Bad Support Bots

William Hamilton bill at
Fri Jan 15 17:01:54 UTC 2010

On 15/01/2010 16:57, Michael Thomas wrote:

> The difference is that nobody wants to "talk" to a robot when they're
> the victim
> of a false positive which is causing business impacting interruption. A
> robot is not
> empowered to go beyond its instructions, and if it's programmed either
> wrong or with
> inadequate nuance, there is no escalation.

Sure, and that's understandable.

> Let's not forget that IVR mazes and their modern day counterparts have
> been built in
> large part not to resolve problems but to reduce the cost of "support"
> by expensive human
> automatons to the point that it's often incidental if they actually
> solve problems. This is not
> a well kept secret, and when you're trapped by one especially when it's
> produced a crisis,
> its rather disingenuous and maddening for the IVR's keeper to cop attitude.
> A much better approach -- assuming that the goal is actually to resolve
> problems rather than
> shield resources -- is to at least make the escalation process
> transparent. Knowing what you
> have to do in order to get ahold of some of something empowered to
> resolve problems is a
> lot better than a robot telling you to take the next turn in a twisty maze.

I agree it's perhaps not clear how to get hold of a human, but you can't 
really argue that it's not clear how to progress the issue in general as 
the message quite clearly tells you to respond if you wish for it to be 

I can't accept that the instructions that the bot provided were unclear, 
but can organisations in general (again, not SORBS-specific) do better 
when dealing with their "customers"?



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