Co-designing the customer service chatbot in Kuhmo

In late September 2017 we spent 3 days in Kuhmo, one of Migri’s sites, where we ran different co-design sessions and researched the everyday work of the customer phone line experts..

One of the days was dedicated to co-design the customer service chatbot with the phone line experts in Migri (ASPA personnel).

For example, we discussed how the bot could inspire trust. According to the participants the bot needs to be honest and state clearly that it is a bot, not try to hide it. It could say things like: “I am your digital assistant, Migri takes care that I get formal and trustable information. I have and Enter Finland information”.

Here is a summary of our workshop outcomes:

In contrast with other information we received previously, the identification is not a problem as it happens in less than 2min. The customer phone personal ask 2 or 3 questions. Not 8 as we were informed previously.

WE LEARN: It is important to do our own research, because sometimes information about working practices in big organizations such as Migri can be contradictory.

ASPA personnel have no way to document their findings. They have information in Sharepoint, emails, PAVE,, and EnterFinland. However, when they find out how something works, they do not have a platform to document it and share it within themselves or with customer service points.

WE LEARN: When we are working to solve one issue, as in this case is the unanswered incoming calls, we get to know other challenges that also could benefit of our service design approach.

ASPA personnel asks questions to the units and nobody answers. This is frustrating for them.

WE LEARN: Interactions within units could be improved. This is a challenge that other units also highlighted in our workshops.

The most important questions that people ask in the phone line are:

  • “When will my decision be ready”
  • ”Did Migri receive my documentation?”
  • “Did Migri sent something to me?”

WE LEARN: We need to prioritise these questions in the development of the chatbot.

ASPA personnel is committed and want to deliver good quality work. They are worried when they cannot answer a question. They are empathic towards their clients. To our eyes their work is extremely challenging as they have to find answers very quickly and in parallel search for information in emails,, PAVE and Enter Finland.

WE LEARN: We need to involve them in the development of the chatbot to ensure the good quality of the answers and keep the correct priorities for the content development of the chatbot .

ASPA personnel has a lot of ideas and insights about our customer communication channels, as they are using them permanently.

WE LEARN: They are great partners to conduct co-design work in relation to other developments such as Migri website, for example.

There is need for a vocabulary helper that would support people in understanding Migri’s vocabulary: residence permit, family ties, etc. And it could be integrated in Migri website. It can also be done in different languages.

WE LEARN: The bot needs to explain the concepts clearly and in easy language, so customers who have never heard the word understand.

Together with the workshop participants we defined some aspects of the bot’s personality: The bot should be friendly, professional and peaceful.

WE LEARN: For delivering good customer service you need to be extremely patient.

Every interaction with a client is documented in UMA, Migri’s internal system for handling applications.

WE LEARN: The bots answers have to be documented in UMA as well, though in a different way thant the answers from our phone line workers.

As you can read in between the lines, we learn a lot ;-) and we are thankful to this unit that kindly host us in Kuhmo during ruska times. It was definitely a exciting learning experience.

Contributors: Mariana Salgado and Susanne Miessner

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