RSPCA to increase use of chatbots as part of digital transformation plans

The RSPCA is to increase its use of artificial intelligence (AI) powered chatbots as it looks to transform its customer service operations.

The animal charity has signed an eight-year contract extension with existing partner Capita to use data analytics and artificial intelligence to boost its web chat and other online advice.

The aim is to improve the quality of advice it offers, allowing for better prioritisation of cases, said the charity.

“This will enable members of the public to report cases themselves without unnecessarily having to converse with” advisers, it added.

Improvements to the charity’s digital operations were a focus of its 2021- 2030 strategy.

Currently Capita runs the charity’s National Control Centre in South Yorkshire, which employs around 150 people and receives more than a million calls a year.

“Our National Control Centre relays important information from the public to our frontline rescue teams,” said RSPCA chief operating officer John Kerslake.

“They can’t reach animals that need our help without this vital function. Capita knows us well and have listened carefully to the requirements we need moving forward to help us provide the best possible outcomes for animals.”

Capita Experience chief executive officer Aimie Chapple added: “At the heart of this solution is our desire to handle animal welfare concerns raised by members of the public in the most efficient manner possible, to enable RSPCA rescuers to get to animals in distress quickly and easily.”

The move comes as the charity focuses on hybrid and remote working arrangements for 380 support staff at its main offices in West Sussex. The office site will be put on the market next month.

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