Codify Academy chatbot uses IBM Watson technology to field inquiries

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Codify Academy was founded by the “Brodify” brothers: my brothers, Sam and Chris, and me.

“Go to college,” they said. “Study hard and get good grades,” they said. “You’ll get a job, no problem,” they said.

I had been told all this stuff was going to happen, if I did all the right things. I studied, went to college, moved to China and learned Mandarin. When I moved back home to Washington, DC, with my political science degree, I couldn’t get a job.

My brother, Sam, was a door to door insurance agent. I was a locksmith dispatcher. My brother, Chris, was a server. We realized something was wrong with the system. So we taught ourselves to code.

I moved to San Francisco and got a job immediately. I knew that coding could be taught quickly, without the need for a four-year degree, so we decided to open a school where we accept anyone, no matter what their background is. Codify Academy teaches them how to code and helps them get hired in the industry.

Incorporating IBM technology to simplify admissions

During the admissions interview, prospective students tend to ask the same questions over and over again.

Codify Academy’s founders knew we needed the assistance of an intelligent bot to help field inquiries and increase enrollment. A chatbot would lend a hand in communicating with prospective students and personalizing the user experience.

Codify Academy chatbot Bob

My brothers and I had read about IBM Watson and started looking into it, and realized that it has the ability to answer all of these really repetitive questions that the school gets all the time.

It’s shockingly easy to get started with the technology. I did it over a weekend, just to prove to my brothers that I could. The first version wasn’t perfect, but it worked. It took another week or so to incorporate all the questions and answers.

Using IBM Cloud with Watson Conversation Service, Codify Academy can field thousands of questions from prospective and current students with “Bobbot,” the company’s chatbot that intelligently interacts with potential and current Codify Academy students in natural language via the company’s website.

The bot is named after our father, a former business owner who serves as an advisor to the school.

The benefits of a chatbot

Bob, the interactive cognitive chatbot, improves customer experiences and ultimately increases student enrollment.

Since creating and implementing Bob, Codify Academy has engaged thousands of potential leads through live conversation and text between the bot and site visitors, leading to a 10 percent increase in converting these visitors into students, and a 400 percent increase in sales.

Bob can answer more than 200 common questions about enrollment, course and program details, tuition, and prerequisites:

  • “What kind of job will I be able to find after I complete the program?”
  • “How do I apply?”
  • “What are tuition rates?”

This frees Codify Academy staff to focus on deeper, more meaningful exchanges with students.

Read the case study to learn more.

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