Experience feedback : Ask Sarah, a chatbot for le Petit Palais

Le Petit Palais, the city of Paris Fine Art Museum, is part of Paris Musées, a public institution gathering the 14 museums of the city of Paris. With special attention to its connection with visitors, le Petit Palais has launched since 2016 a new innovation policy aiming at deepening such relationship. It is in that state of mind that the museum teams have made available to visitors a chatbot developed by Ask Mona Studio.

Built in 1902, le Petit Palais is an iconic building of the city of Paris. Witness of the Universal Exhibition, its unique architecture makes it one of Paris jewels. Its collections exhibit artworks dating from the Antiquity till the beginning of the XXth century. The museum differs from others with a rich and various programming including approximately 6 exhibitions per year and a large program of events.

A chatbot to strengthen the relationship with visitors

Wishing to reinforce its connections with the audience, le Petit Palais has decided to call on Ask Mona to develop its chatbot named « Ask Sarah ». A chatbot is a robot with which it is possible to discuss online by the means of an artificial intelligence trained to answer questions. Opening hours, access, programming, rates, itinerary, … Ask Sarah is available anytime to inform visitors on any informations provided by the Petit Palais and the Ask Mona Studio team.

Le Petit Palais has made the choice to make its chatbot available on Facebook Messenger. Such choice can be explained by the stakes met by the teams around the fluidification of answers to questions that are asked by visitors on this channel of communication. In addition of that, the opening of a new conversation on Facebook Messenger, a very popular platform among young people, allows to create a proximity with this specific type of audience.

In the future, Paris Musées also wishes to make the chatbot available on the Petit Palais website by adding a chat window Messenger.

An opportunity for le Petit Palais to outline the interests of its visitors

The implementation of this device was an opportunity for le Petit Palais to look into frequent questions that are asked by visitors. Indeed, before the existence of the chatbot, le Petit Palais had no instant messaging system and as such, le Petit Palais teams did not have the opportunity to use an already existing base of messages to identify these frequent questions. However, emails received by the teams and questions identified by the staff were valuable resources to establish the listing.

After a first phase based on identifying frequent questions, a selection had to be made to decide which questions should be answered to by the chatbot and which would be left to the teams. In that purpose, a system rerouting messages was set up to reorientate the questionings of the visitors towards the adequate interlocutor.

Personify the chatbot by giving it the name of a famous painting

The chatbot is personified under the figure of Sarah Bernhardt. Such choice of character was inspired by a famous portrait painted in 1876 by Georges Clairin and exhibited in the permanent collections of the museum. By giving a face and an identity to the chatbot, the museum wanted to embody the speaking of the chatbot while making a link with its collections. This personnification is also a way to make the chatbot more friendly and less robotic.

The Ask Mona team has paid particular attention to the editorial direction given to the chatbot. A first version was submitted to a group of testers made up of potential visitors of le Petit Palais. The results pointed out the cold dimension of the chatbot which stood out of its very formal answers. From these feedbacks, we worked on new turns of phrase to make it more interactive and even added some emojis. It allowed us to find a balance between the institutional tone required for this type of speaking as well as a more personal dimension adapted to the tone used on social medias.


Supporting le Petit Palais in the promotion of its chatbot

Launching and promoting a chatbot is an exercice relatively new, especially when it is the first time one is launching a chatbot. Hence, the Ask Mona Studio team have helped le Petit Palais by sharing its experience in chatbots with a set of communication tools listing good habits and examples of inspiring cases. We thus made a covert video for le Petit Palais Facebook page in order to inform and signal the existence of the chatbot to visitors. Le Petit Palais has also published an article about the chatbot on its website, related its existence on social networks as well as in its newsletter. A promotional video for social networks was made by the Ask Mona Studio team.

All these steps have preceded and supported the launching of le Petit Palais’ chatbot. Ask Mona Studio team keep watching the training of the chatbot in their daily tasks so as to improve its functionalities, further its training and recommend potential developments based on users feedbacks.

To begin the experience, it’s right here ? !

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