Version 1 was delighted to be awarded a contract through a competitive procurement process for the development of a customer support chatbot solution with Ordnance Survey for the public-facing website in late 2020.

Ordnance Survey (OS), the national mapping agency for Great Britain, provides the most accurate and up-to-date geographic data relied on by government, business and individuals. OS has been mapping Great Britain since 1791, transforming the way in which we navigate with both paper and digital maps, and inspiring people to discover new places and adventures. Launched in 2015, the OS Maps app offers digital versions of OS Explorer and OS Landranger maps for the whole of the Great Britain. Today, OS Maps has more than 3.5 million users providing access to a range of features including 3D mapping, augmented reality tools and over 4 million routes covering 30 million miles.

Increase in Demand from the Public

In 2020, OS saw a significant spike in traffic to the website and queries through their customer support chat as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. With many people walking outdoors during the lockdown, there was a clear trend with the higher number of website visitors using OS products. This increased traffic resulted in additional contact into the Contact Centre.

Many of these queries were coming in after office hours between 5-8pm and integrating a chatbot into the support process would be an effective way to provide useful information in response to general questions when customer support wasn’t available. It could also ease pressure on resources by handling simpler queries. As a customer-focused organisation, OS made the decision to proceed with the customer support chatbot solution offered by Version 1 to serve their customers as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Rapid Delivery

Version 1 engaged with OS in October 2020 and over the course of a 10-week period, developed a customer support chatbot solution using the Microsoft Bot Framework. This bot was integrated into OS’s pre-existing Live Chat product on their customer-facing website as a ‘Bot Agent’ that would work alongside the ‘Human Agents’. While the Bot would answer straightforward queries, the more complex enquiries would still be handled by a customer service individual where required, this design enabled a route out of the Bot if a customer needed more support.

Successful Go-Live

The solution went live in early December of 2020 and has successfully assisted customers with resolving their queries and helping them with their purchases. This customer services team have been supported during a busy period, and new and additional capabilities have been identified for the next iteration of what will become the Ordnance Survey Virtual Assistant.

Real Results

The initial aim of this project for Phase 1 was to reduce the increased overhead of responding to common queries for Ordnance Survey by 30% and facilitate a 24/7 support capability. Ultimately, the solution managed to surpass expectations handling 38% of incoming queries, saving significant time for customer support employees and providing round-the-clock support for customers.

2020 was a highly significant year for the use of bots across all industries. According to MIT Technology Review, 90% of businesses noticed faster complaint resolutions, and CX Network reported that 53% of companies identified AI as a tool for creating a ‘customer-first culture’. Version 1 believes that there is great potential for our customers to utilise this technology to provide an enhanced customer and staff experience.

Enda Diggins, Head of Digital and Cloud Services, UK, Version 1 shared:

Version 1 was delighted to partner with Ordnance Survey to deliver a customer support chatbot solution that would increase efficiency, reduce overheads and provide a 24/7 support facility to its website visitors. This innovative approach to customer support demonstrates OS’s commitment to providing a world-class service to their customers. This collaboration between Version 1 and OS marks another milestone in Version 1’s rapid growth across the UK Public Sector and our demonstrable success in Digital Government, Public Sector Digital Transformation, Government Cloud and Application Modernisation programmes. We look forward to bringing our skills and expertise around AI, Machine Learning and Chatbots to more public sector organisations to close the digital divide between citizens and organisations from local councils to government departments.

Kim Hadley, Customer Experience Manager, Ordnance Survey said:

It’s important that our customers are able to use our products to their full potential, and OS is continually seeking new and relevant ways to improve the customer experience. The brand has a strong reputation for being innovative, using technology to offer solutions and improve ways of working. With this new partnership, we’re able to provide useful information and respond to queries quickly at any given hour, enabling our customer service team to have more time to deal with the more complex enquiries.