I'm not a chat bot. I'm human. 

I'm not a chat bot. I'm human. 

AI in E-Commerce

Recently I had an insightful communication with a chat bot. A payment provider wanted me to pay for ordered goods and sent me a reminder via e-mail. Unnecessarily so, because I had already returned the goods. Obviously the payment provider didn´t know about it, so I visited their website, which prominently provided a chat bot.

In order to quickly fix my issue, I chose the offered communication channel, and found it rather automated. Questions about order data appeared in a millisecond — as well as the information about invoice amount and payment terms.

But when I answered, "No, I won’t to pay since I have returned the goods already", the chat bot fell silent. No quick automated answer this time. “I need a moment to think” it stated. To be precise, the moment took 12 minutes.

Finally, “Kristin” answered. Friendly and competently, she informed me that I should have reported the return myself to the payment provider. Good to know. Presumably, it´s said so in the fine print. But who reads that? Kristin provided me with a link to register the return and closed the issue with “a nice day”.

Chat bots can be an exciting option for companies that want to limit involvement of human resources for simple and redundant tasks in order to increase efficiency. However, the example above also shows that the potential by far isn´t leveraged yet. On the other hand AI isn´t just about adding a few more if/then algorithms. Intershop and KPMG present in Paris how to use AI and chat bots to boost online business. It may help to make people be able to focus on more complex issues than mine.

So far, though, I cherished the human touch above efficiency. But the chat with Kristin was friendly and efficient. "Thank you. You are a great bot", I resumed. "I am not a chat bot. I am human!” Kristin replied with a smiley face.

If you want to learn how to use chat bots and AI for your business, want to see customer cases and listen to expert presentations, then let’s meet in Paris on May 13.

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