Intelligent technology is having a significant impact on the way customers interact with the public sector. In this article the experts at Agilisys offer an opinion on the shape of citizen interactions to come.
In its recent report, The Future of Jobs, the World Economic Forum (WEF) suggested that automation, software and robots are not just changing skills requirements but replacing certain jobs altogether. While this may be worrying for those with manual, repetitive or labour-intensive jobs, it’s important to focus on the 2.1 million new jobs that will be created in more specialised areas.
Too often shrouded in mystery and fear, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and intelligent automation could actually revitalise innovation and revolutionise working practices.
The volume of emails, web chat and social media is steadily growing. By 2018, less than 70% of customer interactions in the UK will take place by phone. The challenge of managing the increasing volume of unstructured communication, directed at central and local government departments, requires a new way of interfacing with and processing enquiries and claims from the public.
Our experience of working with the UK public sector for more than a decade has enabled us to develop dedicated software to meet the challenges facing our customers. Our experience has been further enhanced through our partnership with AI and intelligent automation specialist Celaton. Although Celaton works exclusively within the private sector with organisations such as Virgin Trains, ASOS and Dixons Carphone, we have been able to enhance our technology offering through their knowledge of streamlining labour intensive clerical tasks and unstructured content.
Not only does Celaton enable its clients to achieve improved operational efficiencies; it enables them to significantly improve customer service by making it faster and more personal every time. Celaton’s most recent successes have included streamlining customer correspondence and delay-repay claims for Virgin Trains (as featured on BBC’s Panorama) and their new three year partnership with global technology and outsourcing provider Capgemini.
Central Government departments and agencies could benefit from AI in similar ways. Just look at the variety of methods that citizens choose to interact with Government bodies: letters, emails (both with and without attachments), paper-based or online forms and even SMS texts and social media. The task of processing all these documents is huge and has to be completed before information can be allocated to appropriate civil servants for onward processing. Add to this the need to reduce budgets, achieve transparency in a highly regulated environment and ever shorter timescales for customer service and the pressure is immense.
From our perspective, AI could help to alleviate this pressure by reducing the required number of repetitive tasks, improving transaction times and reducing the cost of manual processing. More importantly, with software completing mundane tasks, people can apply their skills and knowledge to making a difference in serving the public.
To keep you up to date on the topic of the ‘digital workforce’, we’ll be releasing a series of video blogs over the coming months. Watch the first in the series ‘AI – the public servant’ here. If you have any feedback or would like to know more get in touch with us on Twitter @Agilisys.
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