CRN Impact Awards: Rubicon Red creates AI chatbot for Queensland University of Technology

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CRN Impact Awards: Rubicon Red creates AI chatbot for Queensland University of Technology

Brisbane headquartered Rubicon Red’s work deploying a chatbot-as-a-service for Queensland University of Technology (QUT) Service Centre (HiQ) has seen it named a finalist in the Customer Experience category in the 2021 CRN Impact Awards.

HiQ looks after student services and support for the university, responding to enquiries by phone, email and face to face and was facing mounting pressure at the start of the year as students were preparing to head into learning in the world of COVID-19.

At the peak, the HiQ staff were facing up to 1,184 enquiries each day and were struggling to keep up with the onslaught of calls and emails. 

The university noticed that chat was the fastest growing channel for engagement with students, and saw that there was an opportunity to leverage this to ease the pressure on the team and provide students with more responsive and streamlined service.

QUT reached out to Rubicon Red to develop and deploy a bespoke artificial intelligence powered chatbot solution that could respond to the questions of prospective students, automating responses to simple, repetitive and high volume enquiries.

Q's in-browser UI

“The focus for HiQ is putting the students at the centre of everything we do. We want to provide faster, more responsive service for our students and my focus has really been on how we can best use technology to enable responsive self-service for students, in their channel of choice,” explained QUT HiQ service delivery coordinator Angela Kenna.

Rubicon Red developed the solution based on a variety of Amazon Web Services components to store, categorise, retrieve and deliver data, as well as for the user interface and natural language processing.

Combined, these elements create a powerful chatbot named Q, which is able to handle all manner of requests from prospective students, including information on courses, calendars, remote learning options, and more – and it is able to respond to student questions 24/7 without any extra cost.

Thanks to the deployment of the chatbot, not only has QUT seen reduced costs per enquiry for those managed by the bot, but the HiQ team have been able to direct their resources to more complicated enquiries and better help students who need one-on-one support.

To date, the chatbot has dealt with more than 7,000 messages from prospective students and reduced cost per enquiry by ~50 percent. As usage of the solution increases, that cost will continue to go down.

Chat volume has decreased by 33 percent and students have been overwhelmingly positive about their experience with the chat bot, with 75 percent rating it 4 out of 5 or higher.

“The solution-as-a-service model we used to engage with Rubicon Red for this project, has proved to be a true collaborative partnership where we could quickly take our idea, pilot it and then on an ongoing basis continue to define and prioritise requirements, provide regular feedback and review to rapidly deliver our project with their dedicated project team,” HiQ’s Kenna said.

“With Rubicon Red also providing on-going management of the solution our team can really focus on continuing to improve our student services.”

Members of the Rubicon Red Brisbane team (Photo Credit: Brittany Hart)

The Rubicon Red team delivered the project in six weeks using an agile delivery method, including an analytics dashboard for real-time insights such as the countries driving bot interactions, which courses are generating the most enquiries and what the most common enquiries are.

As part of the as-a-service model of delivery, Rubicon Red staff will provide support for the chatbot to keep it up and running smoothly.

“Our team has loved the learning opportunities presented by this project, and Rubicon Red has shown a real willingness to share and help us learn. We really value the collaborative partnership we have with Rubicon Red - open and transparent, focused on helping us achieve our goals,” QUT HiQ technology lead Joyi Lu said.

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