Chat with Us: How States are Using Chatbots to Respond to the Demands of COVID-19
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit the United States in March 2020, states experienced unprecedented surges in online inquiries and transactions. Many digital services and call centers supporting government services were overwhelmed. Citizens were frustrated and the states needed to respond quickly with new approaches. Automation, in the form of chatbots, was quickly developed and deployed to supplement existing human resources. NASCIO research estimates that today around three-quarters of states are deploying chatbots 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. These chatbots have responded to millions of citizen questions and continue to learn and build on the existing knowledge base. This publication includes state examples, predictions for the future and links to state chatbots.