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New Zealand Legal Charity Sees Opportunity For Chatbot Technology

AI chatbots are rapidly replacing customer service representatives at online stores and help desks worldwide. They have quickly grown in popularity for customer service centres, but are less common in other industries.

According to Gartner, virtual customer assistants have reduced call, chat and email enquiries by 70% for most companies, freeing up staff for other tasks. Salesforce has alleged that 23% of customer service organisations are now using chatbot technology. Due to faster response times to enquiries, these customer service organisations may see an improvement in customer retention, as 82% of customers value instant responses to their questions when contacting brands (Business 2 Community).

New Zealand legal charity Citizen AI has seen the opportunity in using chatbot technology for public benefit. Their mission is to combat information inequality by making legal answers accessible to underserved Kiwis. In a world first, their latest release, Lagbot, offers users information on the rights of prisoners and helps support their friends and whānau. Users can ask about visitation rights, education opportunities, fair treatment, sentencing, complaints and more.

Lagbot follows their other digital assistants, Rentbot and Workbot, which offer users information about tenant and employee rights, helping over 21,000 Kiwis a year. New Zealand has the opportunity to be world-leading and implement the same strategies for other support services. During our COVID-19 lockdown, the University of Auckland released Aroha, a chatbot to support the wellbeing of young people during stressful times.

“Bots have the potential to provide rapid information, customised to the users needs anytime and anywhere. They won’t replace the invaluable human to human work that so many organisations do so well, but they can ensure that the broad need is met while freeing up time for the focussed work of complex cases,” says Geoffrey Roberts, executive director of Citizen AI.

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