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AI and machine learning for helplines

AI and machine learning for helplines


Advice Direct Scotland provides free and independent advice to the citizens of Scotland. Conor Forbes, Creative Lead, explains how as an organisation they use artificial intelligence (AI) to support the work of their helpline service’s contact channels.

Our organisation has an employee who works 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, remains efficient 99.9% of the time and never takes a break. This employee always provides comprehensive support without ever complaining and doesn’t break a sweat when dealing with frustrated customers.

You would be wrong in thinking that we are breaking any number of working time regulation laws, that we run an environment of slave-labour, or that this employee is exhausted. Our faithful employee is a bot. His name is Angus.


Using AI technology, Angus can offer basic answers when our human employees are living their lives or at home in bed, ensuring that Scottish citizens can access advice on consumer rights, employment, debt, housing or benefits 24/7.

As a genuinely multi-channel organisation, we take pride in the accessibility of our services. People now lead busy lives and many no longer have the time available to request face-to-face advice or make a phone call during working hours.

Ensuring that our advice is available through telephone, webchat, social media and email means that our customers can seek solutions to their issues on their own terms and in their own time.

Handling volume

The implementation of innovative technology has facilitated our growth as the largest advice provider operating in Scotland today.

Our experience, knowledge, technology and desire for innovation enables our clients to deliver a greater service for our customers and their clients. With the help of tools like Angus, we currently assist over 500,000 citizens a year and have accumulated almost 3,000,000 separate cases.

Angus has enabled us to effectively handle contacts via alternative channels when our advice lines are experiencing high volumes. This interaction allows the customers to use our service via chatbot and online to find the answers, allowing our helpline advisors to spend the additional time required helping those who are not as tech-savvy.

How did we make this possible?

Our AI chatbots and multi-channel offering are only possible because of the systems we use to power our organisation. We are proud to have adopted Salesforce as our Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tool of choice.

Previous systems had made it difficult to deliver the personalised levels of service that we strive for. However, Salesforce has revolutionised the way we work and has freed up our expert advisors to deal directly with the customers who need our help the most.

We can offer more comprehensive help, understanding and support to each customer because we never have a problem with capacity.

Sharing is caring

We are a people business first and foremost. As such, we understand that people (and sometimes friendly bots like Angus) lie at the heart of excellent customer service delivery. However, the excellent staff we have are supported through the integration of cutting-edge technology which has enabled us to increase efficiency and improve the service we offer to customers.

Advice Direct Scotland are licenced Salesforce providers, meaning that we can integrate these technologies in other organisations. As part of our implementation process, we work with our clients’ teams, customers and stakeholders to design a bespoke service solution which is specific to them. Our cloud-based solution removes the need to double key and also allows all stakeholders to access up-to-date information in real-time.

  • Easily configured to meet changing requirements and needs
  • State-of-the-art reporting and analytics engine
  • Can be used anywhere, anytime
  • Profile management, Computer Telephony Integration (CTI), campaign and marketing capability, email integration, mobile-ready, social ready and has over 2,500 available apps on the app exchange that address any business issues or problems

The goal of any service is user satisfaction. As customer preferences evolve, service solutions are changing with them. Individuals now expect engagement with services on their own terms.

Thank you to Conor for telling us about the use of AI at Advice Direct Scotland (ADS) and how their systems can benefit other helplines.

If you’re interested in talking to ADS about how they can improve the efficiency of your organisation and the quality of service received by your customers then please contact Helplines Partnership and we’ll put you in touch with the team at ADS.

At Helplines Partnership, have been committed to supporting organisations that provide non-face-to-face advice, support and information to improve general wellbeing for over 20 years. We champion the interests of our members and help them to build sustainability and deliver the best service they can for their users.