ChatGPT: Creating Stronger Customer Relationships

20th Jan 2023

Have you tried having a conversation with the ChatGPT bot created by OpenAI? Click the link and try it now. You need to register an account, but that only takes a minute and I promise it will be worth it. Forget everything you know about chatbots and get ready for something very new - a chatbot that actually works.

This may be a little unfair. There have been some useful chatbots deployed in customer service processes in the past, but the implementation let them down. Often the bot is positioned as the easiest solution to a problem and it just doesn’t work. The positioning and expectation from the customer is all wrong.

ChatGPT has been trained with a large database of information so you can ask it about almost anything. There are a few caveats - it will not know anything about world events after 2021 and it is not constantly learning from human interactions. The knowledge base is defined and can only be updated by the administrators.

This approach has some advantages. If the system includes machine learning, so the more it interacts with people the more it learns, then it can adopt the biases of the users. Some users may even want to sabotage the knowledge of the bot for fun - a good example was when Microsoft publicly launched their bot Tay in 2016. Users started training the bot to be offensive and they succeeded - Microsoft shut it down after a week.

Most of us have had fairly limited exposure to bots that work really well so I opened up ChatGPT and typed in a random question. I asked the bot how I can reduce my car fuel bills and this was the response:

Here are a few ways to save money on your fuel bills:

  1. Drive less: Try to combine errands and reduce the number of trips you take.
  2. Drive smarter: Avoid aggressive driving, such as rapid acceleration and braking, which can lower your gas mileage.
  3. Maintain your vehicle: Regular maintenance, such as keeping your tires properly inflated, can improve your gas mileage.
  4. Use public transportation, carpool, bike or walk when possible.
  5. Buy a fuel-efficient vehicle: Consider purchasing a hybrid or electric vehicle, which can significantly lower your fuel costs.
  6. Compare prices: Use apps or websites to find the cheapest gas stations in your area.
  7. Keep an eye on the weather: Gas prices tend to rise during the summer months when more people are on the road. Try to fill up during cooler months when gas prices are typically lower.
  8. Plan your route: Try to avoid high-traffic areas and take the most direct route to your destination.
  9. Use rewards program, credit card or coupon for discounts on gas.
  10. Monitor and track your fuel consumption, it will help you to identify the areas where you can improve your fuel efficiency.

That is a solid ten-point plan to a completely random and open question. The exciting thing is that the questions and interaction can be completely normal. There is no need to use any special code and no need to filter through various answers, as you do with a search engine. A British MP even asked the bot to write his speech using the oratory style of Winston Churchill. Public schools in New York have banned access to the bot as they believe it is smart enough to complete homework essays.

I think this ability to create new content as a response to questions opens up a couple of immediate possibilities for brands that want to get closer to their customers.

  1. Brand relationship: where brands have a strong culture and vision it should be possible to create a bot that represents the brand. Fed with product and history information the bot should be able to chat with customers about products. This might be especially strong for companies with a visionary founder like Richard Branson at Virgin or Adi Dassler at Adidas. What if you could start a conversation with “Adi” and just ask open questions like ‘why did you start creating vegan shoes?’ or ‘Why did your brother leave the business to create Puma?’ 
  2. Brand knowledge and support: by feeding the bot with all known product information, FAQs and other support materials, the bot should know everything there is to know about your products. Therefore any question with an answer inside that data should be easy to manage. For example, setting up a new device or trouble-shooting a problem. If the bot is trained with all your internal materials then it will be a much stronger source of information than a traditional bot - especially if the previous outcome was just directing the customer to a FAQ article.

We are only just getting started. This is the first time I have seen a chatbot so widely reported in the mainstream media. This is no longer a techie story about artificial intelligence - people are understanding that these tools can be valuable in our day-to-day life.

Smart brands that want to get closer to their customers should be thinking how this can dramatically improve their customer experience and create more of a relationship - rather than customer service just being a transactional process based only on resolving problems.

Quantanite’s Key CX Trends 2023 e-book is available here


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