It’s me, Tandi. Say “Hi Tandi” to get started

Chatbots are the newest stars of instant messaging. For the first time ever, people are starting to use messenger apps more than they are using social media networks. So, it comes as no surprise that businesses are utilising this cost-effective, new opportunity in order to engage with their consumers.

Just like any other consumer industry, the aged care industry is centred on customer service.  As the population ages, demand for aged care is growing rapidly. The proportion of Australians aged 65+ is expected to grow from 15% of the population today to 18% in 2027, and the ratio of workers to retirees will increase to 2.7 by 2055, so pressure on the aged care market is only going to increase.

Hence, aged care organisations will need to find a way to cope with this influx of demand for their services.

How do chatbots work?

A chatbot is a computer program which users interact with via a chat interface online. It is powered by rules and often mimics conversation with people using Artificial Intelligence (AI). They can host a range of services from scheduling appointments to streamlining customer service roles. The bots integrate into websites and applications, so everything can be organised through the one platform.

The buzz around chatbots and AI is two-fold. On the one hand, the way in which automation can disrupt and help transcend an industry is enormously value-adding but on the other hand, our modern-day workforce feel the adverse implications of such technologies and are in many cases, made redundant.

Using sophisticated algorithms that can mimic certain human functions, the inevitable chatbot and AI revolution heralds countless applications to improve products and services. Some reports have indicated that technology will replace 40% of Australia’s jobs by 2030 and frontline service jobs are one of the most likely business-use cases.

As workforce costs continue rising, operators who leverage powerful AI technologies stand to benefit from a more lean and empowered business model.

Tandi is a contextual chatbot simulating a general customer service role for a fictitious aged care service provider called ‘Hope Care’.

Introducing Tandi

“Tandi” is a portmanteau meaning ‘technology + innovation’ and was the name given to Bentleys’ virtual assistant that was developed in-house.  Tandi is a contextual chatbot designed to simulate customer service roles, navigate online conversations, and ultimately built for the purpose of conveying context specific content.  In this example, Tandi simulates a general customer service role for a fictitious aged care service provider called ‘HopeCare’. You can ask questions like:

  • Tell me about Hope Care?
  • What are home care packages?
  • Is Hope Care an approved provider?
  • Why should I choose Hope Care?
  • Can I combine funding packages and private services?
  • What government subsidies are available?

The technology uses Natural Language Processing (NLP), an area of computer science and artificial intelligence concerned with interactions between computers and natural human languages. This AI technology can be programmed to respond to common questions with standardised scripts that intuitively guide conversation.

In addition to its many client-facing applications, chatbots present an internal opportunity for organisations to enhance employee productivity. It can be developed as a knowledge management system and be leveraged as a training tool to assist workers in a combined workforce environment.

Tandi was developed in response to the growing concerns around workforce training and management costs. The chatbot can be designed in a way that a uniform message is provided to customers at a fraction of the time and cost it might otherwise require whilst reducing user errors of admin staff as more processes will be guided by rule sets.

Integrating research-based design principles, customer engagement expertise, and a handy dose of content-writing, chatbots like Tandi will act as a workforce plug-in to compliment agile workers and their use of knowledge management systems.

Note: If you experience any technical issues interacting with Tandi, you can let us know at [email protected]

Any sufficiently advanced technology is no different from magic.

Sir Arthur C. Clarke

The Aged Care landscape

While the aged care industry has a generally-low technological base, over the past five years a growing number of operators have invested in new IT platforms to improve operational efficiencies in staff rostering and fiscal management.

In the aged care industry’s consumer-driven model, the consumer now has more choice and flexibility than ever before. The government’s ‘ageing in place’ principles (which allow people to live in their residence of choice for as long as possible) encourages innovation within the industry and in a market controlled by the customer, aged care providers need to become more agile and responsive to market forces, while carefully managing financial resources.

All in all, the crux of utilising chatbots for customer service is the continued learning that enables them to leverage relevant data to accurately connect with customers and augment the role of people. According to Gartner, over 85% of customer interactions will be handled by an automated customer service channel by 2020.