September 29, 2014

Talk To The Hand

So you know the saying "Talk to the hand, because the face ain't home..."?

Well IPSoft has an artificial intelligence agent called Amelia that handles service requests. 

Instead of talking to a human customer service rep, you get to talk to a computer. 

The question is whether Amelia is like talking to a hand or is someone really home when using IA to adroitly address your service issues?

Now apparently, according to the Wall Street Journal, this computer is pretty smart and can ingest every single manual and prior service request and learn how to answer a myriad of questions from people. 

On one hand, maybe you'll get better technical knowledge and more consistent responses by talking to a computerized service representative.

But on the other hand, if the interactive voice response systems with the dead end menus of call options, endless maze of "If you want to reach X, press Y now" along with all the disconnects after being on for 10 minutes already are any indication of what this, I am leery to say the least. 

The Telegraph does says that Amelia can service customers in 20 languages and after 2 months, can resolve 64% of "the most common queries" independently, so this is hopeful and maybe even inspiring of what is to come. 

These days, based on how much time we spend online in the virtual world, I think most people would actually prefer to talk to a knowledgeable computer than a smart alec human who doesn't want to be handling annoying customer calls all day, anyway. 

The key to whether Amelia and her computerized brothers and sisters of the future will be successful is not only how quickly they can find the correct answer to a problem, but also how well they can understand and address new issues that haven't necessarily come up the same way before, and how they handle the emotions of the customer on the line who wishes they didn't have the problem needing this call to begin with. ;-)

(Source Photo: here with attribution to Vernon Chen)

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