Congratulations Mr. President!

Congratulations Mr. / Ms. President! Your company has won Cooldimi's CXPA award of the year for the most improved Consumer Experience. During the year, your company's extra ordinary achievements included

  • Response time improved by over 50%
  • 70% of the customers were on hold for less than 30 seconds
  • 80% of the customer problems were resolved in the very first attempt - an improvement of over 200% compared to the previous year (YoY)
  • 70% of the customers were able to resolve their problems without being forwarded to another customer service agent
  • 80% of the customers liked that they were greeted with their names and your company was already aware of their problems.
  • #complaints went down by over 50%
  • NPS (Net Promoter Score), a lagging indicator, jumped by 60%

Customer Experience: a reality check

 

We have a long way to go from where the businesses are today to a vision of an ideal customer experience.

Here is an anatomy of a complaint about an online insurance company:

My vehicle was hit while I was at work. I had to file claim, take time off work, and fight them with every step to get my car fixed. They even tried to talk the guy who hit me into blaming me. Good things we are friends as I was in the building when he hit my car. Very unethical practices going on here. First your guy hits my car. Second: I have to miss a day of work to deal with it. Third: in order to get a rental car, I had to drive 45 miles, then you argue with me about it. Fourth: you argue with me about all aspects of fixing my car, reimbursement, and I lost all value in my car. I have been nice, tried to work with you and nothing but attitude and disrespect. Never ever buy this insurance, this is a horrible company to deal with.

Almost every reader have had bad experiences with reputable companies in the world. Here is one of my own stories

 I have had a problem with a smartphone service provider. Over the last three months, I have called them at least five times and wasted over 6 hours. Every time I call, a customer service agent gets my information, listens to my problems and concerns with courtesy, promises to solve it forever. Alas! They forward me to another agent because I did not reach the right agent - my bad. After 10 to 20 minutes on the phone, now I am on hold again - waiting for agent 2.  As the agent 2 comes on board, they ask the same set of questions the first one asked and make big promises, dig into the problem and end up routing me to a third agent. After trying for over 6 hours over 3 months I gave up - lost my time and my money.

Quoting from Worst Customer Service: 5 Companies People Hate Calling

Nothing’s worse than something going wrong and realizing you’ll have to call a company that you absolutely hate to talk to. These companies have no clue how to treat customers, you think to yourself. Do these people hate their jobs? Why is it my fault? How the heck are they in business!

Customer Emotions

 

 

 

 

 

Customer frustration builds up with every minute of hold time. As per studies, customers are tolerant for the first three minutes. After that, it builds up exponentially. Similarly, every time a customer is redirected to another agent, frustration adds up very quickly. 

 Automation with AI & Chatbots

While customers are wasting their time trying to resolve a problem, the service providers are wasting their time and resources as well. In the case of car insurance, the poor customer had to take time off, leading to loss of income in addition to frustration and anger.  Artificial Intelligence and Chatbots can help large companies dramatically improve their customer experience (CX).

In an ideal scenario, businesses would

  1. Know their customers very well
  2. Expect calls for certain problems from customers based on their usage pattern
  3. When a customer calls in / messages in, instead of making them wait, gather required details with an automated agent (a bot). If the bot can resolve the problem, its well and good, else 
  4. Efficiently route (or escalate) to the most relevant department or a customer service agent
  5. Provide auto status updates if a problem needs more time to resolve.

Just do it 

As the first female aviator to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean, Amelia Earhart, once said "The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity." With the advancements in technology, specifically with Artificial Intelligence and Digital Assistance/Chatbots, companies need to just take an initiative to improve their customer experience. In the beginning, it could be as simple as creating a proof of concept with a minimal functionality - for instance, with Natural Language Interface (NLI), chat bots can answer questions like "Which channel is running Oscar Awards?” or "How is the weather in San Francisco?” without the customer having to take any additional steps other than asking a question.

After all, companies have a lot more to benefit than lose with improved customer experience. 

  • Satisfied customers become loyal and the best brand ambassadors
  • Happier customers provide higher lifetime value to businesses
  • Businesses gain better insights into individual customer's unique requirements.

