Chatbot assistant launches on council website

SARA chatbot

Visitors to the council website will have the chance to interact with its new chatbot, SARA.

The Slough Automated Resource Assistant (SARA) is currently set up to help with queries about environmental services, such as bins, waste and recycling, as well as school admissions and council tax. 

The bot pops up on each page to offer assistance, with the aim to reduce the need to call the customer contact centre for queries which could easily be resolved online first. 

Councillor Mabu Shaik, lead member for I.T, customer services, revenue and benefits, procurement and performance, said: “This is another step in providing a seamless digital service to residents. The chatbot will provide quick, concise and accurate solutions and answers to queries. 

“It will also encourage residents to sign up for self service portals including Slough Self Service Portal and the Education Self Service Portal, so they can access their information independently.

“I encourage residents to give it a try if they have a question about environmental services, school admissions or council tax. We will be monitoring how well it works and will potentially look to extend the number of topics it can assist with.”

Using the chatbot means residents can get answers to their questions 24 hours a day, seven days a week and it can be changed into different languages. 

By capturing information about what the resident needs, the chatbot can provide more personalised assistance which will lead to a more effective response. 

SARA was launched on on Wednesday 8 May.

Published: 10 May 2024