Meet Sam

With 3,000 patient contacts per day, it is a challenge for our customer contact centre staff to answer all questions quickly and appropriately. In the COVID-19 pandemic, there was an even greater need for contact, as blood collection, for the safety of the patient, took place by appointment. To answer many standard questions quickly and accurately, Sam, our virtual assistant, has been deployed. Sam is a chatbot that directly answers frequently asked questions from patients through the website 24/7.

The use of chatbot Sam was quickly set up to find a solution for the many questions patients had about COVID-19. It took some time getting used to Sam for the patients who reluctantly, and not always successfully, started to use the new system. But our staff had to get used to Sam as well. For example, the chatbot does not always link sufficiently with our IT systems and processes to, for example, immediately make an appointment digitally. And there are challenges not only in answering questions, but also in having a real conversation that makes patients feel understood and helped.

By using Sam, our staff at the customer contact centre have more time to talk to patients and answer complex questions.

In the meantime, Sam is now used more than 500 times a day and questions are continuously analysed, so that Sam keeps improving. We expect Sam to develop further in the coming years with new techniques, such as speech technology.

In this way, technology and people work together, and together we can ensure satisfied patients and motivated employees.

Would you like to read more about chatbots? Click here.