More Than a Chatbot: How Can the Public Sector Use AI in Communications?

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Back in 2021, HM government launched the National AI Strategy. This strategy sets in place the government’s vision for a public service that truly harnesses the power of technological innovation. It states that ’Artificial Intelligence technologies (AI) offer the potential to transform the UK’s economic landscape and improve people’s lives across the country, transforming industries and delivering first-class public services.’

Through competent adoption of AI solutions, designed to drive efficiencies, and comprehensive training to upskill workforces, the public sector could be well on its way to realise this potential. In approaching the use of AI, HM government hopes to radically change the ways in which public services operate and communicate, both internally and externally. But how is AI currently being deployed within public sector communications and how can we optimise its usage?

To explore this question, RingCentral, in collaboration with GovNews, conducted a wide-reaching survey to gain a deeper understanding of how public sector organisations are making use of the latest innovative communications technology.

How can AI improve citizen interactions? 

Our survey found that whilst 50% of respondents felt neutral in their organisation’s attitudes towards implementing AI, 33% were positive. This demonstrates a shift in the attitudes towards AI communications solutions as workforces and organisations are keen to explore these innovative solutions. It also demonstrates, however, just how much work needs to be done to meet HM Government’s plans to revolutionise the public services with the use of AI.

The key benefits that our survey found were predominantly a direct result of implementing AI solutions in citizen interactions. Solutions such as chatbots, for example, not only improve workflows for staff (as pressure is eased from a backlog of enquiries), they can also provide personalised experiences through the citizen inputting specific requests and information. This directly improves the accessibility of the service as users can quickly, and efficiently get the answers or results they desire. This leads to fewer complaints, which again, frees up time for public sector teams who are increasingly stretched to the limit.

AI can also be used to create specific content for user interactions. This means that users can get detailed and bespoke information to help them understand the services they are accessing. Again, this helps improve workflows for staff, but also means a more personalised experience for service users.

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Revolutionising workflows

AI also transforms reporting. Any citizen interaction conducted via an AI solution such as a chatbot or AI system-generated comms can be directly fed into a CRM, capturing and logging vital details. This means not only is access to the services made more efficient, but the capturing and use of data is made quicker and more accessible for members of staff. Having this automation occur with citizen interactions really streamlines staff workflows, but it also means that the vital data accrued can be studied and put to work, improving problem areas of the service.

AI also has the power to revolutionise internal communications. By merging communications channels and automatically sharing vital data via secure locations, teams can collaborate effortlessly. By having project information automatically available, staff can action workflows at their convenience, instead of having to wait for access to siloed data or legacy hardware to catch up. This revolution in internal communication saves time and transforms workflows, but it also improves the quality of life for staff members as they can feel secure in having everything they need to improve vital services.

The modern public sector and AI

Our survey findings demonstrate that the public sector still has a long way to go in realising the power of AI. With AI solutions, workflows can be made more efficient, staff can be happier in their work, and the public can enjoy quicker, more personalised services. HM Government’s assertion that AI has the ‘potential to transform’ is becoming increasingly evident. But for public services to truly flourish the use of AI must become ‘mainstream’.

 

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Want to discover more about the state of public sector communications?

Originally published Nov 03, 2023, updated Dec 08, 2023

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