.
• Informing citizens about polling information during elections.
We’ve only just begun to fully realize the capability and usage of chatbots; as the technology advances, intelligent bots are becoming the prevailing method of communication between organization and individual. Governments that embrace these innovations will find a marked improvement in the bond between legislators and the people, not only giving each citizen a voice but also the means to be heard.