2020 Best Customer Impact Story Award of the Year for Nonprofit EMEA

2020 Best Customer Impact Story Award of the Year for Nonprofit EMEA

An organization we hold very dear is ArmenTeKort. For them, we translated technology into an intuitive chatbot to automatically follow up on guidance plans for the underprivileged. The results? More efficiency, and more room to grow.

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Ending poverty, that's the mission of Antwerp non-profit organization ArmenTeKort. Not by giving the underprivileged money, but by working on a structural solution. "We pair up underprivileged people with privileged buddies. They try and get the underprivileged on their feet by providing intensive guidance for an extended period of time," says Eva Wuyts, knowledge manager at ArmenTeKort.

More focused follow-up, even more growth

The volunteers' most important task? Meet the man or woman they're coaching once every two weeks. And the organization keeps close track of these contacts. Initially, they did so over the phone, but now that they’ve got ever more active duos—today there are about 500, but the organization is looking to grow that number to 5,000 duos by 2023—they needed to automate. "Together with November 5, Sparklink developed the Buddybot for us. That's a chatbot that allows volunteers to easily manage their appointments and ensures they're constantly in touch with us."

atk chatbot dashboard

The Buddybot works via Facebook Messenger and contains a number of scripts to automate the "conversations" between the buddies and ArmenTeKort. "A clear report tells us, at a glance, how the guidance is going. That way, we immediately know which guidance plans are going well, and where we need to make some adjustments. We no longer do follow-up spot checks. Today, we only make phone calls when we need to. Not only does this save us a lot of work, but it also makes us more efficient and enables us to structurally expand our operations."

Motivating for volunteers

For the volunteers, too, the chatbot is a leap forward. "Thanks to the Buddybot, they receive the support they deserve," says Eva. "They feel we're there for them, that we're interested in how things are working out, and that we'll provide support if needed. And that's motivating, we find. Since we're talking about an intensive two-year plan, that's an important plus. The chatbot also breaks down barriers: volunteers are quicker to let us know when they've got an issue. They didn't need an instruction manual, by the way—the system is intuitive."

During the COVID-19 lockdown, the chatbot turned out to be a must: because meeting in person was no longer possible, it was more important than ever for ArmenTeKort to keep a close eye on the duos. "We encouraged our buddies to keep in touch with the underprivileged by texting and phoning. Sparklink adapted the chatbot's script without too much trouble. That way, the sentence "when did you last see each other" changed into "... last hear from each other". Actually, they've adjusted the Buddybot quite a few times based on our needs. They're always available and they've got a flexible approach."

atk chatbot in action

Affordable customization

"That's one of the advantages of working with a software development kit like Salesforce," explains Mike Verledens, CEO of Sparklink. "Starting from existing building blocks means you can develop bespoke solutions much more quickly and efficiently, and keep the solution affordable for your client. Obviously, non-profit organizations want to work efficiently, too, and profit from technology. So they can invest their time and resources in what really matters. At the same time, however, we can still customize the tech based on specific needs. We'll gladly commit to worthwhile initiatives like ArmenTeKort, by coming up with a solution that really helps them grow."

The Buddybot is just a single possible application of chatbots. The possibilities border on the infinite: think about all the advantages a chatbot could have for customer service, and so on.

2020 Best Customer Impact Story Award of the Year for Nonprofit EMEA

2020 Best Customer Impact Story Award of the Year for Nonprofit EMEA

For the volunteers, too, the chatbot is a leap forward. "Thanks to the Buddybot, they receive the support they deserve," says Eva. "They feel we're there for them, that we're interested in how things are working out, and that we'll provide support if needed. And that's motivating, we find."
Eva Wuyts Team Lead "Measure & Learn"
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