The application period for this challenge is now closed

  • Governer Partner :City of Edmonton
  • Department :Communications and Engagement
  • Category :AI/ML, CRM / application management, Data Analytics, Natural Language Processing (or Language), Resident Engagement

Project Summary

Online and voice chatbot that can reduce 311 call volumes for routine information based calls.

Challenge Details

The Communications and Engagement Department operates both the City of Edmonton’s website at www.edmonton.ca and the 311 telephone service to provide call-in information and services for residents, visitors, and businesses.

Despite the fact that the City has a comprehensive, accessible, searchable, mobile-friendly and well-designed website where many of the information-based requests could be serviced – Edmonton residents have become accustomed to using the telephone 311 service for basic information needs. 311 has become the preferred service channel for many residents. Calls range from providing basic information, tracking and logging a complaint or service request, or completing a transaction such as a recreation program registration. 2 million calls are handled each year. We would prefer to serve basic information requests using a digital channel. Satisfying this information request through the 311 call centre is more costly than if it could be served digitally.

We perform analysis of 311 calls and website traffic that can be used to identify the highest volume and simplest information responses for implementation into a chatbot. Throughout the year, call volumes regarding bus routes and bus schedules are common (amounting to 40 to 50% of all calls), information about recreation and leisure programs are the second largest volume of calls. In addition, at different times of the year, call volumes can spike for particular topics – such as Christmas Tree pickup, spring mulch availability (the City makes mulch for landscaping available for free). While these seasonal spikes are much smaller in volume, there may still be a strong benefit to serve these calls with a chatbot.

With online chatbots becoming very commonplace, and with the emergence of more intelligent services that use voice recognition (such as Google Home, Amazon Alexa), being able to offer a multi-channel chatbot that offers a new digital method of obtaining service through edmonton.ca and also mitigate call volumes handled by 311 agents is seeming more realistic.

Communications and Engagement seeks a solution that would:
• Provide a new online/digital option for residents to quickly find the information they are seeking
• Reduce the volume of basic/repetitive information calls fielded by 311 agents, allowing that resource to focus on more complex and high-touch services
• Better utilize the comprehensive information available on edmonton.ca