Rhaetische Bahn AI chatbot improves customer engagement – Microsoft Switzerland News Center – Microsoft

2 minutes, 58 seconds Read
  • Rail passengers embrace Rhaetian Railway (RhB) new AI-powered chatbot 
  • Passengers engage in more than 12,000 sessions  
  • Microsoft Azure OpenAI Service enables RhB to develop tailored cloud-based solution to ease staff workload and drive efficiency 

Zurich, Switzerland –11 March 2024 – Early data from six months of operation of an AI-driven chatbot at Swiss rail company Rhaetian Railway (RhB) shows that artificial intelligence (AI) is rapidly gaining momentum in Switzerland – benefitting both companies and their customers. 

In September last year, RhB began operating an AI chatbot known as Flurina, developed in collaboration with Microsoft partner and startup ParetoLabs. Based on Azure OpenAI – a combination of Microsoft’s cloud computing resources and OpenAI’s AI knowledge and skills – the AI chatbot complements RhB’s existing service channels while easing the workload on human staff in the face of the rising number in customer enquiries. 

Since its introduction, RhB customers using the AI chatbot Flurina have already engaged in more than 12,000 sessions and posed more than 26,000 questions. 

Commenting on the popularity of the AI chatbot, Primo Amrein, Cloud Lead at Microsoft Switzerland, said: “The data shows it has been very well received. The use of Microsoft Azure OpenAI with local data residency in Switzerland allowed the chatbot to be tailored to RhB’s need to provide up-to-date, specific information. Customer demands are different nowadays – they are international and need to be able to chat 24/7 a day – so companies realize they have to use the latest digital technologies. AI helps to ease their workload while delivering greater productivity and efficiency through agile work processes.” 

Since the launch, RhB has been reaping the benefits of a productive chatbot that runs successfully on the Azure OpenAI platform at a Swiss data center in accordance with the strictest security, data protection and privacy stipulations. 

Communicating with customers in German, English and Italian, the chatbot has been well received. Available to everyone around the clock, it is quick and easy to use, providing reliable information about reservations, travel itineraries and many other aspects. 

RhB employees are also benefiting from the new chatbot. By easing their workload, Flurina allows the Railservice Staff to devote more time to enquiries received by phone or e-mail, as well as to other projects. At the same time, the chatbot also provides staff in other parts of the company with information. 

The digital assistant therefore plays its part in creating the ‘modern workplace’ that RhB is advancing as part of its digitalization strategy. This will also help the company attract suitably skilled people on the labor market. 

“We want our digitalization strategy to improve our customer care, but also to give our staff access to a modern workplace,” said Patrick Grünenfelder, Head of Sales Systems, RhB. “As a traditional company, we need technological progress to remain successful in the future and to continue satisfying the exacting demands of our customers.” 

Going forward, RhB plans to further develop AI chatbot Flurina, again in collaboration with ParetoLabs. The aim is to deliver excellent customer service across all channels. The next step is to expand the digital assistant’s capabilities and help Railservice employees answer client emails efficiently. In addition, RhB will use Azure OpenAI Services to enrich its knowledge database and enhance Flurina’s performance. 

RhB’s use of Azure OpenAI illustrates a growing trend by companies around the world to employ AI. More than two hundred companies in Switzerland have already embraced Microsoft Azure OpenAI Services. Last year, the country was named as the most innovative country in the world for the 13th year in a row. 

Read the customer story here.

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