Will online customer service quickly become an automated activity?

Will online customer service quickly become an automated activity?

John Robb thinks it can. “Check out the incarnations of the Alice Bot (the engine can be downloaded in multiple forms).  Then check out the animated 2D pictures available via the Pulse Veeper.   Now check out the quality of Loquendo’s text to speech engine.  The art of the interaction would be to create a set of responses that cover all classes of customer service inquiries (suprising easy I would suspect given the time I spent doing something similar at my last job), enable access to customer account and inventory data, and combine the three different programs detailed above for an integrated experience. 

After this is done, provide data-driven flash animations of actions taken by the automated customer service rep.  For example: 1) making a credit to an account, 2) transfer of funds, 3) selection of an item for purchase, 4) instructions on how to assemble a product, and 5) instructions on how to send back an item.   Visual animated display of complex actions or info is extremely important for retention. 

In thinking about this, customer service may not be the appropriate place to apply this technology.    E-learning may be a better application.  A free form, seemingling intelligent Q&A bot that incorporates prerecorded bits of audio/animation to walk you through modules of instruction would be very cool.  Add voice to text so you can verbally interrupt a presentation to ask a question and it gets eerie.  Given that home schooling is a large market that is growing by 15% a year, and the basic modules of instruction are well understood, this could be extremely profitable at a low cost of development.

It could also be done in an app that runs on your desktop.”

It could also be useful in my TSCP project. Hmmmm….