Chatbots Improving Government
Currently, if you want to talk to your government representatives to, share your concerns and explain your views, you have a couple options: going to their office, attending a townhall, going to a fundraising event or sending them an email.
Recently, Beto O’Rourke, a presidential candidate for the 2020 election, launched an exciting/zealous campaign called, Beto O’ Rourke’s Townhall for America, in which he encouraged Americans to submit questions, promising a direct response. We submitted one 3 weeks ago, but are still waiting for a response. We’re wondering if we will receive one at all?
As much as our representatives would like to have these conversations and really listen to their constituents, it is physically impossible for most representatives to be so many places at once, or hear as many stories as she/he would like. A member of the House of Representatives on average represents the thoughts, hopes, and dreams of 700,000+ people.
There is one candidate that is going above and beyond to reach to her constituents, Elizabeth Guzman of Virginia. She has run 16 in-person events just this year (compare this to my representative’s 6 events in over 12 months), goes door-to-door on the weekends, and also launched a chatbot to gain better insight from her constituents. Elizabeth wanted to know about the issues that affected her communities;more importantly, she wanted to understand the strategies to solve those issues which were most supported by her constituents.
For example, if one of her constituents said they worried about boosting the economy, she proposed 3 strategies that may help, including: increasing the minimum wage, investing in higher education, eliminating sales tax, investing in infrastructure, or allowing her constituents to write-in their own strategies.
If one of her constituents chose increasing the minimum wage, she not only noted this, but also captured the amount that they thought was a livable wage in their community.
An open dialogue with your representatives is key to creating transparency from community to representative, and also allows for accountability. If a community’s needs are not only well communicated, but also documented, then it is easier for them to hold their government accountable for taking action.
Using chatbots and conversational marketing is a powerful tactic for businesses, but can also be leveraged by the public sector to gain better insight into the true needs and opinions of the very diverse communities that they are meant to govern. Townhalls are wonderful, but they are limited, and many people have work and families that preclude them from attending or having these meaningful discussions. Right now much of this valuable insight from people who live in their communities is going straight into an abyss.
Chatbots allow for representatives to “hear” constituent needs and have 1-on-1 personalized conversations to explain their agendas and legislative policies. Right now, only a few pioneers in the public sector are taking advantage of this—like Elizabeth Guzman.
Beto O’ Rourke’s Townhall for America could drastically change if he leveraged chatbots, both to answer common questions (e.g. education agenda, how he would reform the criminal justice system, etc.) immediately and to directly hear from his constituents in a conversational format. (We’d even do it for free! Take us up on it Beto!)
As the 2020 elections heat up, we would love to profile other government strategies that effectively use chatbots and conversational marketing. Send them our way to firstname.lastname@example.org