The town of Knoxville, Tenn., for several years maintained a web site, a get in touch with heart and social media pages to preserve its close to one hundred ninety,000 inhabitants informed about the city’s social solutions and variations to town guidelines.

Yet, with the 2020 U.S. census, moreover the novel coronavirus sweeping through the state, the town desired one more instrument to get up-to-day information swiftly to its inhabitants. So, the town created and deployed a net and SMS chatbot.

The chatbot, created with software program and text messaging technologies from client engagement vendor Quiq, can response essential questions about the coronavirus. That incorporates information on what COVID-19, the ailment triggered by the coronavirus, is how it spreads endeavours inhabitants can choose to remain safe and endeavours the town is having to aid gradual the unfold of COVID-19. Customers can interact with it on the town of Knoxville’s web site, or through text messages.

The chatbot also delivers information on the 2020 U.S. census, as well as the city’s social solutions, claimed Russ Jensen, director of 311 and 211 for the town of Knoxville. Citizens can get in touch with both equally 311 and 211 for information about neighborhood government solutions.

SMS chatbot, coronavirus, Knoxville, Quiq
The town of Knoxville, Tenn., deployed a chatbot from vendor Quiq to give inhabitants information about the coronavirus.

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Placing up

It took about two months for Quiq to develop a net and SMS bot, Jensen claimed. Originally, the bot was meant to just handle questions on the 2020 census, but the rapid unfold of COVID-19 prompted the town to add information about the coronavirus.

If the net and SMS chatbot only experienced to give information on the census, it would have taken a day or two to develop. The everchanging circumstance with the coronavirus, even so, included about two months to the develop.

Jensen also ran into a issue with integrating the Quiq chatbot platform with the city’s web site, a issue that he conceded was the city’s, not the vendor’s. Though he declined to elaborate on the glitch, he observed that the issue was mounted when the city’s webmaster established a dedicated website page for the net chatbot on the city’s internet site.

In addition to those people challenges, the bot was quick to established up, Jensen claimed. A 7 days or so just after it was up and working, he and his workforce included new information to the net and SMS chatbot about the city’s social solutions. Jensen claimed he was in a position to effortlessly do that himself.

“If I can established some of this things up pretty much any individual can do it,” he claimed with a chuckle.

If we experienced to, we could go total-on chat ability.
Russ JensenDirector of 311 and 211, town of Knoxville

For Jensen, the net and SMS chatbot provides some assurance that the town get in touch with heart can remain open up even with workforce unable to get the job done in the central business. At present, workforce are even now performing from the business. Stepped-up endeavours to limit the unfold of the coronavirus, even so, could shut down the business and prohibit employees’ potential to handle phone calls.

“If we experienced to, we could go total-on chat ability,” Jensen claimed.

Total automation wouldn’t be suitable, for the reason that senior citizens could have issues working with the bots, and some persons, significantly those people who are panicked, would somewhat speak to a human over the cell phone. Nevertheless, the chatbot platform is “a security web,” Jensen claimed.

Even when the pandemic has subsided, Jensen claimed Knoxville will proceed working with the Quiq chatbots.

The bot platform, he claimed, has “turned out to be even far more valuable than we almost certainly imagined it would be.” The town will preserve working with it to give inhabitants with information on social solutions and will update it with new information as new predicaments crop up.

Jensen also designs to integrate the chatbots with Fb Messenger.

The bot has been employed over five hundred periods so significantly with no issues, Jensen claimed. Customers can answer to the SMS bot at their convenience, texting it when they are in a position to.


The coronavirus has sparked a new wave of AI and RPA adoption among enterprises, as the virus has forced enterprises to contract, direct their workforce to get the job done remotely or lay off personnel.

According to Quiq CEO Mike Myer, the pandemic has introduced in a wave of new business to Quiq, as well as requests from current clients for expanded systems.

“We are on fire,” Myer claimed. “We’ve almost certainly seen far more activity in the very last three months than we have seen in the very last three months.”

The pandemic will possible alter the entire world in the extensive term, he claimed. It will transfer far more enterprises away from get in touch with centers and into chatbots and conversational AIs.

“I imagine there will be a very little bit of a reversion back again to the place matters have been” after the pandemic has handed, Myer claimed. But, he included, that will not likely negate the spectacular inroads into enterprises, no matter whether public or personal, that chatbots will have built in the course of this time.