The first local government chatbot in Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina based on artificial intelligence enabled almost 80,000 citizens of Sombor, Šabac, Bijeljina and Laktaši to get the desired services without going to the counters of the city administration. They had 142,000 conversations with the chatbot in just over a year.
The digital assistant MIA (Municipal Intelligent Assistant) provides faster answers and saves time and money for citizens, which is why other state and local services should also introduce chatbots in the work of their administration. This was announced at the final session of the project "Improvement of municipal services in Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina", which was carried out by GIZ and company Saga, in cooperation with NALED and PKRS, within the develoPPP program of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).
- At the beginning, MIA was only a provider of important information. This slowly changed in October 2022, when, for the first time, all four local governments enabled citizens an opportunity to order certificates from registers and citizenship via chatbot, and have them delivered to their home address, as well as to report a communal problem. After that, the number of conversations and users increased 10 times. Reporting utility problems proved to be the most popular service, with 298 reports in three months, and in the same period, 181 requests for issuing certificates were submitted - said Ana Ilić, Good Governance Director in NALED.
At the end of the project, the newest service that was introduced is scheduling an appointment for a wedding in Šabac, where future newlyweds can now send the necessary information to the registrar via Viber, so that everything will be ready for them when they come to the registry office. Also, in Šabac and Sombor, businesses and investors can find out everything about developing their business in the city, along with incentives, taxes and fees.
- In order to be able to take full advantage of all benefits brought by innovative digital solutions, the public, civil and private sectors should work together. That is why GIZ supported this project, together with Saga, which developed a chatbot platform and with the active participation of local governments. Given that citizens are not the only ones seeking the improvement of municipal services, the project is implemented in cooperation with the regional Business Friendly Environment Network, in order to offer efficient services to legal entities, companies and the wider business community - said Amira Omanović, Project Manager at GIZ.
The biggest advantage of a chatbot is its availability to citizens 24 hours a day, seven days a week, through well-known communication channels - Viber, Facebook and portals of city administrations. Thanks to artificial intelligence, the chatbot constantly improves its knowledge, every conversation is remembered and used to practice better answers.
- These initiatives prove the usefulness of applying artificial intelligence and bring it closer to citizens. Also, we are proud that our product will make it easier for citizens to perform administrative tasks and digitize processes that previously required paperwork and waiting in lines - concluded Milen Janjić, Director of Intellya - Saga NFG.
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