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How chatbots can improve local governance

A couple of years ago, I needed to get my car registration renewed. I had no idea what documents I ne
How chatbots can improve local governance
By Ish from Tars • Issue #51 • View online
A couple of years ago, I needed to get my car registration renewed. I had no idea what documents I needed to submit and what forms I had to fill out. Not wanting to set foot in the cesspool that is my local DMV, I did what any sane human being would do. 
I googled the answer. 
The first link that came up was the DMV website! 
“Amazing!” I thought to myself. “A quick answer directly from the horse’s mouth!”

The website made no sense. It said one set of requirements in one place, another in another place and before I knew it I was on a pdf explaining how to properly crash into a moose.
Getting frustrated with my search, I decided to call up the DMV to get my doubt cleared up. The person handling my call was pleasant enough to speak with, but she was clearly overworked. I could hear the tiredness in her voice and I was fairly certain she was handling multiple calls at once.
About 45 minutes later, I had my fairly basic queries answered, and I felt confident in my ability to re-register my car. But the whole experience got me thinking. 
Could there be a better way for local government offices like my DMV to answer such queries? 
Apparently the answer is a resounding YES
The Montana State Government uses an army of Tars chatbots to efficiently handle the basic queries of thousands of its citizens. In the first five months of their usage, the bots reduced the number of calls the DMV received by 1700 per month. In fact the initiative has been so successful that it has received a lot of press attention in the GovTech space
We have been so impressed by the performance of these bots that we wrote a piece about them ourselves. Check it out below :
How Chatbots can make Government Agencies provide amazing Customer Experience
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Ish from Tars

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