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Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Find information about community support and our services during the coronavirus pandemic, on our information for residents pages, our information for businesses pages, and our community support hub page which has guidance to help coordinate community organisations.

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West Berkshire Council launches Advice Bot to answer Coronavirus (Covid-19) questions online

Advice Bot now live on West Berkshire Council website to handle popular Council related queries

Chat Advice Bot introduction

West Berkshire Council have worked with their partners, We Build Bots Ltd (WBB), to develop an Advice Bot which will answer questions and signpost visitors on our website to the latest information they need relating specifically to the current Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

West Berkshire Council has been working with WBB for a number of months to develop a sophisticated AI Advice Bot which will handle a number of popular Council related requests, for example, missed bin collections or green waste. In this time of emergency we were able to take advantage of this relationship to quickly develop a Chat Bot solely related to Coronavirus (Covid-19) information with the aim of easing pressure on our busy contact centre.

Howard Woollaston, Executive Council Member for Internal Governance at West Berkshire Council, said:

"We are pleased that our basic text based Advice Bot is available to help answer questions that our residents and business may have during this unprecedented time. We want to be able to answer the influx of queries to the customer services team as quickly as possible and now we can. There are queries, often complex, that are best suited by talking to a human, but for those simpler jobs let's use the Advice Bot.

"The Advice Bot will give users a series of options to choose from that takes them directly to the information. At the moment the Advice Bot will concentrate on signposting users to update them on Council services that are affected from the Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic along with directing residents and businesses to our dedicated advice and guidance pages.

"The Advice Bot is another way to get in touch with the Council and over the next few weeks we will developing the Advice Bot to make it more intelligent and better able to handle more complicated questions." 

The Advice Bot will be live on our website from 14 April 2020 and is available using the purple bot icon on the bottom right hand corner of your screen that appears on every single page of the website.