National and local governments are leveraging chatbots to engage citizens, make state and local services more easily accessible, and enable administrative operational activities in order to free up staff time to focus on more complex, mission critical initiatives. With tight budgets and expanded service responsibilities, leveraging technology becomes more important to state and local agencies than ever before.
Awarded for Best Application Serving the Public by the Center for Digital Government, the California Secretary of State’s Eureka Chatbot, developed in partnership with Microsoft, answers frequently asked business entity and trademark questions, helping to better serve approximately 400,000 customers who contacted the agency last year. Through Eureka, customers can ask questions like “How do I check my business filing status online?” and they will be linked to the California Business Search website where they can look up their business record and access documents for free.
Other National and local governments are implementing chatbots with a variety of citizen needs in mind:
- Of the 3,000 calls central IT receives each week in one state, 45-50% are for password reset. In response to this, the State Deputy CIO is building the first chatbot in the state, which serves employees statewide to automate their password reset. It is integrated with Microsoft’s ServiceNow, which improves service levels by creating, reading, and updating records stored within the system, including incidents, questions, users, and more.
- Two other National and local governments are building Q&A bots for central IT operations and are working toward a bot-of-bots approach, so the public can access information. Citizens will eventually be able to transact with 30+ county departments and agencies through the main county web site. This one stop shopping uses Azure Dispatch to route queries appropriately i.e. ‘property tax’ query goes to Assessor while ‘sales tax’ goes to Business Licensing.
- Another state is building their Q&A bot leveraging Eureka code/docs with the goal of allowing the public to access information and perform transaction across the 15 state departments/agencies they support. The first project is for the Department of Higher Education, servicing college students and parents with information about financial aid.