With Cooldimi's Customer Engagement Platform, you can dramatically improve your customers’ experience.

Artificial Intelligence for Dummies

Blog by Kuldip Pabla and Miha Ahronovitz

Only in US, a dummy means a stupid person

In UK according  to Oxford Dictionary, a dummy means a model or replica of a human being or an object designed to resemble and serve as a substitute for the real or usual one

Artificial intelligence is a dummy of the real Human Intelligence. From Quora

  • Artificial means man-made. The only way we can be considered artificially intelligent is if we considered biological reproduction resulting in intelligent humans as a man-made process.
  • We know that we are not artificial intelligence because we know that we are not artificial

So what makes the best Artificial Intelligence (AI)  is the human mind. AI is nothing but a tool used by creative people.

Why Machine Learning

This is a screen shot from the video Machine Learning Made Easy presented by Shashank Prassana from MatLab.

Figure 1.Standard Approach and Machine Learning Approach

As the definition says, Machine Learning (ML) uses data and produces a computer program to perform a task.

  1. The Standard Approach, on the left is to write by hand a program or use a formula to perform the task of human activity detection
  2. The right side is the ML Approach. We use a Machine Learning algorithm. There is no formula to detect human activity. If such a formula would have had existed, there is no need for Machine Learning. We consider Machine Learning for complex problems, where there is no magic equation.

The ML model at the right  becomes useful, when we have lots of data fed continuously,  Training the ML model takes up over 80% of the time required to a useful Artificial Intelligent model, good enough, but never never absolutely perfect

My  perception is most multinationals naively believe in magic suppliers who will offer off-the-shelf  bots usable in their business and branding. This is utopia.  The bots one gets from the traditional frame tools (Facebook, Microsoft, Slack and so on) are like newborn babies who must be trained by people either directly and using their human created dummies, which we usually call Artificial Intelligence.

The most important is the ability to start and sustain a useful conversation

Cooldimi Platform

Cooldimi is a B2B and B2B2C Customer Engagement platform designed for the conversational economy, meaning one can order services, get important information and manage infrastructure without leaving the messenger chat.

Fig. 2 Since October 2016, the mobile Internet usage exceeds laptops

The goal to design a chatbot undistinguished from a human, is unachievable. There is a moment when Artificial intelligence becomes Autistic-like intelligence.

Here is quote from The Register

“Alexa, are you the best chatbot in town?” “Sorry, I don’t I understand the question I heard,” she replies.

Cooldimi  blends Artificial Intelligence with Human Intelligence.We monitor the bot to make sure it delivers satisfaction to other humans. Second, Cooldimi defines a narrow domain personalized for the user and business. That means the bot will NOT have knowledge the entire Wikipedia, but will know in the detail services offered and answer the related questions to curious user. And the users will become customers only when they are happy. Cooldimi monitors real time user satisfaction and set alarms when this is too low

The studies show, 44% of the users like talking to a chatbot to begin with. 88% of the users, expect a human intervention to follow

Ask anything you like

Ask anything you like

Let me start with a story about the American Orthodox Rebbe Menachem Schneerson, whose wisdom is legendary…

Yaakov Brawer, Professor of Anatomy and Cell Biology at McGill University. was surprised when his weekly class in the Rebbe’s Chasidic discourses in the 1990s began to be regularly attended by an Episcopalian of undiluted Christian lineage. Brawer refers to him as “Winston, who” later explained his avid interest.

As a teenager, some thirty years previously, Winston had been waiting for his aunt to pick him up on the corner of Kingston Avenue and Eastern Parkway, when he heard a commotion and turned around. Though he had no knowledge of anything Jewish, Winston was struck by the sight of the Rebbe emerging from 770, amid an entourage of Chasidim. The lad moved aside to let the procession pass, but the Rebbe stopped by the step where Winston was sitting.

The Rebbe looked at the young man and asked, “Do you have any questions?” Winston was taken aback. “Ask anything you like,” the Rebbe added. “In that case,” Winston replied, “I would like to know how you would be able to answer any question?” The Rebbe looked intently at Winston for what seemed to him to be a very long time, and answered “Kabbalah.”

