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BizReport : Ecommerce : March 04, 2020

Expert: Bots should be less human

While artificial intelligence has been shown to be a big help in brands bringing ad campaigns in at scale and with more engagement, one expert believes AI can be a hindrance in at least one area: customer service. That's because AI-powered bots can appear too human, and complicate customer service in ways that are harming brands.

by Kristina Knight

According to digital expert Erik Ashby, brands and marketers need to re-think their use of bots in customer service, especially in regards to more in-depth consumer needs.

"The general goal of the industry is to make bots more human-like, but when we actually look at the humans working in call centers, the humans are performing robotic tasks -- reading through a script and following a workflow. Our goal is to make humans less robotic by diverting the mundane, repeatable tasks to automations, which will allow humans to do what they do best -- be more creative, show more feeling, and make a real impact," said Erik Ashby, Director of Product, Helpshift.

That isn't to say that all bots should be removed. According to Ashby, bots simply need a more focused approach and a specific task function that will help the consumer reach a real human faster.

"We see brands having a huge impact on both the customer experience and the cost of support by using chatbots to handle the initial triage dialog of a conversation. The AI will focus the conversation and the process oriented chatbot will collect data through a series of menus and input selections," said Ashby.

He points to the IBM Watson bot, which won the TV trivia show Jeopardy but didn't function well at all when employed as a customer service bot.

"For example, when IBM's Watson was unveiled and won Jeopardy, the world was astounded that a machine could be so "intelligent" and hypothesized all sorts of use-cases for the technology. But when Watson was applied to customer support, it wasn't focused, was far too complicated and wasn't proving useful to brands," said Ashby.

Tags: advertising, chatbots, customer service, customer service bot, ecommerce, HelpShift

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