ChatGPT’s New Role: Customer Service

By: James Flippin · January 25, 2023 · Reading Time: 3 minutes

Starting a New Role

ChatGPT — a buzzy chatbot developed by OpenAI, powered by machine learning and massive investments from Microsoft (MSFT) – has impressed people with its ability to understand informal human-sounding prompts and provide highly articulate responses.

ChatGPT also separates itself from similar bots by challenging premises, rejecting inappropriate requests, and even admitting its own mistakes. That said, it’s known to be confidently wrong at times as well, in what is perhaps its most human-esque characteristic.

So far, outside of entertaining users across the internet, ChatGPT has been used primarily by IT businesses to help engineers arrange code more efficiently. Some companies are now considering offering ChatGPT an expanded role into the customer service department.

Chatbot Here, How May I Help You?

Online chatbots gained steam on the internet half a decade ago. Companies jumped at the potential of replacing an entire labor-intensive department — customer service — with a single piece of software. But if you’ve experimented with chatbots, you know their use cases are limited. Executives are hoping that more sophisticated options like ChatGPT could change that.

That said, many companies are proceeding with caution, hesitant to become too reliant on AI services. If ChatGPT were to make one of its confidently false assertions at the wrong company or the wrong time, it could be costly.

Emotional support app Koko has already gotten a taste of this. When users of the app found out that the heartfelt messages they were receiving had been created with the help of ChatGPT, the company faced swift backlash.

Continuing Education

Even if it doesn’t take the reins, ChatGPT will likely soon influence customer service departments, much as it has already impacted the tech, writing, and even education industries.

That said, ChatGPT is by no means on track to replace humans entirely. A human touch will be needed for the foreseeable future to monitor the chatbot’s conversations and make necessary changes to its responses and algorithm, such as removing bugs and installing updates.

Finally, as the Koko fiasco exemplified, when reaching out to ask for help, there’s no real replacement for an empathetic person on the other end. On the other hand, integrating ChatGPT may be a blessing to those service reps used to dealing with customers who don’t exactly inspire empathy.

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