Enhancing Customer Engagement with ‘Alex’, IP Australia’s Virtual Assistant

IP Australia is the federal government agency responsible for administering all intellectual property rights and legislation across patents, trademarks, designs and plant breeders’ rights and is part of the wider Department of Industry, Innovation and Science. Its vision is to have a world-leading IP system that builds prosperity for Australia.


The Challenge

IP Australia has a strong ‘digital first’ mandate, coupled with a desire to reflect the inventiveness of its customer base through the use of innovative tools for managing IP rights. IP Australia needed a partner with experience, expertise and cutting-edge technology to uphold that vision. In particular, it sought new support channels that would augment the success of its website redevelopment, and drive digital uptake.

Datacom embraced this challenge with the launch of ‘Alex’, the Australian Government’s first integrated virtual assistant and web-chat digital experience. Alex is the front face of IP Australia’s website, engaging customers directly, providing answers to common questions and actively learning from customer queries. This tool combines Datacom’s extensive expertise in customer experience, integration and customer intelligence with state-of-the-art AI technology, and maintains customers in the optimised digital channel.

The Datacom Difference

Datacom’s relationship with IP Australia continues to grow and strengthen. Having started as a contact centre outsourcer and evolving into a strategic partner, our long-term roadmap has already seen an increase in online transactions from 12% in 2013 to approximately 99% today, through the added insight delivered by these new tools, improving the customer experience overall.

Created through a collaboration with Nuance, a leading global provider of voice and language solutions for business, Datacom utilised its virtual assistant platform and worked closely with IP Australia to design the conversation strategy, website and web-chat integration, alongside the core content that would inform Alex’s answers.

Since soft-launching in May 2016, Alex has handled almost 6,500 conversations, of which less than 3% have required human intervention. As further indication of its early success, historical contact centre data predicted an 8% growth in customer enquiries for the period when Alex went live. Calls actually dropped by 8% on 2015’s figures, which shows a dramatic improvement in customer interaction quality due to the success of this new digital channel.

In collaboration with our partners, a roadmap has now been designed that will see Alex progressively do even more to enhance the digital customer experience, acting as the common thread across the entire journey for IP Australia customers.

"Only through this in-depth partnership were we able to launch Alex, which now offers IP Australia an intelligent, 24-hour self-service customer experience.”

Patricia Kelly, Director-General, IP Australia