HKFSD Success Story
The Hong Kong Fire Services Department implemented WhatsApp chatbots intended to accelerate and process large-scale quarantine facility applications in a short time.
handled case submission from patients
generated chat automation messages direct manner for Hong Kong citizens to apply for quarantine facilities without a long waiting time
Reduce average response time
Reduce lead time to send a confirmed applicant to quarantine facilities
Name: Hong Kong Fire Services Department
Industry: Emergency Service
Function: WhatsApp chatbot
Platform: WhatsApp Business Platform
The Hong Kong Fire Services Department is an emergency service responsible for firefighting and rescue on land and sea. It also provides an emergency ambulance service for the sick and the injured and gives fire protection advice to the public. It is under the Secretary for Security who heads the Security Bureau.
Positive cases of Covid-19 pandemic overload quarantine application system
The Covid pandemic has brought a great burden to the Hong Kong government as well as its residents. Thousands of daily positive cases from the Covid epidemic overloaded the quarantine application system. During the pandemic, the HK government exposed the lack of resources available to control a widespread illness epidemic.
As one of the public service agencies, HKFSD was among the pioneers to respond with digitization, establishing the government’s first-ever WhatsApp chatbot to assist with quarantine facility registration.
Pioneering digitalization to meet the volume of quarantine facilities
HKFSD cooperated with Sanuker to build a chatbot on WhatsApp which is the most popular messaging app in Hong Kong. By entering a WhatsApp number or link, users must choose a language and complete 11 screening questions to categorize their cases according to their urgency. The chatbot will also automatically verify the applicants’ information, such as the entered phone number, HKID card number, and date of positive result in the right format. The submitted entry will be shared to HKFSD through automatic email at a preset time interval with details to follow up; cross-checking duplicated entries across platforms (WhatsApp, WeChat, and email) is also enabled.
As a WhatsApp Business Platform solution provider, Sanuker obtained a verification mark for the WhatsApp Business Platform account of the Hong Kong Fire Services Department, marking it as an official WhatsApp account, allowing users to increase their trust and feel at ease to fill in their personal information to submit an application. With the verification mark, it also works for users who don’t have the number added to their contact list.
Within the first two weeks of launch, HKFSD handled over 10,000 inquiries in less than 24 hours which reduced costs and high workloads for the customer service team during the peak of the pandemic. The HKFSD WhatsApp chatbot served 7.3K users, processed over 10K case submissions, and created 151K messages between Mar. 15 and Mar. 31. Sanuker also launched the WhatsApp Business Platform, which has no limit on the number of supporting agents, allowing HKFSD to alter the size of the supporting team as needed. There is zero downtime required to switch from the old WhatsApp Business App number to the new WhatsApp Business Platform number by setting up auto-reply messages.
A user will be more satisfied when their question is resolved in a quicker way. The innovative and interactive message features can enhance customer experience and application efficiency. Button is one of the exclusive message features of the WhatsApp Business Platform. In HKFSD WhatsApp chatbot, buttons are used in questions with standard answers (e.g. gender and testing method) , making it more user-friendly and saving users’ time in entering the information. Phone conversations are uncomfortable and time-consuming for most individuals, while obtaining an email response might take several days. But only using chatbot, it can help 24/7 with real-time responses regardless of the amount of customers asking at the same time. Additionally, the HKFSD WhatsApp chatbot can serve as a successful model for other government entities in Hong Kong and around the world to use WhatsApp to address the worldwide pandemic issue.
WhatsApp chatbot helps Hong Kong government ease Covid pandemic
Within the first two weeks of launch, HKFSD handled over 10,000 inquiries in less than 24 hours:
- The HKFSD WhatsApp chatbot served 7.3K users, processed over 10K case submissions, and created 151K messages between Mar. 15 and Mar. 31.
- The response time is lowered from 1-2 days to 30 minutes, and the lead time to deliver a verified applicant to quarantine facilities is decreased from 5 days to 3 hours.
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