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Case study

AI-enabled patient support for clinic network in South Africa

Optique Optometrists clinics increased digital appointment booking by 61% with Proto’s chatbot across four messaging channels. The chatbot also decreased Optique’s website bounce-rate by 50% with Proto’s proactive messaging capability.







increase in contact center efficiency


uptick in online booking in 3 months

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About Optique

Optique Optometrists is an innovative, high-quality eye care provider that serves the average South African at an affordable rate. In their own words, they provide “a radical alternative solution” to the 75% of South Africans that simply can’t afford eye care. With the aim to make eye care accessible and simplified, Optique now boasts 23 branches across South Africa.

About Proto

Proto is the leader for multilingual contact centre automation in emerging markets. Proto’s AI Customer Experience (AICX) platform is powered by proprietary natural language processing (NLP) for under-resourced and mixed languages. The Proto team has successfully developed novel deep-learning techniques and regulatory partnerships to maximize patient experience, protection, and lifetime value across 20+ emerging markets.


Optique wanted to reduce the amount of time contact centre agents spent answering repetitive patient queries, and to increase appointment bookings – all while maintaining great patient service.

They needed a scalable, automated solution that would work across the channels where most of their patients were already engaging them, particularly social channels like Facebook, WhatsApp, etc.

Optique had previously used separate contact centre software for managing patient support across multiple channels. While this helped consolidate all patient queries from various channels into one dashboard, it still meant significant manual contact work for their service team.


The Proto team helped Optique implement a patient experience solution that automated appointment booking and patient support queries.

The chatbot was launched on Webchat first, at the same time as Optique rebranded their new website to convert more visitors. Their updated website incorporated Proto's proactive Livechat feature, otherwise known as "sneak peek," to engage visitors as well, leading to a major reduction in their website bounce rate and a significant increase in appointment booking.

In addition to boosting appointment booking, the chatbot assisted patients with frequently asked questions. It was trained on previous queries from social channels in order to automate Optique's most common responses and enable self-serve patient support.

Following a careful observation of improved performance on the website, the AI chatbot was gradually rolled out on WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger over the next few weeks; Proto's multi-channel approach led to similar improvements in patient support across these channels as well. Optique plans to make patient support even more accessible with deployments in local languages in the future.

Optique Optometrists CEO Leon van Vuuren said: "Proto’s chatbot gives Optique the ability to answer queries any time of the day or night quickly, as well as assisting patients to book appointments no matter their choice of communication channel. What stood out as most engaging with Proto is the support we received every step of the way in our vision of making great patient service a reality."


The AI-enabled patient support solution improved on direct KPIs, but also had positive side-effects on unintended metrics like bounce rates, all within 2 months of deployment.

One month after launch, 29% of all Optique's online appointment booking could be attributed to the bot. Three months after launch, 61% of their online appointment bookings were automated by Proto. The chatbot platform achieved:


decrease in website bounce-rate


increase in online appointment booking


daily chats on average


automated query resolution


channels (3 socials, 1 webchat)



Proto's AI patient experience solution updated customer service across Optique's website and social channels. Optique patients can now book appointments and ask questions at any time of day on their preferred channel, and be connected with live support right from the chat window.

Overall, Proto's solution helped Optique Optometrists double down on their mission of affordable eye care, helping keep their contact centre operations efficient without compromising on patient satisfaction.

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