Customer experience chatbots that not only fail to deliver but also fall short of their human counterparts are the bane of CX designers' vision of an automated future.
Now, the arrival of generative AI technology is promising to correct dysfunctional chatbots' missteps, ease the burden on overworked and underappreciated human customer service agents and satisfy frustrated consumers.
But CX expert Don Fluckinger, a veteran tech journalist who has also worked as a CX industry analyst, casts a skeptical eye on claims made on behalf of generative AI and takes a cautionary view of automation and chatbots themselves.
"Losing jobs is never all right," Fluckinger said on TechTarget News' Targeting AI podcast. "But would it be OK for generative AI to more effectively answer customer questions so that humans could monitor what it's doing and not spewing out deceptive or wrong information? That would be good."
Many call centers already have AI-powered interactive voice response (IVR) systems, Fluckinger noted.
And yet, these don't work all that well.
"I've seen demos of these at conferences, on exhibition floors. I've read about them, but I have never run into it in real life yet," Fluckinger said. "The IVRs I hit are always pretty dumb."
Meanwhile, better IVR systems could be on the horizon, and generative AI could help.
Fluckinger noted, though, that while better call center and other CX platforms infused with generative AI technology are coming, they have to be tested and integrated with current systems.
And, finally, companies have to buy the new technology. But the industry isn't there yet.
Note: At the time this podcast was recorded, Fluckinger was a CX analyst for TechTarget's Enterprise Strategy Group. He now covers digital experience systems, end-user computing and the CPU/GPU market for TechTarget Editorial's news unit.
Shaun Sutner is senior news director for TechTarget Editorial's enterprise AI, business analytics, data management, customer experience and unified communications coverage areas. Esther Ajao is a TechTarget news writer covering artificial intelligence software and systems. Together, they host the "Targeting AI" podcast series.