A new way of answering questions

Project: Sex og samfunn

Maria Røsok, general manager at Sex og samfunn, and Nikolai Toverud, business developer at Convertelligence.

Written by Siv Fjørtoft.

Asking personal, health-related questions can make even the most extroverted person feel shy. Even though you know a healthcare professional would never judge, it might still be difficult to get in touch and get the answers you’re looking for. Being able to ask your questions through an anonymous live chat is a great option, but it’s rarely available 24 hours a day, and if a lot of other people are using this service at the same time, it could mean you might have to wait a while before you get your answers.

Luckily, a chatbot is now here to help. Our client, Sex og samfunn, has created a chatbot that answers questions regarding contraception and emergency contraception, giving people a new point of contact and help around the clock.

Sex og samfunn is Norway’s largest center for sexual and reproductive health and rights. They also run a clinic which welcomed more than 35 000 visitors in 2018. Patients meet health care professionals that are specialists on issues related to contraception, sexually transmitted infections or other issues concerning their sexual health. The clinic generates broad knowledge which is shared with partners and other relevant organizations and institutions. Sex og samfunn also receives inquiries from all over the country, both from the target group and from healthcare personnel.

Sex og samfunn offers a live chat which was used approximately 12 800 times in 2018, and 40% of these conversations consisted of questions concerning contraception and emergency contraception. This chat is primarily used by young people in need of advice from qualified healthcare professionals. So implementing a chatbot for answering these questions was a good way for Sex og samfunn to help even more people than they already do, as well as making them available 24/7.

The chatbot was launched on November 30th 2018, and today it receives approximately 50 questions a day.

Having already worked with a live chat proved to be a valuable experience when adding a chatbot to the mix.

“We know which questions our users ask and how they ask them,” says Maria Røsok, General Manager at Sex og samfunn.

Knowing what potential chatbot users are wondering about before starting a chatbot project, is one of the surest ways to a successful chatbot. Another challenge is narrowing down the scope of the chatbot.

“Our users are used to getting answers to all their questions regarding sexual health, so some people do think it should be able to answer questions on more topics than it currently does. But we have to start somewhere, and so we chose the topic most users ask about,” says Maria.

Keeping the scope of a chatbot narrow may sometimes feel like you’re hanging your users out to dry, but it’s important to not fill the chatbot with too much information. The best chatbots out there specialize in one area and are really good at answering questions within their field of expertise. Sticking to one topic may therefore be a good approach to test how users respond to the chatbot, and as the project group at Sex og samfunn experienced, even a chatbot with a limited scope requires a lot of work.

“It took longer than expected, but it was a good process and it taught us a lot. Convertelligence was also very helpful along the way, and our cooperation worked well. They wanted to help us achieve the best possible result,” says Maria.

Sex og samfunn’s chatbot gets the most user traffic at the beginning of the week. Unprotected sex may have occurred during the weekend, and a lot of people are in need of guidance on how to handle this situation. Thanks to the chatbot, users can get their questions answered even outside of Sex og samfunn’s opening hours.