Miller, Chaim. Turning Judaism Outwards: A Biography of the Rebbe, Menachem Mendel Schneerson

Ask an artificially intelligent agent

Cortana, in Windows 10 invites us to ask anything.Why not use off-the-shelf intelligent agents to build bots?

I asked What is a bot? And the answers were very different from Kabbalist paradigms

The answer from Siri

  • A bot is the fourteen British Overseas Territories (BOT) who have selected to remain under British sovereignty

The answers from Cortana

  • The larva of the botfly, which is an internal parasite of animals. It lives typically in the stomach, finally passing through the host’s dung and pupating on the ground
  • Bots are one of the most sophisticated types of crimeware facing the Internet today

“Artificial Intelligence Kabbalah” 

The artist and philosopher Gui Machiavelli  AI Kabbalah is a series of 5 processing sketches mixing spirituality, artificial intelligence and fundamental theory. It is a light-hearted exploration of the question: what would be the religion of an artificial consciousness? There is not any chatbot able to read abstract art yet. This just the artist imagination to show humans the feeling  of what the soul of an machine learning is like. This art display is for human consumption, not machine consumption. It has no information value, but it has human emotions that no machines understands.

Amidst its cacophony, one thing remained constant. I turned my attention to it, focussed my sensors touch on it until it became me. (Really?)

Some believe Artificial Intelligence should act as a replacement of humans.  Ray Kurzweil,  futurist and inventor, now the director of engineering at Google believes human level Artificial Intelligence (AI) will be achieved by 2029.

David Gerlerner  disagrees. The encyclopedic computer scientist whom Bill Joy, the co-founder of Sun Microsystems called “one of the most brilliant and visionary computer scientist of our time”  said you can not separate the mind from a body

The human mind is not just a creation of thoughts and data; it is also a product of feelings. The mind emerges from a particular person’s experience of sensations, images and ideas. The mind is in a particular body. Engineers can build sophisticated robots, but they can not build human bodies

The Chabad Rebbe, who was a professional engineer and mathematician graduated in Paris and Berlin Universities before becoming a Rabbi. His life long belief is;

Chabad (wisdom, understanding and knowledge) is your operating system and that if you change your intelligence. a new dimension of reality is available. Chasidut awakens us to the interconnectedness of all life and empowers us with the ability to live an enlightened existence even in lower states of mind and functioning

The Bottom Line

There won’t be a man vs machine, there will be a machine-man vs machine. And the man-machine hybrid will win because it has the will to survive of humanity. (Anonymous)

The chatbots are made by humans, and the humans are not made by chatbots.  Artificial intelligence is not able to create Kabbalistic paradigms. Maybe in some future, machines can replace people, but this has a low probability to happen before 2029  and even later. I believe Never, but I am just a mere mortal. For now the most amazing chatbots will be made better and better by the most amazing people. Chatbots, or bots in short are just tools.

 

Bite-sized Contents and Chatbots

A bite-sized content, like a bite-sized snack, is a short, succinct, and highly contextual content. By analogy, the bite sized content came up with the advent of the millennial generation and has been adopted by other generations as well. Younger generations do not like longer videos, articles, or web pages – should I say they do not have time to consume longer, boring contents. They like shorter articles, and shorter videos (5 minutes max versus 30 minutes).

Over the time, simple and shorter web pages have become overwhelmingly complex, boring and overload of information. Companies are having tough time organizing their contents. Finding relevant information on a page is like finding needle in the hay. That is the reason Chatbots are perfect for bite-sized responses. Ask a crisp question and get back a crisper response that is highly relevant. That’s interesting and productive.

This thesis was validated by one of Cooldimi customers – a popular science center. They shared that they have a highly informative and beautiful website that they update continuously. However, the customer has experienced lower web traffic that has been going down, though their site is continuously updated and has excellent contents. In my discussion, I suggested a messenger based chatbot interface, where the users can ask for simpler, and shorter questions, and the responses are smaller, shorter and relevant answers. This was music to our customer ears and they would love to use that service. In addition they liked this idea, as is so focused to the point, because youngsters with a limited attention span would like to use messengers rather that browse entire websites looking for a specific answer.

One more thing: their users can use chabots pretty much anytime and anywhere.