There is a common perception that the government is not doing enough to communicate in a more effective and transparent manner with its citizens.
Whether this is true or not will always be up for discussion, with both sides having strong points of view.
Rather than fuel the fires of debate, we want to suggest a possible solution that’s both practical and effective. Chatbots.
What are chatbots?
Chatbots are AI based programs usually used to simulate conversations with people.
Although they are mostly used to assist sales teams with lead generation and marketing, they can also be used to relay information easily.
Email newsletters have often been tried in the past.
While they work to a certain degree, there’s still certain issues which they can’t overcome. Namely:
Putting together a newsletter takes up a lot of time. Usually government needs at least one member of staff to oversee the compilation of the newsletter in a full-time capacity. In addition to other staff setting aside time to make content contributions. Whereas this time could be better spent in other areas, such as service delivery.
Newsletters are content rich. But this isn’t always a good thing. The community wants to be informed of important developments as and when it happens.
These pressing issues sometimes get lost in newsletters that are full of content. Content which is only there to give the newsletter a more ‘wholesome’ feel to it.
Various members in our community are hesitant to give out their email address. While others have an issue with delivery. Some have never received a single newsletter since subscribing.
Timing and scheduling appear to be the biggest hurdle.
If something happens, the community has a right to know immediately what’s going on. It’s not practical to have to wait for the weekly newsletter to be issued.
We need a means of being quickly notified as and when something happens.
Chatbots solve these issues. Whenever there is an important development, government will be able to quickly push out a notification through a chatbot.
Instead of wasting valuable resources in compiling newsletters, looking for content, and waiting for the regular schedule to publish it, the notification via a chatbot can be sent out as easily as it is to send a SMS on a phone.
The community would much rather receive important news and updates as soon as possible as opposed to filtering through filler content from a newsletter.
Which chatbot to use
Usually chatbots are website based. This poses a problem as most of our community don’t visit government websites regularly.
We have been looking at a possible chatbot solution that uses Facebook and Twitter instead. This chatbot is Inboxr.
Inboxr allows for notifications to be sent out to every person that has interacted with a Facebook page or Twitter account.
Which means our members will only need to visit the governments official Facebook page and Twitter account. Thereafter, they will be ‘subscribed’ to receive all important updates, events and notifications from government instantly.
Inboxr is far less intrusive than having to give out personal emails, and since messages will appear in Facebook and Twitter inbox’s, they have a much higher open-rate and chance to be seen and read.
For a more detailed look at Inboxr’s features, members can read this Inboxr review at https://onlinemarketingwisdom.com/chatbots/inboxr-review/
To conclude, we are still running internal testing of Inboxr. Based on further testing and feedback from our registered members, we will conduct a final usability assessment and approach our local government with an official report on our findings. So far Inboxr is proving to be a fast and efficient way of communicating with our members.
Other references: https://www.techopedia.com/definition/16366/chatterbot