Challenge

Transforming citizen interactions

Public service organisations share a common challenge: meeting the demands of continually evolving citizen expectations. Driven by the accelerating pace of modern life, citizens expect digital services that are user-friendly, responsive and adapt to their needs. Services have to be instantly accessible when and where citizens need them.

Here’s how one local government is rising to the challenge. Just north of Helsinki, Riihimäki is a municipality of nearly 30,000 citizens. It wants to transform how it meets citizens’ needs through innovative technologies that provide better services and outcomes.

Until recently, citizens were only able to speak to the municipality about public services during office hours, not at a time that’s convenient for them. Understanding that they needed to reimagine services with citizens at the heart, the municipality decided that it would use new technology to enable them to engage on their own terms.

Citizens. Know them to serve them.

Riihimäki’s response to meeting citizens’ changing expectations is part of a growing trend. Accenture recently surveyed 5,000 citizens in 5 countries to find out what will make them engage more with digital government.

67%

of citizens consider ease of interaction important to the appeal of favourite apps and want government to make it easier to interact with digital services.

55%

of citizens would increase their use of government digital services if government used AI to offer “24/7, 365 days a year” services and the option to engage with a human when they wanted.

57%

of citizens would increase their use of government digital services if government used AI to provide more accurate, useful information.

Strategy and solution

A new one-stop-shop for municipal services

Riihimäki partnered with Accenture and boost.ai, a Norwegian start-up that specialises in AI-powered messaging, to develop a virtual assistant—Municipality Kate. Not just any chatbot, Municipality Kate is able to help citizens with most of the municipality’s service portfolio, covering more than 1200 topics, through an omni-channel experience and using natural language processing to understand citizens’ questions.

Intelligent insights

Applying advanced analytics to the data collected, cities can understand in real time what citizens want and continuously evolve to meet demands.

Adaptable and scalable architecture

Uses “AI-as-a-Service,” enabling true plug and play capabilities that can be implemented fast and scaled across multiple channels.

Continuous learning

The scope of the service is constantly growing as new types of AI-enabled continuous development processes are created.

Always-on

Built using natural language processing and advanced machine learning, the service is accessible 24/7 so citizens can get answers whenever they need.

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Design for life

The municipality of Riihimäki was clear that the starting point for transforming its services must be the citizen and meeting their needs. By taking a human-centric approach it was able to understand how citizens experience services and how technology can enable the best outcomes. For example, Municipality Kate understands questions asked in citizens’ day-to-day language, which it then translates to the municipality’s back-office structure, rather than expecting citizens to alter the way they speak or write to be understood. Advanced technologies, combined with a data-driven mindset, can help government agencies reinvent themselves as efficient and intelligent enterprises that deliver improved outcomes for citizens.

"For me, the most exciting thing about Municipality Kate is where it will take us next. In the future we will be able to keep up with the demands of modern life and deliver the best outcomes for our citizens."

— Mia Miettinen, Communications and Marketing Manager, City of Riihimäki, Finland

Transformation

Reinventing the citizen experience

Municipality Kate enables the city of Riihimäki to interact with its citizens 24/7 and has streamlined a number of previously time-consuming processes. In getting Municipality Kate live, Riihimäki’s different departments needed to collaborate to ensure a holistic service for citizens, meaning some departmental boundaries were broken down for the first time. It has helped to make municipal decision-making processes more aligned with what citizens really want, as more information about their needs is available than ever before.

Riihimäki’s citizens have responded positively to the new service, taking advantage of the ability to have conversations around the clock, with peak usage taking place in the evenings from six to nine and in the mornings before office hours. New platforms like Municipality Kate will help citizens engage and conduct business with municipalities faster, with greater convenience, more accuracy and far more efficiency than ever before.

Meet the team

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