How the Teaching Council of Aotearoa New Zealand automates answering more than 4,500 queries/month

How the Teaching Council of Aotearoa New Zealand automates answering more than 4,500 queries/month

Facing a backlog of unresolved cases, the Teaching Council of Aotearoa New Zealand rolled out FAQ Bot to answer their teacher members' questions more quickly.

Responding to a case backlog

When you're a large professional body, you’ll be using support tools such as a member portal, CRM, and contact centre. But what happens when, despite having these tools, the backlog in unresolved cases blows out? This was the reality facing the Teaching Council.

The Teaching Council is the professional body representing 150,000 early childhood, primary and secondary education teachers. With the contact centre often understaffed due to Covid-19, the volume of unresolved cases increased steadily.

Susan Fogarty, Communications and Advice Manager at the Teaching Council, was tasked with solving this problem. Before the pandemic, Susan planned to roll out a chatbot solution to support teachers who had queries outside of standard business hours and on weekends. However, the pandemic accelerated her plans.

Teaching a little bird new tricks

The project's objective was to help teachers access the information they need via an automated chat solution that's easy to manage, monitor, and maintain. Other goals included integrating with existing systems and surfacing information teachers were struggling to find on the website.

The project had three phases:

1.       Phase 1 focused on identifying the anticipated benefits to the Teaching Council and its teachers and building a direct prototype comparison between FAQ Bot and another automation provider. As a result, FAQ Bot was selected as it was easier to train the knowledge base with AI-powered natural language processing available from the start.

2.       Phase 2 focused on rolling out FAQ Bot. This involved identity and design work for the chatbot, building the knowledge base, monitoring, and internal training. This phase also included a simple integration between the chatbot and Salesforce. When contact forms are filled out inside the chatbot a case is automatically created in Salesforce. During this stage, the Teaching Council’s chatbot 'Miromiro' (a native New Zealand bird) went live.

3.       Phase 3 is currently underway. It will integrate 'Miromiro' further with the Salesforce platform so that teachers can check the status of their applications via chat once they've passed the appropriate security checks.

“Integrating our existing business systems is vital for any Teaching Council digital project. This means we can future-proof our investment. And of course, answer our members' questions on their preferred channel at their preferred time." Susan Fogarty, Communications and Advice Manager, Teaching Council of Aotearoa New Zealand.

Susan is committed to creating an engaging and relevant chatbot that teachers will want to interact with. She updates the welcome greeting daily (an easy, two-minute job). The greeting highlights events or reminds teachers how to access valuable resources and campaigns. Refreshing content this way is quicker than making changes to their website and keeps 'Miromiro' top of mind and gives teachers easier access to information they need.

Automated chat with a big impact

'Miromiro', the chatbot, is hugely beneficial to the organisation and teachers, as it answers over 4,500 queries successfully each month. Common questions like "How do I download my practicing certificate?" (asked over 1,500 times to date) and "how do I reset my education sector login?" (asked over 2,500 times to date) get instant, helpful, automated answers day and night.

Having the more straightforward queries managed directly by 'Miromiro' is freeing up contact centre staff for complex questions and making a huge dent in the backlog of cases. Susan anticipates that 'Miromiro' is on track to answer even more queries each month with ongoing training and the completion of the deeper Salesforce integration.

“Using FAQ Bot, we are absolutely using the best solution for our needs. The results speak for themselves - answering 4,500+ queries from teachers without them having to wait on hold during their busy day is huge. It's a sign we're using a solution that some teachers are happy to embrace. It meets our goal to provide a better service to all teachers, so they can also ask questions 24/7, so not just during the 9 to 5 hours of the call centre. It's a win-win!” Susan Fogarty, Communications and Advice Manager, Teaching Council of Aotearoa New Zealand.