Chatbot to help businesses with COVID-19 stimulus packages

Sharon Kelley 3 July 2020
Andrew Sykes (left) and Rhys Kyburz (right) standing in front of National Carrilon.

Andrew Sykes (left) and Rhys Kyburz (right), directors of business advisory at RSM in Canberra. Photo: George Tsotsos.

A new chatbot is helping businesses affected by COVID-19 to navigate the range of complex financial stimulus packages announced by the Federal Government.

RSM Australia has launched a chatbot called RAMI, which stands for “robotic automated machine interface” and draws on an extensive knowledge bank developed by the business advisory company’s financial advice experts.

The chatbot operates on the RSM Australia website and users can choose to follow a guided set of questions aimed at answering the most common queries, or they can enter a question to find the specific answers they need.

RSM Australia chief information officer and operations director Paul Joseph says when JobKeeper and other financial stimulus packages were announced, business owners began asking questions.

“The packages are complex and changing all the time, making it difficult for business owners to stay on top of what they’re eligible for,” he says. “RAMI was designed to provide an always-on, wide-reaching resource that clients can access any time of the day or night to get the information they need.

“It aggregates all the data that would normally be found in myriad of different sources into one place, providing general information to users.

“RAMI also provides the option for clients to directly contact an RSM Australia advisor to get advice that’s specific to their unique situation.”

RSM Australia national chairman Jamie O’Rourke says COVID-19 saw the acceleration of digital transformation due to an increase in appetite for digital engagement and always-on responsiveness.

“Clients increasingly expect online solutions and self-service options to fit in with their schedules and needs,” he says.

“RAMI provides a key example of this. In developing RAMI, RSM Australia considered that many clients would be busy running their business during business hours and beyond so they would need a way to get information that suits their availability.

“The 24/7 availability of RAMI is ideal for these clients who can’t easily contact their local RSM Australia office during business hours.”

RAMI also improves and learns based on the way users interact with it and feedback they provide.

Government programs are constantly changing so the team at RSM Australia wanted to deliver a solution that could stay up to date with these changes and tailor itself to users’ needs by providing answers to the most commonly asked questions upfront.

“By identifying what clients are looking for, RSM Australia can provide a far more enriched customer experience by delivering according to those requirements,” says Paul.

The chatbot is available to users throughout Australia and offers a first port of call for people seeking information about their COVID-19 stimulus package entitlements. If it cannot answer a specific question, it will ensure users can directly contact an advisor to gain specific advice.

“RSM Australia’s COVID-19 RAMI saves people time that would have been spent checking various websites and sources of information,” says Jamie. “By providing a single, central source of information that’s constantly updated, users can be confident the information they’re receiving via RAMI is accurate.

“RAMI can be used with any device, regardless of the user’s location. All it requires is access to the internet.”

In the future, RSM Australia will build on the COVID-19 RAMI to develop other chatbots to provide information on complex issues, and to assist users to find information to help them determine whether they need to seek further advice or can apply for government packages.

The RAMI chatbot operates on the RSM Australia website, via its COVID-19 resource page, and is available to all users regardless of whether or not they are a RSM Australia client.


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