Share this article
Government
 - 
5 min read
Israel Krush
 - 

How Conversational AI Became a Must-Have for Government Agencies in 2020

Our interactions with government agencies hardly ever find their way into our dinner-table conversations, yet they play a huge role in our everyday lives.

From applying for benefits to renewing our driving licenses to paying our taxes, we turn to our governments — local, state, or federal — to accomplish our most important tasks.

Providing services to citizens is, in essence, the sole purpose of any government agency and the measurement by which these agencies are scrutinized, evaluated, and ultimately funded.

Now, more than ever, citizens expect easy access and seamless communication with their government agencies at all times. Gone are the days of long, straggling lines in brick and mortar offices; in 2020, citizens conduct almost all of their interactions with government agencies digitally.

A survey conducted by BCG found that 80% of respondents use their local government’s websites to access real-time public information such as weather or traffic, and 65% are using them to make payments for taxes and fines.

So, how are governments fairing in delivering the level of service their citizens demand, and what role is COVID-19 playing in getting them there?

Game Changer

In a 2017 Deloitte survey, 73% of state and local government officials believed their organization’s digital capabilities were behind those in the private sector.

But COVID-19 changed the paradigm, or more so, expedited processes that would have presumably taken decades to transpire otherwise. As state governments across the nation received millions of urgent queries from concerned citizens, eager to learn more about shelter-in-place restrictions, reopening policies, case counts, and more, a highly efficient, scalable, and easy to use solution was needed.

That solution turned out to be conversational AI.

At the time of writing, 75% of states have launched chatbots to help agencies answer unemployment and COVID-19 questions. 50% are now using a chatbot on their unemployment insurance websites.

Why did this happen?

COVID-19 Response States Using Chatbots - Hyro
Source: NASCIO

Texas Workforce Commission’s Virtual Assistant ‘Larry’ Source: Texas Workforce Commission
Texas Workforce Commission’s Virtual Assistant ‘Larry’ Source: Texas Workforce Commission

Conversational AI: A Catalyst for Customer-Centric Service

To explain how and why the spike in the adoption of conversational AI took place across the board, one needs to consider the use cases it fulfills for government agencies:

  • FAQs, Alerts & Information: Government agencies handle thousands, if not millions (depending on size) of citizen queries a day. Unfortunately, many agencies find themselves understaffed to handle the sheer volume of requests they receive, leading to an endless cycle of backlogs and disgruntled citizens. A 2018 OPM report states that “gaps in staffing levels were hampering performance or placing performance at risk as well as causing stress for overworked employees.” A conversational AI virtual assistant can divert this pressure and act as the agency’s ‘digital front door,’ handling frequently asked questions, repetitive tasks, and more. It can even automate proactive outreach to citizens with relevant information and alerts, thus eliminating a considerable number of unnecessary queries and calls.

  • Taxation, Billing, and Employment: As of May, more than 40 million Americans have applied for unemployment benefits. One can only imagine the amount of paperwork and bureaucracy that accompany such an uptick in claims. As I previously mentioned, 50% of state agencies have already implemented a conversational AI solution to handle these applications, and for a good reason. A virtual assistant can replace obsolete forms with efficient, conversational flows and navigate tax-payers to the proper paperwork, guide unemployed citizens in applying for benefits, and easily collect billing information.
Government Virtual Assistant

  • ID and License Renewal: It’s no secret that many people consider a visit to the DMV to be a less-than-ideal, time-consuming endeavor. A 2014 Mckinsey Center for Government report found that the average CSS (Citizen Satisfaction Score) across 15 states’ DMVs was only 34. This score can be significantly improved by funneling citizens away from long lines at DMV locations and moving a portion of the interaction online. A virtual assistant can fast-track the often sluggish pace of identification and license renewal for automobiles, state ID, businesses, and beyond, saving citizens time and effort while converting more renewal payments.
 McKinsey Center for Government, PUTTING CITIZENS FIRST: How to improve citizens’ experience and satisfaction with government services, 2014
Source: McKinsey Center for Government, PUTTING CITIZENS FIRST: How to improve citizens’ experience and satisfaction with government services, 2014

  • Find Services, Programs, and Locations: No matter their size, all municipalities offer various services and programs. From job fairs to extracurricular activities and cultural events, citizen satisfaction scores are often directly correlated to the quality of programs and the ease in which citizens can enjoy these opportunities. A survey by Booz, Allen, Hamilton consultancy found that 56% of citizens would like their municipalities to make it easier to find information online. A virtual assistant ensures a steady flow of digital traffic to critical services and programs, quickly providing relevant information.

  • Schedule and Confirm Appointments: Although many tasks can now be accomplished online, from time to time, citizens are obligated to show up in person for various appointments, days in court, and committees. Conversational AI enables end-to-end online booking with governmental agencies using natural language, automating appointments, and logging relevant information to government databases.

Here to Stay

According to the National Association of State Chief Information Officers (NASCIO), all 75% of states who have implemented conversational AI on their digital channels intend to continue using it even after the pandemic subsides. Amy Glasscock, Senior Policy Analyst, NASCIO, writes:

“Not only have most states tested the waters now, it seems that chatbot technology is also up to the challenge. Utah said that they had been looking at and testing chatbot technology for several years and noticed that many chatbots fell short of providing an optimal customer experience — but had seen the technology improve significantly. They said they will continue to monitor developments so that their chatbot can provide the best customer service experience possible.”

With a surge in online traffic and a reliance on local and state services that isn’t slowing down, government CIOs and IT executives across the country have now been placed in the driver seat of their organizations, small and large, with the goal of accelerating digital transformation. Achieving that type of change is a road that leads through conversational AI.

Hyro’s conversational AI platform is deployed on various departments of local, county, and state-level governments across the United States. We are supporting these municipalities and their agencies in providing their citizens with easy access to health services, unemployment benefits, and COVID-19 information such as shelter-in-place orders, local policies, and scheduling appointments at COVID-19 testing site locations.

To learn more about our solutions for government agencies, shoot me an email at israel@hyro.ai or visit our website. Want to stay in the loop on our latest innovations? Make sure to follow us on Linkedin and Twitter.

The best of conversational technologies, delivered weekly.
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Conversational AI
Digital Transformation
Natural Language
Conversational AI
for COVID-19:
Insights from Hyro’s Virtual Assistants
Across US Healthcare Systems
Get The Full Report
Israel Krush
September 14, 2020
Share
0
% Read
People who read this article also enjoyed:
Healthcare
 - 
3 min read

COVID vs. Texas: Micro-Interview with Austin Regional Clinic's Heidi Shalev

We are thrilled to have Heidi Shalev, VP Marketing, Communications & Engagement at Austin Regional Clinic, for our second installment of our new micro-interview* series with some of America's leading experts in the fields of real estate, healthcare, government, and more.

Ziv Gidron
April 22, 2021
Healthcare
 - 
3 min read

Hyro Announces New Integration With #1 EMR in Healthcare: Epic Systems

We are thrilled to share that Hyro’s conversational AI platform for healthcare websites, voice apps, and call centers is officially and fully Epic EMR integratable through a plug & play non-intrusive API.

The Hyro Team
April 18, 2021
Real Estate
 - 
4 min read

How AI Chatbots Can Increase Sales in Real Estate in 2021

How can you increase your real estate sales in a post-COVID-19 world? With AI chatbots for real estate. Read this blog post to find out how the best AI chatbot platforms are helping real estate companies drive more engagement and generate sales.

The Hyro Team
February 23, 2021