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DWP to introduce virtual agents for telephone enquiries

Man using smartphone with virtual agent
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The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) is making plans to use virtual agents to support universal credit claimants through telephone enquiries.

Minister Mims Davies MP revealed the plan to Parliament in answering a question from Labour MP Dr Rupa Huq about the efficiency and accessibility of telephone services provided by the department.

She said that as part of the DWP’s modernisation programme it has set up a Modernising and Transforming Technology Project to look at technologies to improve the way it handles telephone contact with customers.

“The first enhancement will involve the introduction of DWP’s virtual agent,” Davies said. “This will support customers through their telephony journey and best determine how to respond or help with their enquiry.

“The objective of this technology is to route calls to the right person or support available at the right time and provide a better overall customer experience than now.

“Starting with universal credit, we then plan to introduce this technology further over the next three years.”

She added that it will complement, not replace, the existing support for hearing impaired people through Relay UK and Video Relay service.

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