While the rapid rise of ChatGPT has come with its fair share of controversy, the potential of the new AI tool to transform the way businesses interact with customers is considerable. Following Microsoft’s multi-million-pound investment into chatbot developer OpenAI and Google’s subsequent launch of ChatGPT competitor Bard, further advancement in artificial intelligence is inevitable. Although the opportunities seem endless, businesses and consumers should proceed with caution and manage their expectations when it comes to providing and receiving customer service via ChatGPT.
Progressing the conversation
Although a significant disruptor in the AI space, we should not assume that future brand interactions will be facilitated exclusively by ChatGPT. Rather than a magic bullet solution, the sophisticated, human-like nature of ChatGPT has awoken sceptics to the possibilities of chatbot technology, encouraging those slow on the uptake to implement conversational AI tools. While many larger brands have already incorporated AI technology into their customer service offerings, wider implementation of features such as chatbots will serve to increase the number of entry points through which customers can contact a brand, allowing more queries to be resolved and customer satisfaction to be improved on a long-term basis.
>See also: Why the future of service is hybrid
An integrated approach
The central role that ChatGPT is playing in terms of generating momentum for chatbot technology should not be underestimated, especially as more businesses look to foster loyalty with their customers. AI is a crucial piece of this puzzle, on account of its ability to facilitate a fast and smooth communications process. Rather than a cure-all alternative to pre-existing technologies, ChatGPT will be best used when integrated with conversational AI technology to create a balanced solution that can meet the needs of modern consumers.
The human touch
However, increasing demand for AI-powered customer service platforms does not negate the desire for more traditional methods of communication. While ChatGPT has proved extremely successful in capturing the imaginations of internet users, many customers indicate a preference for engaging with a human agent to get their questions answered. Satisfying a diverse customer base with competing demands will require businesses to adopt a flexible approach by having as many entry points as possible to meet customers on their preferred platforms. Ultimately, a combined human-bot approach, offering customers the choice to speak to either a human agent or a chatbot powered by the likes of ChatGPT, will offer a ‘best of both worlds’ solution, helping businesses embed versatile communications into their day-to-day operations.
Solving the problem
Seamless transfer of information is the foundation of excellent customer service. While part of the allure of ChatGPT is its ability to produce a sophisticated response to almost any question, the data-driven, predictive nature of the software sets limitations on its ability to fulfil the function of a virtual customer service assistant. Conversational AI technology is in many ways designed for this purpose, with machine learning models and natural language processing allowing it to act as a problem-solver by guiding consumers through websites. Integrating conversational AI into current tech stacks will enable chatbots to solve user and business-specific queries by drawing on available data, facilitating smoother communications with customers.
In contrast with conversational AI technology, the large language model used by ChatGPT is not designed to be responsive to the type of internal information required to provide an accurate response to customer queries. While this model itself calls the reliability of the technology into question, more troublesome still is the fact that ChatGPT is operating based on a dataset which has not been updated since September 2021. However convincingly answers are presented, the considerable scope for ChatGPT and other chatbots to provide inaccurate or outdated information is a problem for its application to customer service roles, for which accurate and up-to-date information is essential.
The excitement created by ChatGPT is testament to its innovation and increasing influence in the AI space. As the software evolves and more businesses adopt AI technology to improve the customer experience, there is considerable potential for ChatGPT to be integrated with existing conversational AI to facilitate customer service communications. Ultimately, businesses that utilise the benefits of the technology behind ChatGPT to bolster support for human agents will be able to provide a smoother experience and reap the long-term rewards associated with increased customer satisfaction.
James Mathews is UK & Ireland country manager at CM.com.
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