Federal Manager's Daily Report

USA.gov says AI has helped it more efficiently answer questions from the public about scams.

The USAGov site has described an approach to applying artificial intelligence for improving the government’s customer service, through creation of a chatbot (which it named Sam) that since its launch in February has had more than 4,000 users, with 78 percent having successfully gotten an answer to their question.

“We get tons of questions from the public, and wanted to see if automation could help us answer them quicker. We also knew that scams are one of the top tasks for our website and contact center audiences. In late 2018, we blended our exploration of AI and expertise in scams to launch our chatbot,” says a posting.

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That started with personal interviews with 32 people who had contacted the site about scams. “They didn’t just tell the facts about reporting the scam. They also spoke about their emotions and motivating factors for reporting,” it says. The team then organized the comments and found they fell into three general areas: identifying if something is a scam; knowing where to report it; and how to recover money lost.

“Before building, we created a flowchart to map out all the responses and navigation. This was key to directing users to an answer for their problem. Since we wanted Sam to be personable, we wrote friendly and empathetic messages. We learned that our marketing automation tool offers chatbot building capability. This expedited the time to launch, at no extra cost,” it says.

Planned improvements include offering bilingual services, expanding to other services provided through USAGov and integrating it with the call center.

The posting is at https://blog.usa.gov/breaking-into-artificial-intelligence-meet-sam-the-chatbot