Birmingham City Council puts AI at centre of operations

Birmingham City Council (BCC) is using Eptica’s AI customer experience platform to provide faster email and phone responses to queries from citizens.

The council, which gets more than 2.19 million emails and phone calls every year, has already seen the benefits of using the AI-based solution.

The local authority has reduced average handling times across services for email by 30% to 6 hours and 52 minutes.

The software also supports agents who sit on 2.1 million voice calls every year with access to a new centralised, self-learning knowledge base.

Eptica said that the council is now able to reply to more than 98% of emails within its SLA of two business days. As a result, citizens are getting faster responses to their queries that can span across a range of services from housing to education.

Birmingham City Council customer services service improvement head Georgina Foxwell said the council provides a range of vital services to its 1.1 million citizens and it is  crucial that it can respond quickly, efficiently and uniformly across different channels.

“Through its central knowledge base Eptica is helping us improve the experience by giving agents access to the right answers, particularly at busy times of the year or when information is updated, such as when Council Tax bills come out in March, boosting productivity and satisfaction,” Foxwell said

Eptica CEO and co-founder Olivier Njamfa said: “The combination of the wide range of services it offers and the sheer number of conversations it has with its citizens meansthat Birmingham City Council required a scalable, future-proof platform for its customer experience.

“By putting Eptica’s platform at the centre of its operations it is showing how artificial intelligence can both transform efficiency and boost customer satisfaction across every channel.”

The council had originally rolled out its Eptica-powered knowledge base, dubbed Sheldon, to its 300 contact centre agents who take voice calls.

Sheldon gives the agents quick access to a growing library of over 1,000 articles, covering multiple subjects like potholes, school admissions and council tax payments.

Agents type in their question to which Sheldon scans the knowledge base to deliver tailored information, thereby enabling them to come up with quick and comprehensive replies.

Eptica has been expanded to cover the council’s email channel to replace a range of desktop mailboxes and solutions.

The latest version of Sheldon was launched in the second quarter of this year. It is allowing the council to analyse incoming emails and webforms from 25 services using Eptica’s natural language processing technology.