Van Gogh Museum

Van Gogh Museum Automates Answers to Frequently Asked Questions with Microsoft Chatbot

Thanks to that, the bot is now able to respond to questions much faster, as well as providing answers outside of office hours.

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The Van Gogh Museum as the second most visited museum in the Netherlands – having received a stunning 2.1 million visitors in 2019 – gets to host many visitors from all over the world. Before visiting the museum, many of them have questions for the museum. Often these questions are related to what to do with their baggage or how to get to the museum. Other questions are about opening hours, special discounts or which exhibitions are currently on.

Being fans of Van Gogh’s work, many of these visitors are already subscribers to the museum’s Facebook page, creating a low barrier to communicate with the museum and ask their questions. As a result, the museum receives hundreds of questions every month through their Facebook page. This causes two main issues:

  • When customer service employees are busy handling questions, it might take some time before the visitor receives an answer. To the visitor, this can be a frustrating experience, especially when they are already standing in front of the museum and have an urgent question.
  • When the customer service is not available, for example during the evenings and weekends, visitors may not receive an answer at all until the next working day.
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To address these issues, the museum decided to create a chatbot that is able to service visitors by answering their most frequently asked questions. Antheon was selected as partner of choice to build the chatbot.

The Van Gogh Museum identified the questions that are most frequently asked by visitors. Based on these questions, Antheon has developed a Facebook Messenger chatbot, named Iris, that can understand and interpret the customer’s question and supply them with an answer within seconds. The chatbot, based on the Microsoft Bot Framework, can be trained by the museum’s customer service employees to learn from new sentences to better understand the visitor’s questions. Furthermore, it allows customer service employees to manually take over any conversation.

The solution Antheon built for The Van Gogh Museum is entirely hosted on Azure, in the Tenant of the museum, providing total control over training, management and development to the museum. By using the open source Microsoft Bot Framework, the Van Gogh Museum has full control over their software without being tied to external parties or licences.

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