Alli (The AI chatbot) was recently implemented by the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics to quell the questions of the constituents of Oklahoma and to create a more efficient customer service experience. With the legalization of medical marijuana and more registrant licensing, they needed a better way to field the questions and have a self-serve option for citizens to get the information they needed instantly.

We spoke to Special Agent-In-Charge Matt Varney about the immediate benefits he has seen working with Allganize and using Alli.

What was the problem that you were experiencing in Oklahoma and why did you decide to go with Allganize as the solution?

Special Agent Varney: In Oklahoma, any place that stores, maintains, houses, prescribes, or dispenses a controlled substance has to have an open registrant license. Come registration time, they have to renew their licenses. During that period of time, there's always an influx of questions that are asked to our call lines. Legalization of medical marijuana also requires any place that sells, grows, or manufactures medical marijuana to have an OBN registrant license. It significantly increases the number of registrants that OBN has to service, resulting in an increase of calls to our agency. And it created a poor customer experience, because they would be forwarded to our registration people. If registration was available then it would get bounced to someone else and so forth down the line.

Trying to address that problem, there were two avenues that were looked at:

  1. Automated IVR: Automatic call system that would take inbound calls and, based off what their needs were, put callers in a queue where they can remain and didn't get bounced. However, for registrants in the medical industry, often times, they don't have time to sit on hold for long periods of time because they're seeing patients and so forth.
  2. Factbot: So another component that we thought would be an interesting twist would be factbot that would they can log on to our registrant website and use the factbot–research and empower them to find the answers their own question. It may only take 30 seconds to a minute, where as if they stayed on hold, it may be 15, 20, 30, 45 minutes. And so we thought if we had a an AI factbot, that would improve the customer experience for a registrar. And, so it has worked. It has done really well.

There are a lot of different chatbots out there, why did you guys go with Allganize? What was impressive about Allganize?

We looked at three different chatbots:

  1. OMES (Oklahoma Office of Management and Enterprise Services) internal bot,
  2. Google's Googlebot
  3. Allganize's Alli

With the OMES factbot, we decided not to go with them because we were already in the process of migrating all of our applications to vendor based cloud solutions just because we had better customer service.

We would look at the Google bot. We experienced issues from the very demo because if you aren't up to date on the most current version of Google Chrome then it doesn't work. Well, we've got registrants in offices or on a field or in the marijuana industry, they may be on their phones trying to do something that they may not have the latest updated version of Google Chrome.

With Alli, the interface was so easy and seamless and the the learning rate of the dataset that we plugged in for the demo–that was one of the most impressive things that we brought back to leadership after the demo, or it was that Alli had such a short period of time to learn the data set that was uploaded and that she operated flawlessly.

How was the integration and implementation process?

It was great. Part of my role of being The AI seat of the Office of Professional Standard is that I am also over IT and technology. I manage or deal with an excess of thirty other vendors and applications. Whenever we have a project launching, one of the biggest tasks with implementation of a new roll out is the continuous updates and people being accountable for action items and recurring meetings–just making sure things stay on track.

With the implementation of Alli, what was very impressive and refreshing was the the number of Allganize people that were involved, that stay plugged in and ensured the customer success at implementation. It was refreshing. It was absolutely amazing.

So you've been using it since July 1st. How has the experience been?

I haven't heard any hiccups and have only been hearing positive feedback from people that are in it every day that oversee the management of the updating of the knowledge sets that we put in for it to be use and learn.  I know that its use every month has increased and flourished. It served its purpose and then some.

Are there any supplemental benefits you are seeing after implementing Alli?

Yes annually we also have to supervise dispatch or certain metrics and so there are these metrics that we have to complete or submitting the state to show our goals and agent assist metrics.

Prior to the implementation of Alli, the number of questions received by our call center would continuously grow rapidly. This year, whenever we completed the metrics for the State, the numbers were lower. I was asked why the numbers were lower this year.

That was because we had implemented two programs this past year to help empower the person to find information themselves and then also to improve customer service.

  1. An automated call system, they have their needs and they call to get put in a queue.

2. Implementing Alli, the factbot, we also gave them another avenue to answer the question where they don't have to stay on the phone long periods of time. This ability to self serve information lessened the amount of people calling in with questions.

Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics was excelling at customer service and that was a large part due to Alli and its ability to provide channels of information self-service.

‌‌Do you have any advice for people in the public sector who are looking for a tool to help their constituents?

I wanted to make my city feel more empowered. To give my constituents more power. Creating partnerships with companies that you may not have otherwise known about other, rather than accepting this is how things are for your citizen is going to hamper you in the end.