Robots have been making headlines recently as they are becoming more prevalent day-to-day with their increased use in apps. Robot customer service is specially designed to automate responses to users, taking over these “boring jobs” from humans.
On the one hand you have users looking for real responses, yet receiving synthetic ones. And on the other, we have apps like Kik, an app that allows users to play games and interact with brands instead of talking to real friends. So, where do we stand?
We have compiled a comprehensive list of pros and cons to help you understand the rise of these automated systems.
Cons of robot customer service
Microsoft recently tested out their Artificial Intelligence robot, named Tay, on Twitter. She is designed to have the appearance of a teenage girl and generates her responses from what she learned through conversations with other humans on Twitter.
Online, people tend to lack inhibitions and therefore they’ve said some odd things to her, which she in turn incorporates into her language. This resulted in Tay saying some inappropriate things less than 24 hours after stating how much she loved humans. The Telegraph reported that she made some controversial political claims about Hitler and Donald Trump. She has since been taken offline.
The obvious problem here is creating real, meaningful interactions with customers. We have often seen how some of the best customer experiences are things that cannot be automated, but require a thoughtful touch.
Positive points for robot customer service
With bots around to do basic and sometimes banal jobs, it leaves more room for growth as humans. Jobs seen as tedious, like customer service and dealing with complaints, may get repetitive over time. However, with the use of bots they won’t tire of answering the same menial questions daily.
This allows us to focus on much more sophisticated tasks, shortening the time it takes to do things, and radically increasing productivity.
Bots are also bringing companies and their clients closer together, opening up new channels of communication. For example, Gareth Kay, co-founder of Chapter, a business consultancy in San Francisco said, “Facebook, with its ecosystem, is going to have a much more dramatic impact in bringing bots to a broad audience and brands who want to use it as a platform.”
Robot customer service done right
Another tech company that makes use of bots is Slack. They have since partnered with Taco Bell and allow users to order their lunch through the application without leaving their computers. The whole process will be done through a conversation with a bot.
Uber is following in these strides, as you can now order your Uber from the Facebook messenger app without closing it. Everlane, a clothing line, has also become part of it, allowing users to track their order on Facebook. Bloomberg states that “WeChat users throughout Asia communicate regularly with bots to search for jobs, shop for clothes, or just kill a few minutes trying to outwit an artificial-intelligence being.”
Bots are opening up a whole new era of communication, which is a huge step forward in technology with great benefits if successful. And so we wait in anticipation for the release of Facebook’s chat bots. But how far will it go, and to what extent will bots replace human relationships?