Newport City Homes has launched the first housing association chatbot in Wales.

The automated assistant, named ‘Rob-Bot’ by employees, is based on chatbot technology and has been created entirely in-house by NCH’s customer and digital services engagement group in response to resident feedback asking for more online services.

“Our residents told us that they wanted to be able to access our services at a time and in the way that best suits them,” explains Sharon Wilkins, Deputy Director of Housing Services at Newport City Homes.

“By introducing Rob to our online portal and automating some of our more simple requests, we can support residents online 24/7 – giving our colleagues more time to spend on those complex queries which need more support from us.”

The innovative digital bot is available to all residents with an online NCH portal account, and can help with refunds, requesting payment cards, community volunteering and requesting a pet permit. Additional services including an online repairs service will also be launching later this year.

“We would encourage all of our residents with internet access to register for a portal account on our website,” adds Sharon.

“It gives you access to make payments and view your account, update your information and send us secure messages about your account, as well as using the web chat option to speak to our team.”

Digital Services Manager Owen Barrett added;

“We’re thrilled to be leading the way in Wales by launching the first chatbot to be used within a Welsh housing association. Rob-Bot has been created entirely in-house – it’s a really cost-effective solution and will help us save money for our residents which can be moved back into local communities.

“We’re always looking for more feedback on how we can improve, so we’d urge residents to contact us through social media or online with any suggestions.”

To register for a portal account, please click here.