The Turing Test was developed by Alan Turing, an English scientist in 1950.  It was designed to test the ability of a machine to exhibit intelligent, humanlike behavior.  To pass the test, a computer would need to be mistaken for a human more than 30% of the time during a series of five-minute keyboard conversations.

An aspirational benchmark to be sure, but does this even matter?  Don’t most consumers know that they are communicating with a machine when they utilize chat, at least at first?  If the customer is happy with the outcome, does it really matter how ‘humanlike’ the chat was?  Is it more important to appear human or to successfully answer the needs of your customer?

One goal of using Conversational AI, specifically customer service chatbots should be to answer the questions repeatedly asked, and if needed, create a seamless, natural handoff to a CSR for more detailed questions and scheduling service.  Everyone talks about great customer service, the wow factor, the pixie dust experience.  But simply, customers want their questions answered and their service booked as quickly as possible.  They want someone to value their time, and to show empathy for their problems.  Machines aren’t there yet, and I don’t see it coming anytime soon.  However, using CAI to free up time, allowing your CSR to focus on the needs of the customer, creates the foundation for a strong, lifetime customer.

Conversational AI in business is on the rise.  It is important to reach your customers on the platforms they already use.  A few things to remember:

  • Moderation is key. CAI should be used to enhance the customer experience, not become it.
  • Easily transition to a real person. The most frustrating part of CAI is the ‘I am not sure I understood you’ loop.  Make it easy and clear from the beginning how to reach customer support, and if they aren’t available, let the customer know that too.
  • Allow the customer to be in charge. Most people can’t or won’t answer their phone if it rings.  Text messaging, online scheduling, and online chat are passive ways to provide information to your customer, allowing them to respond at their convenience.

Even if you decide that you aren’t ready for this technology now, it is important to stay aware of what is happening in this field.  If used correctly, CAI can and will provide better customer experiences at increasingly lower costs.