CEO of struggling company replaces support staff with AI chatbot

Originally published at: CEO of struggling company replaces support staff with AI chatbot | Boing Boing


That’s not true. He says that humans took two minutes to respond, while the chat bot does so instantly. Humans needed two hours to resolve customer issues, while the bot needed three minutes.

That doesn’t mean that the issues were resolved to the customers ’ satisfaction, of course.


Mean Beavis And Butthead GIF by Paramount+


In my experience of using AI driven chatbot customer service, my issue gets resolved once I’ve fucked around for 5 minutes to get the AI to route me through to a human who can actually deal with the problem.


Answers: $1. Short: $5. Correct: $25. Dumb looks: Free.

I think the bot was giving answers quickly. Whether they are correct answers is another question.


A “struggling company,” you say? I’m sure the former employees are saying, “You killed my regular paycheck…”

die the princess bride GIF


Maybe I’m just falling victim to the Dunning-Customer effect and overestimating myself; but, if only because contacting support is already so painful, I can’t think of any occasions when I’ve talked to a support human before exhausting attempts to figure it out myself.

Unless their FAQs are abysmal or they’ve handed a bot the keys to do things like issue refunds I’m not sure how it is actually helping anyone. You don’t call support for information; you call support because something is too screwed up to be handled by standard means.

If these guys are doing e-commerce hosting I wouldn’t be at all surprised if some of their ‘invisible’ customer support is being done by the too-unsexy-to-be-called-‘AI’ automation that allows complex IT systems to (at least sometimes) react to exceptions without needing an admin to do every step manually; but if the problem has bubbled up to the point where the user wants to talk to someone about it clearly bots have failed.


Presumably the remaining 10% of support staff were retained to feed, water and cater to the needs of the chatbot. Hopefully all the responses given to customers refer them back to the homepage of the website they are already on. That’s been my experience with “Chat Help”.


There is no way the chat bot is outperforming humans on quality. There is also no way that this ends well for the “struggling company”.


If it’s that easy to automate his company’s technical support group (leaving aside the question of how effective that automation is in terms of customer satisfaction), how long before AICEO replaces this guy (AI chatbot is the new small shell script?)


You know, if the goal is just to get customers off your back without it mattering whether their issues actually get resolved or not, you don’t have to use AI, you could just eliminate customer service altogether. It was all the rage during the pandemic and many companies made it a permanent feature to this day.


The AI made me do it.


Elon replaced staff with a poop emoji, and thus started a trend.


I look forward to the inevitable news that it has collapsed.

Adding gasoline to an already burning fire is a helluva ‘strategy…’


Look, sometimes your ship is taking on water and you need to jettison some weight. And yeah, sailors will tell you that weight shouldn’t be things like “the engines” or “the bilge pumps”, but what would they know?


I for one welcome our infinite stock image warehousing and generative overlords, I mean partners and definitely non-sentient tools. ahem

A year or so ago I was messing with craiyon, stable diffusion and some other tools. Interesting but not useful. Midjourney changed all that for me. I’ve subscribed for a few months and LOVE IT. As a designer and illustrator I love new and more powerful tools. But that’s all they are so far in my industry. Haven’t used ChatGPT at all yet (mb for a start on some coding of a certain project?)

tbc, nothing I’ve generated has been 100% perfect right out of the prompt. I usually generate a ton of crap until it starts looking like what I want. Then it is the usual process of retouching, bringing this piece together with that actual photo or other imagery, recombining, editing, composing. It truly is a giant almost infinite image stockpile with a RNG djinni/shoggoth squatting on the skinny end of the pipe…

I’m currently generating holiday cookies from around the world for a children’s ballet nutcracker program. It works about 50% of the time (meaning I can generate the kind and style of cookie I want vs just a stock image search and some retouching). I’d love a 2X size option and happy to pay for it in GPU minutes! Free AI upscales are a good stopgap but integrated would be better.

We’ll see where Adobe takes this…

Remember when all those companies had a web 3.0 thing or NFT then quietly scrapped it all?

It’s going to be a fun 2025 when this company is either out of business or having to hire all their staff back.


Because the chatbot cannot come up with an original response, only parrot and paraphrase an existing answer it has somewhere in the database that feeds it. It’s frankly scary how many people, especially powerful ones, who completely fail to get this. I’m exhausted from explaining to c-suite leaders that ChatGPT cannot replace the people who handle incoming boxes because the computer doesn’t have freaking hands, among other reasons.


Yeah, the purpose of most “customer service” is to act like a wall between the user and solutions. This is just fortifying that wall.


The company I work for has been using a keyword-based helpline chatbot system for several years, and I can say from first-hand experience that it can handle the easy IT/IS problems - the ones that are preprogrammed as the “Top Ten” or easily recognizable single-keyword requests. BUT as soon as you ask the chatbot about a problem it has never seen before, or is complex and involves multiple keywords, a human helper has to intervene. And forget it if the humans are all busy, or at lunch, or short-staffed, or on vacation, or otherwise unavailable (laid off, perhaps?)

And what happens if the chatbot answer is crap and the person seeking help doesn’t report it as crap? Guess. The chatbot program assumes the solution is great, it becomes part of the database, and eventually (quickly) the database becomes one steaming pile. Recursive logic will be the death of this “AI”, being a closed system with no human input.