Technology is always seen as an extension or support to our work, but AI-powered chatbots are shifting the game. A chatbot is an automated system that responds to user queries without requiring human intervention. These systems are often built into messaging apps like WhatsApp. While businesses across the world have deployed chatbots for various reasons such as customer care and complaint registrations, shopping assistants and even for sending reminders of bill payments and receipts, their use case in the social sector is rather low.
- Access to Information: An important benefit of chatbots is their ability to provide a central location for accessing information. Information from websites can be confusing and complicated applications can be tricky to navigate. When you use chatbots, you can easily locate the information you need and act on it faster as well.
- Conversational Nature of Chatbots: Users can hold conversations immediately with chatbots, and the quick and easy-to-navigate responses enhance the user experience. The messaging style and the nature of the language used often lead to better engagement. Owing to language NLP (Natural Language Processing) and voice and they don’t have to type but rather choose options.
- Deep penetration in tier 2 & 3 cities: Messaging applications on which these chatbots are made have penetrated tier 2 and 3 cities. A WhatsApp chatbot, for instance, can be used much more easily than going to a complex government portal to apply for a program. The wide use of messaging apps has already done half a job that is of getting people to a portal.
- Cut Loose the Initial Inertia: Our team at Dhwani has been contacted by many NGOs to convert their applications to chatbots since the app needs initial inertia from the end user to download the app, moreover, there are log-in issues which can be avoided altogether. Moreover, messaging platforms like WhatsApp are also making it easier and making platforms easier to use given the demand.
- Resource Management: As more people continue to use digital technology to communicate and search for information, chatbots relieve the pressure of public engagement demands and allow employees to focus on higher-level work.
Here are some different domains where chatbots can be deployed:
- Governance & Public Information: Chatbots implemented by governments can provide citizens with quick access to public data and can help them apply entitlement schemes and get the status of their applications.
- Educational chatbots: Educational chatbots can be deployed as learning assistants. Personalized feedback can be provided to students by chatbots as they track their learning progress. One of the chatbots that Dhwani created was for The Nudge Institute at I helped students throughout the 45 days of the course and helped them in taking baselines and endline assessments as well.
- Sending Health Alerts: Chatbots can be useful in sending out reminders to patients. For example, TB patients must take medicine for 6 months and cannot skip it, and hospitals can track this through chatbots. It can also be used for booking appointments and checking bed availability.
- Chatbots to raise requests: One of the chatbots that Dhwani created recently catered to marginalized employees in the film industry like cameramen, gaffers, assistants, etc. The chatbot helped the beneficiaries end-to-end covering rations, medicines, hospital beds, and information about government schemes as well. This was done in collaboration with Yash Johar Foundation.
We wanted to give a shoutout to https://glific.org/ (Glific is a WhatsApp-based open-source communication platform for NGOs to have conversations with their community) you can look at different case studies on how chatbots have been used to create impact on-ground.
Now that we know that chatbots can be useful for creating social impact it is important to think through a few lines before you go make one.
You might want to ask yourself:
What are some of the most pressing social challenges in your community? To solve these challenges, what information would be useful? How will your target audience interact with you? These questions can be guideposts to the chatbot you want to create.
What costs are involved to create chatbots?
- Configuration cost: The configuration cost involves organizing the needs, based on the needs creating a flow, and finally creating the chatbot. There are various no-code platforms where you can build the conversation flow by dragging and dropping building blocks and creating a sequence.
- Messaging cost: This is the cost incurred at the start of every user-initiated conversation or business-initiated conversation, subsequently there is a cost for messages exchanged in a single conversation.
- Platform Subscription: Different platforms like WhatsApp or Discord also have their subscription which is independent of the users.
The intuitive nature of chatbots paves the way for their deployment in various fields where AI is capable of determining the needs of users through logic and calculations, we are excited about the new brave world that chatbots are letting non-profits explore.