Devonport City Council today became one of the first local governments in Australia to introduce a chatbot.
General Manager Matthew Atkins said a chatbot is an artificial intelligence (AI) application that can imitate a real conversation with a user. They appear as an avatar and engage with customers in a manner similar to normal human interaction.
Mr Atkins said the Council’s chatbot was affectionately named Rose following a staff survey, and was designed and built internally, using AI software which cost only $1500.
“We are fortunate to have some great staff working in the digital space who have been able to cost effectively create this chatbot over the last 12 months, all based on the real-life customer enquiries that Council receive,” Mr Atkins said.
“One of the key benefits of a chatbot is improved engagement with the community through Council’s online presence, by offering a personalised service, gaining insights about the needs of the community, quick response to enquiries and 24/7 availability.
“Council is always looking for ways to improve our services and Rose the Chatbot is a part of Council’s ongoing digital transformation, which is now embedded into our culture of innovation that will continually push for new and better ways to operate.”
Mr Atkins said a substantial amount of testing had been undertaken in the development of Rose the Chatbot however, improvements would continue to ensure an efficient and effective service to the Devonport community.
“Please note that no different to us, Rose will not have answers to all the questions, especially initially, but staff will be monitoring the questions and training her regularly for improvement.”
To check out Rose the Chatbot visit Council’s website at www.devonport.tas.gov.au