Sunday, 25 June 2017


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As already explored previously in this blog  , I experience different reactions to webchat. Some organisations love it, others shun it, as it’s not really channel shift.

Sometimes the webchat experience is very good and the customer (or prospect) receives their advice in a timely way. On other occasions, it can be a bit like the disjointed one below.

You can see how webchat using customer services operators, can fall well short.

That’s why webchat is becoming superseded by the chatbot.

At this point, I would ask if you are in customer services, it’s worth taking a comfy seat, for reading the remainder of the blog.

Chatbots are becoming widespread in the states. In fact a colleague was telling me that when hiring a car, (or rather an automobile) recently, a break-down was dealt with fully just by chatbots. It worked well for him too.

Chatbots are coming here. In their simplest form, they are computer programmes that can talk for your organisation, in a limited context. They use artificial intelligence (AI) and are generally designed to be self-learning.

Context is important, as it accurately targets the useful zone of engagement. Readers familiar with Red Dwarf and the Talky Toaster, will understand what I mean. Imagine such a machine, just able to talk about toasting crumpets, bagels, waffles and rolls, and that being the machines’ only programmed purpose in life.
A useful chatbot, will chat about services, products and customer’s needs. The first one to emerge in the UK, for active use is at Enfield Council. It’s called Amelia. Cunningly named down the early end of the alphabet, like Amazons Alexa, it is designed to have many thousands of conversations, simultaneously.

Here she is, made digital pixelised flesh.

It will be used to help residents find information online and fill in forms, guiding users through a chat feature on their computer screen. For the moment, any questions Amelia cannot answer will be referred to a human colleague.

Amelia will be able to learn however.

It is said to be 60 percent cheaper than using a human worker, although the council has not divulged how much has been paid for the software. Enfield council are facing budget cuts of £56m over the next four years and has made nearly 350 redundancies in the past year.

This might be the development that has one of the widest effects on so many customer service teams and departments, in the coming years. With webchat we were playing with the future, chatbots will be most likely be AI replacing customer service bums on seats.

It will be interesting how this all unfolds, as costs plummet. Read more on Amelia at Enfield here.

Related Post: Is our ICT training broken? 


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New York Dolls – ChatterboxNew York Dolls – Chatterbox.
(c) Tony Smith, Acutance Consulting 07854-655009

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