A digital assistant to help a city reduce waste

The City of Edmonton set a goal to stop 90% of single-use residential waste from reaching landfill. To help reach this goal, they wanted residents to sort their waste before disposal. The city made a new sorting system, changed collections and gave residents new bins.

The city needed to share these changes with residents, then answer all the questions that came with them. We were tasked with finding a solution that would take pressure off staff and help residents understand the new system.

Results

  • A powerful digital assistant that answers queries via web chat and telephone
  • Clarified and structured content enabling the assistant to source information for future requests
  • Introduction of a headless CMS for structured content, setting up a 'create once, publish everywhere' style of content management and governance

Our methods

We analyzed existing communication channels to learn how city residents sought information. This included phone lines, email and even social media. For such a diverse audience, the solution needed to work across channels. We chose Google's conversational design platform, Dialogflow, to create Eddy: Edmonton's digital assistant. To set the City up for success, our content strategists structured information on the city’s website to make it easy for the assistant to learn.

What happened next?

Today, the digital assistant is successfully answering enquiries about waste. Tomorrow, Eddy could be taking on pothole reporting or payment options.

Building on a successful relationship since 2008, we continue to work with the City of Edmonton, ensuring its residents have the information they need to thrive in the city.