Age UK Norwich - Vera the chatbot to help older people

Meeting Vera the Age UK chatbot to help with queries into this innovative partner

Age UK Norwich pioneering partners innovating their service

Age UK is the country's leading charity dedicated to helping everyone make the most of later life.

The over 60's is the fasted growing group in society and there are more of us than ever before,

Ageing is not an illness, but it can be challenging, At Age UK they provide services and support as a national and local level to inspire, enable and support older people.

As a partner organisation, we are working with a growing number of regional partners around the country, with the first partner to look at an innovative approach being the great team at Norwich.

Working with Dan and the team at Age UK Norwich as the innovative first movers within the partner group

Extend the reach and service for both clients and partners

As with all charities, they wish to make the most of the funding and revenue streams available and the very precious time of their teams and volunteers.

How do we provide more information 24/7 but reduce the load on the team?

The challenge that Age UK Norwich came to us with was trying to deal with the number of incoming enquiries that come into the team via phone and not only handling the simple enquiries during their limited daytime hours, but also expanding their reach and service to other audiences.

Welcome to the team Vera the chatbot

We deployed a bespoke chatbot called ‘Vera’. We worked closely with the team at Norwich to understand all the core and useful bits of information that Vera needed to learn.

We designed the conversation flows to help with all the types of query the team received, as well as a number of signposting issues to content that was hard to find or not applicable to their website.

A new and valuable member of the team that is always on duty

We also included in the design some specific audience information, as Dan at Age UK Norwich wanted to extend the reach of their service to include social and healthcare professionals as well as their volunteer network.

We made sure that ‘Vera’ knew enough to take the load off the team once their audiences understood that they had the option of getting access to information from ‘Vera’ and not just using the phone immediately.

Reducing inbound calls whilst helping other audiences

Vera is the star of the show, the Age UK Norwich team have been promoting her assistance and noticed a drop in calls into the charity year on year, after she had been deployed.

For Vera the few highlights that are starting to appear from the analytics may inform the direction of travel for how she helps the charity.

The early scores are in, Vera is a hit with the team and users online and via Facebook

One highlight is that we are seeing strong engagement from Social and Healthcare professionals, proving that this will be a strong area to keep adding knowledge and resources for their access.

Top stories in the bot are people finding out more about the ways Age UK can support them or their loved ones, what services are on offer and how they can get involved, be they through local activity groups, information and advice as well as tips for independent living.

Expanded knowledge and growing partners groups

Happily, this whole project has been taken up by more and more partners throughout the UK and we are excited at Vera  becoming a main stay of the Age UK team via their local partners.

We are also looking at the role of inclusivity for the partner communities via dynamic language translation and communication in Live Chat and general conversation.

We also have a larger knowledgebase project that will use a centralised library of information that we will bring back for Vera to present on demand.

Sharing the knowledge and updates with all the partners that include Vera in their team.

We are really happy with how Vera has joined the Age UK partner team and hope we will play a small part in positively impacting lives around the country.