ApologyBot brings sensitivity to client experienceby
A ground-breaking ApologyBot® is being tested in demanding customer service environments this spring.
Silicon Valley programmers are determined to disprove the conventional wisdom that AI can’t handle customer service by developing ApologyBot, an online text assistant that can not only help with traditional service enquiries, but also intervene with appropriate apologies and offers of restitution.
Too often, online bots fail to recognise the intractable problems customers face when they encounter situations that were not anticipated by the automated system designers - like, for example, the online shopping system that doesn’t recognise a new address and can’t be updated by the customer who doesn’t have internet access yet.
Poorly implemented chatbots have systematically ruined customer experiences and – in the worst instances customer service bots are little more than “virtual idiots”, according to our sister site MyCustomer.com
However Greg Kefer, chief marketing officer of chatbot developer LifeLink said that Covid-19 has altered the equation in the healthcare sector: “Almost overnight, millions of patients were using chatbots as they sought guidance about coronavirus symptoms. The bots met extreme conversational demand in a time when human teams were in extremely short supply. Now the question being asked is what else these virtual agents can do in other areas.”
Enter Andy, the ApologyBot. While some effort has to go into programming industry-specific scenarios and knowledge into its logic engine, the flexibility built into its patented emotional machine learning algorithms will adapt rapidly to most customer scenarios, the developers said (see example, right).
A couple of years ago, HMRC toyed with a cartoon-based chatbot called Ruth to field taxpayers’ questions online. Like many other early experiments, the prototype didn’t come to much, but our sources indicated that if the ApologyBot proves itself in other environments, the tax department might be willing to roll it out to supplement overstretched helpline teams during tax season.
Who knows, if things develop as the ApologyBot team hopes, maybe one day bots will get involved in the tax appeals process?
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