How ChatGPT Can Enhance the Customer Experience header

Generating a Personal Touch? How ChatGPT Can Enhance the Customer Experience

3 min read

February 06, 2023

Sally is the front desk manager at a local hotel. The front desk handset has been dropping calls. She reaches out to the telephony provider’s contact center to see if they can help.

Sally: Hi, this is the hotel front desk manager. We've been experiencing dropped calls. Can you help?

Agent: Hi Sally, happy to help. Can you check the connections, please?

Sally: (After checking) Everything seems fine.

Agent: It could be an issue with the phone lines or service provider. Can you please check if the phone lines are activated and if there are any issues with the room's wiring?

Sally: OK, I’ll check and let you know.

Agent: Let me know if you need further assistance. I'm always here to help.

Sally: Thanks.

Agent: You're welcome, have a great day.

This may seem like a typical contact center interaction easily solved with some troubleshooting and nice words. But would you believe the role of the contact center agent was improvised on the spot by artificial intelligence (AI)? How about Sally’s lines?

The entire dialogue above was written in seconds by ChatGPT (for Chat Generative Pre-trained Transformer), a conversational artificial intelligence program released as a research preview by Open AI in late 2022. And while many contact centers already use AI in one form or another to manage customer interactions, many believe ChatGPT’s ability to generate lifelike and intelligent responses rapidly could revolutionize business communications.

What Kind of AI is ChatGPT?

Even if you’ve never ridden in a self-driving car or created a computer-generated portrait, odds are you regularly encounter artificial intelligence in your everyday life. Perhaps you’ve checked the weather with your voice assistant or asked a retailer’s chatbot about product availability.

While these online chat experiences are quick and convenient, they can feel like you’re talking to a robot because you are. AI, like these examples, draws from large but relatively limited pools of data (such as customer records or inventory) to produce responses that fit within a fixed spectrum. On the other hand, the innovative technology behind ChatGPT means its answers seem natural, authoritative, and even creative.

This is because ChatGPT is trained using Reinforcement Learning with Human Feedback (RLHF). It’s built on top of GPT-3.5, a large language model that draws on vast amounts of data created by real people on the internet. It receives continual user feedback to guide it toward behavior that feels realistic. The more it’s used, the more lifelike it becomes.

And with more than one million users in the first five days after its launch, ChatGPT has been getting much use. A paid version is in the works, but current access to the program is free, despite some lags due to overworked servers. Anyone can create an account and begin interacting with the chatbot.

What Can and Can’t ChatGPT Do?

As a highly sophisticated chatbot, ChatGPT is very good at answering prompts, as shown in the opening dialogue above. It can then remember previous responses and modify them based on further input. For example, it made the contact center agent friendlier and shortened the conversation upon request.

ChatGPT users have generated everything from a six-course Thanksgiving menu to the code for a 3D animation of a bouncing marble. The AI has written reasonably creative songs, novels, and poems and has co-authored articles since its release. It recently passed an exam for the Wharton MBA program.

However, OpenAI also says ChatGPT has its limits. The technology isn’t exactly “smart” in the human sense. It can’t make decisions or judgment calls. Instead, the program searches for patterns in the data it’s trained on and produces text based on those patterns. The answers it gives can sound authoritative but may be misleading or even completely inaccurate. OpenAI recommends independently fact-checking each response.

Find out how Mitel bakes AI into our contact center offerings by reaching out today to one of our (real, live) sales experts.

How Will Businesses Use ChatGPT?

Regarding real-world applications, ChatGPT has the potential to impact efficiency and productivity in almost every industry.

Businesses are already using the technology for tasks such as:

  • Improving search results
  • Automating repetitive tasks
  • Writing reports
  • Creating and debugging code
  • Translating text
  • Sorting large quantities of data
  • Analyzing and summarizing customer interactions

In the future, experts see the potential for ChatGPT to handle sensitive information or navigate complicated workflows without the authorization required for human agents.

Of course, ChatGPT’s applications are limited by its programming. Due to its generative nature, each response is slightly different – even if the same input is given multiple times. While it’s very good at producing answers, it can’t make decisions independently. It requires oversight to ensure the accuracy and appropriateness of its responses.

Engineers are already working to integrate ChatGPT with existing systems and technology, but it may be some time before these applications are fully functional.

Can ChatGPT Enhance the Customer Experience?

Customers are already used to talking to chatbots for basic requests but often find the experience impersonal at best or frustrating at worst. ChatGPT’s conversational abilities would make interactions feel much more natural, rather than the standard “canned responses” of other AI.

As a friendly, knowledgeable, and efficient contact center representative, ChatGPT could handle most customer service interactions, such as questions about product availability, refunds, or operating hours. It can lower response time by quickly drawing on a customer’s history or data to serve them more accurately.

If a ticket needs to be passed off to a human agent, it can summarize and analyze the online chat before the agent takes over the conversation. This saves time for the agent and the customer since the agent doesn’t have to read through the entire exchange with the chatbot. It also allows agents to focus their empathy and decision-making skills on high-value cases.

OpenAI is currently working on adding ChatGPT to its application programming interface (API), which will allow developers to integrate the technology into their products, whether for the uses mentioned above or for even more creative purposes. The company is also partnering with investors and AI innovators to expand ChatGPT’s abilities further.

Is ChatGPT the Secret to Better Business Communication?

ChatGPT certainly has many promising applications regarding business communications and customer service. There are ways in which it’s an improvement over current AI, especially in terms of realism and range of output. However, it still requires significant oversight to overcome misleading or undesired responses.

While we’re likely to see ChatGPT or other increasingly sophisticated technology incorporated into everyday work and life, it cannot replace authentic knowledge and empathy.

Mitel’s innovative solutions incorporate AI to support agents as they provide customers with the personal touch only found in genuine human interactions. We have live experts ready to take your call today.

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