The rental apartment search chatbot

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The rental apartment search chatbot



chatbot rental housing customer service

The rental apartment search chatbot is a 24-hour customer service channel of the City of Helsinki housing services aimed at improving the accessibility of customer service and the customer experience as well as increasing the interactivity of the self-service. The service provides relevant information to each customer’s specific questions faster than by searching for the information on the website.

The service is for anyone interested in the subject. The chatbot provides answers to questions related to finding housing, for example. The service responds based on the trained rule-based discussion paths and the question-answer pairs determined by rental apartment search experts. The service increases efficiency by enabling the automation of frequently asked questions.

Contact information

  • Department

  • Housing
  • Contact team for inquiries

  • Housing customer service
  • External suppliers

  • IBM
  • Contact email

  • Contact phone

  • +358 9 310 34194

More detailed information on the system

Here you can get acquainted with the information used by the system, the operating logic, and its governance in the areas that interest you.

DatasetsShow More Show Less

Key data sources utilised in the development and use of the system, their content and utilisation methods. The different data sources are separated by subheadings.

The AI training material

The AI training material includes example questions from the content area of the service. The questions have been collected from the service experts of the City of Helsinki during the project development and describe the questions that citizens ask in customer service situations. The material is owned by the City of Helsinki, but has not been licensed. The material does not contain personal information.

The training material is uploaded in the system to the AI, which builds the model based on the training material. Some of the example questions are also used to test the model.

Conversation logs

The system saves the questions asked and the answers given during the use of the service in a log file. The saved log is regularly analyzed by the service development team and shows how the service has answered customer questions. Based on the analysis the content areas, which need to be improved can be found.The training material is refined after the analysis and new questions or dialogues can be added to make the customer experience better. Answers can also be refined based on the customer feedback. 

The conversation logs are removed from the system after 30 days as they have been analyzed and necessary changes have been made. The usage-related reporting, such as usage rates, response rates and other key figures, is retained for long-term progress monitoring. 

The converstation log is owned by the City of Helsinki, but it has not been licensed. 

Data processingShow More Show Less

The operational logic of the automatic data processing and reasoning performed by the system and the models used.

Model architecture

The chatbot service is based on the IBM Watson Assistant -software, which is offered as SaaS service from the IBM cloud in the Frankfurt data center in EU-area. The service utilizes AI and machine learning models to understand questions in natural language. The customer asks questions via a digital interface that works on a variety of terminals. If the AI is unable to answer the questions or the customer has some other need, they can contact a customer service representative. In this case, the service connects the customer to a service expert who will continue the conversation. The customer can also provide feedback on the service, which will help to further develop the service.


The performance and the quality of the service is evaluated constally. The number of users and quality metrics are regularly saved as reports. The quality metrics are used e.g. to compare the amount of right answers to all answers given and to collect customer feedback.  

Non-discriminationShow More Show Less

Promotion and realisation of equality in the use of the service.

At the moment the service is available only in Finnish. The service is unable to correct typos automatically, which may limit the use of the service for customers using other languages. 


Human oversightShow More Show Less

Human oversight during the use of the service.

The service automatically regocnizes and compiles the topics, which it does not have an answer to, and these are submitted to the experts of the housing services, who are responsible for the further development of the service. 

The monitoring is done by reviewing the customer feedback and the conversation logs as well as by analyzing the service use statistics. Based on this the experts responsible for the monitoring of the service recognice topics and themes interesting for the users and possible needs to customize the question-answer paths. The experts create new content for the chatbot as well as improve the findability of the recommendations, for example with the help of new keywords. 


Risk managementShow More Show Less

Risks related to the system and its use and their management methods.

The service never asks for personally identifiable information. However, the service involves the risk of processing personal data if the customer enters personal data into the service. To manage the risk, the service has an automatic operation that removes personal identification numbers and email addresses from conversations immediately. In addition, experts regularly review the service’s chat logs and delete any personal information that may have been ignored by the automated feature.

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