Chatbots: where technology and ethics meet

02 March 2017 • 4 min read
Chatbots: where technology and ethics meet
Andrii Horiachko
Written by Andrii Horiachko
Co-Founder and CTO at Softermii

Customer dissatisfaction stories are quite common. For example, let’s take a case of Stacy, who placed an order with one of the top online merchants. She has been waiting for her new fabulous shoes for a few weeks now but hasn’t yet received a delivery. And she was neither contacted by a delivery service nor has any idea what to do. So, she texts the customer support gasping with frustration.

The answer from the support comes so fast, and that seems a bit weird. But the message is quite considerate and polite. Stacy replies back to the question about her order, and the answer to that is, again, to the point, and even compassionate, as well as quick. How can a person type that quickly? While Stacy is amazed, a picture is received — a screenshot of a map pinpointing the location of her order. Well, the parcel is close, and yes, she can wait for it to be delivered shortly. Stacy cannot believe that just three minutes ago she was so emotional and angry. Now she knows all she needed and sighs with relief.

Actually, Stacy wasn’t talking to a woman. She wasn’t talking to a human at all. Without knowing it, she experienced communication with a high-quality chatbot. And in the nearest future, chatbot development is the core of any customer support team.

This makes us think about complications of this technology and raises some questions:

  • What are the business benefits of using chatbots?
  • What are the disadvantages of artificial intelligence that’s behind it?
  • How can ethical and considerate use of chatbots help to create effective dialog and strengthen the loyalty of customers?

There is a balanced answer to that. But first,

What is a chatbot?

Basically, a chatbot is a piece of software designed for communication with people, through either text messaging or audio conversation. A Chatbot beginner’s guide is a good place to get basic info on the topic. It is the most widely used simple artificial intelligence tool for commercial purposes. Chatbots are used in customer support and payment services, marketing campaigns and smartphone applications. They are the bridge between the complex algorithms and end customers to support, educate, sell and entertain. The advantages of chatbots include:

  • chatbots collect basic data from a conversation with a customer, producing an inquiry resume. This process is based on powerful text- and image-processing algorithms that utilize chatbots’ ability to analyze more data in less time compared to humans;
  • while collecting data from customers’ replies, they also collect even more background data (location, the number of previous inquiries, etc.) to include in the resume;
  • they deliver answers to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) in a live conversation, which is more pleasant to a customer;
  • they work 24/7 and don’t need breaks;
  • they immediately reply to customer’s inquiry;
  • they are a one-time investment;
  • they cover simplistic inquiries to let company’s employees concentrate on really important and complicated tasks;
  • due to the rapid development of technology nowadays, they can even mitigate negative emotions of customers by polite answers;
  • their communication habits can be pre-programmed to represent your brand in a subtle yet effective manner.



The way forward to effective technologies

All these advantages play their role when chatbots are maintained in the right way. You should never rely solely on artificial intelligence; it should always be backed up by humans to ensure the best customer service. In the end, chatbots do have to deliver resumes of the conversations to people. And most of the complicated situations can only be resolved by people.

Think carefully about the meaning and requirements of your brand and the ways AI chatbots can enhance it.

The rule of thumb is — choose the right resource for the right task. You can’t expect chatbot programming to guide your customer through a complicated process if it includes options that are not pre-programmed. You can’t expect it to understand sarcasm. And it this point you most certainly can’t expect it to pass a Turing test, which means at any moment a customer may suspect they aren’t talking to a human. So, simple (yet huge data chunks’ processing) tasks are the way to go for chatbots. Understanding that tool-for-task balance is the frontline of modern technology.

As soon as you believe that artificial intelligence will only bring benefit to your brand and your company — the more important rule comes in: if you use chatbots, use the best-quality ones. Stacy remained happy after the interaction with the chatbot because her query was specific and her negative emotions were basic. It was the example of a high-quality chatbot that was programmed to react to such outbursts. Other, low-quality ones, would have started to behave unreasonably and divert the chat to your human service team member.

Try to use only the best examples of artificial intelligence. Only then the disadvantages of chatbots will fade away, and each customer experience will be the best and the most memorable one. We know this, having tested and implemented several of them. And using the experience we’ve acquired, we can easily create and include a new chatbot into any web solution or piece of software, as we always continue bringing in new ideas to our development and testing processes.

Chatbot picture


The best answer for now?

As long as you use employ the best developers’ team that can create a chatbot that suits your business goals, you can be sure that you have clients on your side. Make chatbots enhance your business possibilities by researching how they can be used in the best way. After all, that’s what company at the forefront of modern technology do.

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