Telford and Wrekin Council add three new services to their call centre, thanks to Artificial Intelligence

Telford and Wrekin Council deployed an AI Assistant, TOM, in 2021 and managed to cut extremely high waiting times by 50%, shifting many users to digital. Now, a year into TOM’s operations, more wins are astonishing the team.

New services added to support residents, less strain on staff and rising wellbeing are proofs of the Council’s successful AI acceleration. All without the need to employ additional headcount which is even more impressive given the current struggle to recruit and retain staff in the sector.

Service improvements secured by TOM:

Over the last 12 months, residents have been increasingly turning to the AI Assistant: TOM has recorded 39% increase in total chat volumes. With live chat, queries handed over to agents dropped by 67% across all services, meaning more users self-serve successfully without needing human intervention. Other metric improvements secured by the Telford and Wrekin’s AI Assistant are as impressive:

  • 37% decrease in environmental phone calls
  • 10.5% reduction in highways phone calls
  • 9% decrease in public protection phone calls
  • 40% reduction in live chat to human advisory
  • 33% of contacts made outside of working hours

Telford and Wrekin’s AI investment is making room for staff to be more proactive and productive at work. With less work dedicated to routine queries and handling contact spikes, the Council have been able to redistribute resources to better serve residents.

New services

As the AI Assistant is proving increasingly popular among users, there is room to grow the council’s offering. TOM now provides self-service in three new areas, all thanks to the benefits they have seen through AI:

  • Homelessness
  • Registration
  • Libraries

These new services are offered without adding pressure on staff or having to add extra headcount, meaning the channel shift objectives are working.

“I am very proud of what we were able to achieve with TOM, the AI Assistant for Telford and Wrekin Council. We know that Conversational AI will play a pivotal role in the Public Sector due to their need to digitally engage entire populations at the lowest cost point. Our mission is to make it happen.” Martin Neale, Founder and CEO, ICS.AI

How is it possible?

TOM is a Human Parity AI Assistant, meaning it can achieve the same level of first-time resolution (85%) as a human. In fact, over the last 12 months Tom has answered over 13,000 resident queries at an accuracy rate of 95%.

The AI Assistant’s excellent user experience is owed to the impressive AI language model it’s built on – currently covering over 1,000 council topics, making it the largest local government AI language model in the UK. It is also constantly growing, with the help of ICS.AI’s patent-pending SMART Mesh that allows it to improve while learning from other assistants on the mesh.

Another factor in TOM’s success is that it’s specifically architected for the public sector, keeping in mind the essential role the local government plays in providing communities with information and care. TOM’s accessible to everyone and WCAG 2.1 AA compliant, and it has a dedicated ethical compliance sub-system which really makes it stand out for its inclusivity.

Additional Benefits

The benefits of deploying an AI Assistant have not just been to Telford’s residents. With pressure taken off staff, long-term sickness has fallen by 74% and short-term sickness by 16%. It comes as a surprising but welcome benefit to the Council and its team and proves how AI supports humans both outside and inside the organisation, improving their quality of life.

Why it matters?

Local Authorities invest in AI products to meet rising demand without overstretching budgets and burdening staff. When AI provides self-service to increasing numbers of people, Councils have more breathing space to work on more strategic, longer-term projects, focus on most pressing issues or better tailor existing services to the needs of residents.

Telford and Wrekin Council, winners of Council of the Year 2022, have used their citizen AI Assistant, TOM, to successfully enhance customer services. Thanks to the Assistant taking over queries and boosting work quality, the Council have gained valuable resources that are now being distributed for the benefit of the local community.

From the Customer

“Local citizens can’t choose information sources, they depend on their council’s resources. If AI means that we are accessible to residents who would not normally be able to get in touch, then that is a fantastic thing!” Gemma Hancox, Customer Contact Group Manager, Telford and Wrekin Council

About ICS.AI

ICS.AI pride themselves on being market leaders in Conversational AI across the public sector. As a Microsoft Gold Partner they have delivered channel shift and digital transformation in multiple local authorities, achieving Human Parity results across all their use cases. The company CEO, Martin Neale, has been nominated for Enterprise Awards, or the Oscars of Technology, in the category of the best entrepreneur for the public sector.