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Crisis communication platform keeps Belgian citizens informed amid Covid-19 outbreak

The municipality of Aalter is using the Ezkoms platform to keep its citizens informed 24-7 with additional data sources of approved information to protect lives and ease anxiety.

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The platform has evolved its conversational capabilities for crisis communication
The platform has evolved its conversational capabilities for crisis communication

The Belgian municipality of Aalter has upgraded its public services communication technology to help the public sector efficiently communicate with citizens and to keep them safe and informed during the Covid-19 pandemic.

 

Aalter approached Ezkoms, a Zoovu company, to evolve the AI conversational technology solution the municipality had already been using for the past two years, to perform this new crisis communication role.

 

Digital conversation

 

Used by local and national governments, the platform is designed to keep citizens safe and informed 24-7 on things like rubbish collection, shop opening times, council services and travel updates.

 

According to Ezkoms, the traditional communication channels employed by governments are fundamentally unable to provide citizens with up-to-date and accurate information 24-7. It says communication departments are not staffed or equipped to handle this type of situation, creating a need to automate communication across channels such as websites, applications and social media channels.

 

“Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, local governments have struggled to effectively assist and support their citizens.”

 

Ezkoms claims the evolved platform has enabled Aalter to keep its citizens informed round the clock with additional data sources of approved information to protect lives and ease anxiety, while simultaneously alleviating pressure from help-desks and human-led teams.

 

The platform provides daily Covid-19 information to all citizens. Using the conversational interface, the citizens of Aalter can have a digital conversation and receive instant answers to their questions.

 

“Because of Ezkoms, our citizens know the local government is here to support and keep them safe,” said Mathias Vandewalle, council member, City of Aalter. “Our contact desk is finally able to cope with this current situation.

 

Wake-up call

 

The company points to research that shows half of all citizens will abandon a search within a few minutes if they are unable to find answers. The public sector must acknowledge this reality in their communication strategies, it said.

 

Ezkoms cautions it is especially vital that governments fulfil their civic duty and find a way to deal with the elevated need for information during a crisis.

 

“Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, local governments have struggled to effectively assist and support their citizens. Many have cited a 100 per cent increase in inquiries, putting an enormous strain on civil workers to offer the most up-to-date assistance and advice,” said Maarten Verschuere, CEO, Ezkoms.

 

“At Ezkoms, we have responded by quickly adapting our technology for crisis communication. “Our solution delivers always-on, real-time guidance, chatbot or click-based interactions, at a fraction of the operational cost and effort required to train and enable a customer service agent to respond.”

 

“Because of Ezkoms, our citizens know the local governmentis here to support and keep them safe. Our contact desk is finally able to cope in this current situation.”

 

Ezkoms has been developed by Zoovu and leverages proprietary language modelling, which enables its crisis assistants to understand intent and offer immediate assistance, the company said.

 

“The Ezkoms solution has been designed to act as an invaluable resource for governments and public agencies to earn the trust of their citizens through efficient communication both immediately and in the future,” added Rob Mullen, CEO of Zoovu.

 

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