NASCIO Issues Brief on Chatbots in the Era of COVID-19 as State Use Nears Seventy-Five Percent

LEXINGTON, KY., Wednesday, June 24, 2020 — Today, the National Association of State Chief Information Officer’s (NASCIO) released Chat with Us: How States are Using Chatbots to Respond to the Demands of COVID-19. The brief reports that around three-quarters of states are deploying chatbots (virtual agents) to assist with questions on unemployment insurance, general COVID-19 questions or for other state agencies that may be receiving unusually high traffic due to the pandemic. Research into state use of chatbots was conducted by NASCIO staff in the spring of 2020.

As the report notes, CIOs knew that chatbots and other robotic process automation tools were important but were searching for the right business case for use. The COVID-19 pandemic has provided that business case and has aided states in responding to surges in online inquiries and transactions. State chatbots have responded to millions of citizen questions and continue to learn and build on the existing state knowledge base.

The brief also includes specific use cases from states and links to current state chatbots. The publication may be found on NASCIO’s website:  

Meredith Ward
Director of Policy and Research
National Association of State Chief Information Officers