Smart Chat Bot | “Ask Morty”
Insightful Census Data to Fuel Small Businesses
Moreton Bay Regional Council (MBRC) is the 3rd largest local government in Australia by population, with residents nearing 500,000 and a land area of more than 2,045 square kilometres. Situated to the North of Brisbane, MBRC is one of the fastest-growing LGAs in Australia.
MBRC have a strong focus on innovation, economic growth and providing value to its constituents through continued investment into technology.
The Customer Challenge
MBRC recognise that small businesses are the economic backbone of its region, and the Council were actively looking for ways in which they could provide business owners with the tools required to make informed business decisions effectively.
The Council wanted to provide census data to help SMBs tailor their operations to the demographics of the area; however, with vast amounts of data to sift through, the practicality of using these publicly-available platforms wasn’t feasible as users would require sophisticated data literacy.
MBRC had the vision of creating a single portal allowing business owners to access this data in an easily digestible format: users simply answer a few questions and receive straight-forward answers.
In Partnership with MBRC and TechConnect, “Ask Morty” was created, the intelligent data concierge (or chat bot) designed to guide small business owners into making better informed decisions about their customers and market. It does this by making available, in a simple process, relevant anonymised 2021 Australian Bureau of Statistics census data of the municipality’s almost 500,000 citizens (across three simple variables around potential customer demography).
In less than two minutes (on average) and based on a small number of inputs from the SMB user, Ask Morty provides the user over a range of devices (laptop, computer, mobile), with highly accurate key demographic insights.
The responses Ask Morty provides are drawn from a range of interrelated, relevant variables across the Moreton Bay Region – including population age ranges, gender, work or study situation, home ownership and others. Importantly, TechConnect designed the bot to take into account the diverse nature of demographics across the region, which vary considerably from suburbs such as Scarborough in the South of the region to Caboolture in the North, for example. Taking this complexity into account, Ask Morty provides single suburb answers, as well as clusters of suburbs that are connected in one or more ways. Ask Morty then follows up with a summary at the end of the process identifying which suburbs best match all the entered criteria, as well as helpful insights to provide access to further data or tips on how to best market their business to their target customers.
Ask Morty guides the customer through the intuitive question tree and provides immediate information best matched for the SMBs customers – all easily accessible and operated through a chat popup.
The intuitive interface was designed to be easily accessible through a chat pop-up, allowing for ease of use, data access and providing quick and simple answers that time poor small business owners are looking for, all without needing to be specialists in data literacy.
Only a few weeks into to the availability of the Council’s “Ask Morty” bot, initial up-take amongst SMBs has been above expectations, with more than 1800 SMBs accessing the interactive tool.
SMBs in the region were utilising the information provided by Ask Morty for a range of activities, from marketing to expansion, product diversification, and increasingly, for recruitment campaigns at a time of local, and national, staff shortages.
Other LGAs have also expressed interest in utilising this for their SMBs.