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TfL jumps aboard the chatbot revolution

TfL jumps aboard the chatbot revolution

Transport for London has become the latest organisation to embrace the chatbot revolution with the launch of its very own TravelBot to field customer service queries sent via social media.

The AI powered social media tool will free up staff to focus on other matters by engaging in timetabling conversations with prospective travellers on Facebook Messenger, where it will offer service updates, relay bus departure and arrival times, and provide travel maps.

For the service to work passengers must share their location or tap in a unique bus stop identifier for TravelBot to do its job, although if it finds itself flummoxed by a particularly esoteric question it can raise the conversation for the attention of a human customer service agent.

Shashi Verma, TfL's director of customer experience, said: "Millions of people already use our Journey Planner and social media channels to help them get around London, and we are constantly seeking new ways to make the process even easier. This TravelBot will make it simpler for people using Messenger to get the information they need as they move around the city.

"We think that this initial version will be a major step forward in how we provide travel information to our customers and we look forward to their feedback to help us improve the product over time."

The launch version of the chatbot will be subject to a process of continual evolution to learn from its mistakes and produce ever more accurate responses.

Chatbots, at times referred to as the next frontier for brand and consumer conversations, have become the go to solution of choice for businesses such as Adidas and Pizza Express.

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John Glenday

John Glenday is responsible for compiling The Drum's daily morning bulletin and ensuring that overnight breaking news is covered while you're still brushing your teeth. Can also make a mean cup of tea.

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