Why ChatGPT Won’t Be Taking Over Customer Service Jobs Any Time Soon
Technology advances in incredible and nearly unbelievable ways every single day, and while that sparks excitement and anticipation for many, it can also spark anxiety for others. More specifically, there have always been worries about what more advanced technology might do to the labor force and to the labor market. With increasingly automated registers and even stores, it seems that this fear isn’t exactly missing the mark. All of this considered, what does the rise of ChatGPT mean for customer service?
To save you some suspense: don’t worry. ChatGPT isn’t taking over customer service jobs anytime soon, and for good reason. While the AI bot has a lot to offer, even in the customer service space, there are some key limitations that keep it from being able to replace good ol’ human interaction as things stand.
Perhaps the most blatant limitation the AI chatbot faces is that it is trained on old data. Machine learning, put simply, is a very advanced form of pattern recognition. In order for AI bots like ChatGPT to “know” what to respond to, it has to have trained on millions and millions of examples beforehand. Further, this data pool is limited, and it’s specifically cut off at a certain date, too.
This means that ChatGPT is great at combing through a vast universe of data points to find you quick and succinct answers to various questions, just as long as it doesn’t need relatively recent data to do so. This means that, especially with brands and services that change their products, information, and messaging regularly, ChatGPT simply does not have the capacity or capability to provide updated and accurate information that will be helpful to customers and clients. While this might not be out of the question for AI bots in general, ChatGPT specifically is not ready to be rolled out this way—and other existing AI bots don’t really compare, anyway.
Another important limitation ChatGPT faces is that, functionally, the bot is more a proof of concept than a fully functional service. One of the big markers of this limitation is ChatGPT’s questionable accuracy. For the most part, the bot will give you fairly accurate and acceptable responses, especially for more general questions. However, there is plenty of evidence scattered across the internet that, sometimes, the bot is simply incorrect.
There are a lot of technical reasons for why this happens, and GPT-4 promises to provide a much higher degree of accuracy and reliability, but the main thing to know is that ChatGPT can just get things wrong sometimes. Humans get things wrong sometimes too, but if we’re worried about AI replacing us, we can take comfort in knowing that these AI chats slip up just like us.
Again, this is not to say that AI chats can’t and won’t become more accurate than human customer service agents, GPT-4 might be getting dangerously close, but the technology just isn’t there yet in any case. For now, ChatGPT in the customer service seat would be more of a gimmick than actually effective.
Personalization and Nuance Limitations
Finally, a human connection is still important—or at least the illusion of humanity. People get upset when their customer service rep is a robot, and for good reasons. For one, the comfort of knowing there is somebody else on the other side of the line (or chat) helping you through every step is critical to many. Again, GPT-4 promises the ability to stylize the chat’s communication style but, as things are now, ChatGPT’s responses would continue to be kind of stale and robotic. Unless this is your exact branding, that doesn’t exactly do wonders for the customer experience.
Another thing is that machine learning, to some extent, works on precedent. This means that, as long as there’s a clearly defined protocol or a history of a specific issue coming up, an AI customer service rep would probably be able to help. However, we often call customer service when the steps aren’t well-defined, and we’ve gotten ourselves into a bit of protocol limbo. It’s hard to know just how well an AI chat would fare in these kinds of situations, and it’s comforting to know that, most likely, good old human ingenuity is probably still the champion in this case.
Make no mistake, automation can be a real threat to workers if employers are more concerned with cutting costs than they are with preserving a real human connection. As we venture further into the world of automation, it’s important to do so carefully and empathetically. That said, when it comes to customer service, ChatGPT still has a bit of onboarding to take care of.
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