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Wavemaker and Voxly Digital support Solace with web-based Chatbot providing advice and information 24/7

Wavemaker and Voxly Digital have partnered to develop and build a new web-based chatbot for leading UK specialist Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) charity, Solace. Launched today, the service provides 24/7 access to a wealth of information, advice and support, quickly yet discreetly, to those who require immediate help, either for themselves or for supporting a survivor.

The easing of lockdown has meant that calls to Solace’s live-chat agents and free advice line have more than doubled, rising a staggering 117% since before the pandemic.  With a finite level of resource available, a chat line that closed at 5pm, and the knowledge that younger users don’t always feel comfortable (or safe) calling a helpline, Solace needed to offer fast and effective support via additional routes.

As part of the annual Wavemaker Unites Charity Day, Solace turned to the leading media agency armed with a brief for help. Wavemaker responded to the challenge by donating funds and pro-bono project management resource to facilitate the creation of a new chatbot. Voxly Digital, one of Europe’s leading Conversational AI agencies, was brought in to lead on all aspects of design, content curation and creation, wireframing and development of the chatbot.

Working in close collaboration with the Solace, Wavemaker and Voxly Digital teams helped to refine the user experience. In addition, they selected the appropriate information to include within the service, from how to access counselling, housing and homelessness support services, and spotting the signs of abuse, to practical advice for keeping safe, and how to refer a friend or family member to Solace.

Judith Banjoko, Director of Services at Solace, commented: “For many the easing of lockdown means the enjoyment of renewed freedoms, but for women and families facing abuse and violence they may finally be able to leave and flee from abuse. As a charity known for our advice line, safe houses and rape crisis support, it came as no surprise that we were inundated with calls for help. We wanted to make sure that each and every survivor received the information, advice and support they needed quickly and efficiently, that meant a rethink of our current service offering.”

Paul Hutchison, CEO UK at Wavemaker, added: “Solace provides invaluable support to those facing and fleeing violence at home. We identified an opportunity to work with Voxly Digital to build and develop a chatbot that could address the increase in demand coming into the Solace advice line post-lockdown. Not only does it offer 24/7 support to those in need, but it does it in a way that is discreet, quick and safe. We are proud of what the teams have achieved.”

Rozzi Meredith, Head of Innovation Strategy at Voxly Digital, said: “It’s been a pleasure working on such an important and worthy project with the team at Solace and Wavemaker. Conversational interfaces like webchat offer speed, scalability and personalisation.  Designed to be simple and streamlined for users, behind the scenes the Solace webchat has a range of complex logic at play. Depending on the time of the day and a user’s location (should they chose to temporarily share it) the webchat offers dynamic content and advice, helping to funnel users to the appropriate services and support. We’re delighted to be rolling out the first version of this service with plans include live-agent handover in time to keep supporting those who desperately need it”

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