While the vaccination rollout is confusing enough for English speakers, spare a thought for those who don’t speak the language. At Jeeves.Plus, we’ve done more than that.
One of the less-spoken about challenges of the global COVID-19 vaccine rollout is communication. While 7.6 billion of us need at least one dose, the actualities of receiving the vaccine is powered by the individual. In order to be safe from the virus, we’re relying on a dialogue between governments and citizens, doctors and patients, users and providers.
But what about those who don’t understand the language that the information is presented in? And what happens to the needs of these communities?
In New York, Google has recently launched their ‘Contact Center AI’ where ‘virtual agents’ interact with callers as they look to get the vaccine. In a blog post, the tech giant claimed that “AI-assisted call centers can expedite the delivery of information, triage calls and streamline the final resolution based on the needs of the individual.”
According to the Beckers Hospital Review, Google’s virtual agents will be able to answer questions, assist with scheduling and send follow-up reminders. This is a positive start, but there are three crucial parts missing.
First, Google is only offering the service in 28 languages. Second, the service is unavailable in Australia. Third, the crucial human element is missing.
At Jeeves.Plus, we have developed an SMS messaging service, one that offers speakers of 109 different languages instant communication with real people. Unlike the Google Cloud solution, which offers AI operators (armed with a menu of interactive options), an organisation or government service using our platform would have a team of trained human operators.
We’ve found that while AI can work, it is best utilised for answering very simple questions with very simple answers. The base functionality of the Google AI could easily answer whether the COVID vaccination was available to you, and be able to supply a date as to when. But what about where you can receive it, which vaccine you are receiving, what you need to prepare beforehand, questions about side effects, or your existing allergies?
If you require more detail, it’s likely that you’d have to go elsewhere to get the information you need. The AI may just direct you to another call centre.
Conversely, human operators understand these finer details, and would have far more information regarding specifics of local vaccine rollouts, and be able to update users with the correct information as it changes. The Google alternative is relying on information that the AI already possesses, and the user’s delivery of the appropriate keywords.
Locally, the Jeeves.Plus alternative could be paired with state health agencies (such as NSW Health) to bridge the communication gap in our vaccine rollout. With a tailored platform designed for COVID conversations (and the government operators’ first-hand knowledge of the roll-out), users could simply text the service line and receive the information they need, in the language that they understand.
On that front, we’ve already begun testing with the Ethnic Communities Council, a government agency that is currently examining our platform’s ability to communicate in the 8 most commonly spoken languages in Australia.
We see ourselves as a necessary solution in a difficult time. With agencies at the state and federal level facing increased scrutiny and criticism, we believe our technological assistance would give our labouring vaccine roll-out a valuable boost; making the process a little bit smoother, and indeed, helping those who are otherwise hampered by the system in place.
Adam Moorhead is a sales and marketing expert, currently helping the Jeeves.Plus team supporting them with strategy, marketing, and PR while working closely on partnerships and service offerings.