Chatbot of Enel Energia: new frontiers in customer care

"At the end of the century, I believe that the use of words and the opinion of educated people will have changed so much that one will be able speak of thinking machines without expecting to be contradicted." These are words written by Alan Turing in 1950, in an article entitled Computing Machinery and Intelligence that was published in an English scientific journal of the time. Turing, who during the Second World War was decisive in decoding Nazi communications, is widely considered one of the fathers of computer science. Back in the present time, his thinking was a decisive piece of the road that would lead, in just over half a century, to Enel Energia's customers receiving the information they need through a Facebook conversation with a chatbot.

Among Italian utilities, Enel Energia sits at the forefront of integrating the possibilities of artificial intelligence with those of social networks to meet customers' needs in real time. The main advantages of this social caring technology are efficiency, shorter response times, and the possibility of offering permanent support. There are about 400 thousand conversations between our users and the chatbot of Enel Energia per year, with a level of customer satisfaction abundantly higher than 4 on a scale from 1 to 5. This is because we only entrust the with bot tasks, hence the fast and efficient sorting of information, saving time for users and improving resource allocation for the company, while the relationship between Enel Energia  and its customers remains a human and personal one.

The chatbot can answer questions and perform operations related to the customers' most frequent and routine needs: from self- reading to the activation of Bolletta Web, through the modification of contact data. If this tool is unable to respond to the customer, the conversation is routed to an operator. The prerequisite is always to let Enel Energia 's operators take over when an articulated and human intervention is needed, and to leave the remaining tasks to artificial intelligence. In fact, from 9 to 21, the intervention of an operator responding in real time to customer requests is guaranteed. After 21, however, when responses are fully managed by the chatbot, customer appointments can be scheduled to deal with more complex requests.

The third function of the chatbot is to offer an information service that remains active 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, a support that can prove crucial in certain situations. For example, having a bot active and operational during the wave of bad weather that hit northern Italy in the autumn of 2018 , allowed Enel Energia to provide accurate information in real time to all people that endured hardship that night, with the storm that had cut down thousands of trees from Trentino to Friuli, and created serious inconvenience to the infrastructure that serves thousands of users. The first response of caring to this emergency was thanks to this support.

Among the trends in the current technological panorama, artificial intelligence is one of the most stimulating and full of possibilities. Machine learning and the learning ability of these tools show an exponential curve. While these tools have taken giant steps in recent years, their innovation level, abilities, and potential applications will only keep on expanding in the future. Still, the horizon of social caring and customer care will always remain the same: to offer constant, fast, and efficient assistance to all our customers.