The Voicebot

by | 23 August 2019

Reading time: 4 minutes

Get answers to your questions through speech technology
The Voicebot is a Google Action that runs on the Google Assistant, to answer the most frequently asked general questions about the AOW. We used this voicebot, in the form of a prototype, to test whether this new channel can meet the needs of the customer.

Status: Completed

The test version of the voicebot for AOW is an experiment by Novum and ANBO. We have tested this prototype with a number of customers.

Why actually?

Developments in the field of speech technology are going very fast. There are several providers, but in the Netherlands only the Google Assistant is available in Dutch. Research by Project Zilver shows that senior citizens can handle speech technology and that this brings extra user-friendliness to daily life. Answers can be given to questions and requests through speech. We have done this test to test whether this is also possible for questions about the state pension.
Some advantages of a voicebot compared to personal contact:

  • You can talk to it and you don't need your hands on it
  • A voicebot is available 24/7.
  • You will receive an immediate answer so there are no waiting times.
  • What is and what is not?

We have made a prototype to be able to do a test in a loose environment. We did the test through a Google Home, where our Voicebot, a Google Action via the Google Assistant, was running. These answered questions about the state pension, how you can apply for this and from what age you receive your state pension. We have not included any questions about, for example, the AIO, Child Benefit or Anw benefit. We have chosen not to make the project too large. We first wanted to experiment and see if we can meet the needs of the customer.

We learned a lot from this experiment and we shared all the data with the SVB.

Key insights

The most important thing we have learned is that making a voicebot is not difficult. Getting the right content for this has proved difficult. This content must meet other requirements than previously known. Using 1 on 1 content from the website was therefore not possible, even though it was technically possible.

In addition, our tests showed that speech technology is still very young and not widely known. Because of this, people had to get used to it. In many cases requesting information was faster via a laptop.

Next steps

Our test showed that calling a separate Voicebot is very difficult and illogical, especially if you do not know to whom you should ask questions if there are multiple providers. After all, you simply want to ask a question: "how do I get AOW?"

During our experiment we have seen that adjusting this website's technology for now is enough to get answers through a Digital voice assistant. Here we will help the SVB and other websites of the Dutch government through a standard solution that is still to be developed.

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