Amazon has started selling items that aren't returnable and I wish I could opt out of it. I got a laptop/phone bracket that was made with some crappy, brittle plastic, but Amazon didn't accept returns on that item. If Walmart sold ebooks, I don't think I'd use Amazon anymore. After dealing with expired food and medicine through Subscribe and Save, Amazon delivery just throwing things on the ground and damaging them, and unreturnable items like the phone accessory, I am done with them for physical items.
Getting through to Amazon customer service is a huge pain in the butt, especially now that the customer service flow is self-help -> text chat -> telephone chatbot -> foreign call center. With Walmart, I just drive a half block away, go to customer service, wait in line for five minutes, and boom, it's done. It's a breath of fresh air honestly.
Every time I read shit like that I feel like EU's intrusiveness and overreaching might in the end be worth it if it stops  corporation from shit like that
And it's not like you couldn't buy worst "chinesium" in the EU. On the other hand they will "protect" you from buying useful stuff…
The basic rules and guiding principles are at least customer friendly. (And we usually don't wait until something breaks in terrible ways. We try to enforce high standards early on. But like said, often the rules are only there to protection EU vendors and their markets in the end).
And stuff like pushing for EVs before infrastructure is there, all while planes are fine and dandy to run on fucking leaded fuel...
Well, sure. However, quite a lot of the websites aren't actually in compliance in the first place.
For example, this Christmas I had to remind a company that me placing an order was not permission for them to email me a survey asking how good the delivery was — customers aren't a free QA team.
You have to start somewhere and go step by step, if you want to solve huge problems.
Who would pay for an infrastructure for EVs, when there are no EVs around?
Chicken and egg problem.
There is many crazy shit the EU has done, like the famous regulation on how cucumbers are supposed to bend exactly, which they abolished by now, but still once a month, the whole parliament and stuff moves from Strasbourg to Bruessel - and back, because they cannot settle one one place to be, but the slight push for renewable energy would not be on my list of big faults, even if it is inconsistent.
Damn that US government overreaching, telling cucumbers how much should they bend!
...or maybe that regulation is there for a reason (most times to protect consumers)?
It's not the same as banning
Erm, can you tell me in what way a cucumber is dangerous to consumers, if its shape is bend a little bit more or less, so they need to be protected of that threat?
Sidenote, this whole exchange is .. urgh. People criticizing things they haven't spent a minute to try to understand :/
Imagine if I came up to your monitor and started looking at individual lines of your code, and then I see an "x = 0", and I start criticizing it in a vacuum, completely cluelessly, as someone who has never coded before?
Or maybe I have indeed worked on fields and packaging when I was younger and travelling and witnessed the throwing away of perfectly fine food, that just did not met some arbitary size regulations?
"Sidenote, this whole exchange is .. urgh"
But I agree to that. I am not really here to discuss the sense of defining cucumber sizes. If you are into that, have fun with it.
I can't tell why a bent cucumber is dangerous, but I can tell tell why specifications for cucumbers are sometimes needed. When someone in the food industry needs cucumbers, he can't use any kind of cucumber, because it will go through machines with a calibre expectation. The industry that builds the machines also need specifications for their inputs.
Many regulations on fruits and vegetable are meant to help the food processing, since nowadays most of the raw food is processed by the food industry, not by consumers in their kitchens.
Oh, and you can still sell vegetable that are out of spec. AFAIK that's still legal in Europe, but since they can't have the right label, wholesale buyers may be hard to find at the same price.
We were talking about consumer products.
"Oh, and you can still sell vegetable that are out of spec. "
Now you can. The regulations regarding sizes of cucumbers have been abolished in 2009, even though the whole theather about it was rather populism.
You just can’t call your torus shaped fruit a cucumber because that’s not what anyone expects a cucumber to look like.
Why is that reasonable?
This regulation means, that perfectly fine cucumbers that happen to be a bit smaller will get thrown away. Or well, into the lower grade category, but even in the lowest category
"maximum diameter of each cucumber shall be not more than 2-3/8 inches and the length of each cucumber shall be not less than 5 inches"
These are arbitary size regulations.
You do not need to regulate that to ban garbage. You can have a cucumber with the perfect shape, that is still garbage, because sunburned or too ripe or the plant was sick or whatever. Yes it should be illegal to sell garbage as fresh food and it probably is, but I do not see the connection to shape at all. This is merely aesthetics and personally I prefer a weird shaped ecological cucumber over a perfectly sized and shiny tasteless thing full of pesticides any day.
In all seriousness, if you’re paying by weight (or volume) then it should be OK not to have standard sized cucumbers… but pricing per unit should be reasonably consistent.
The owners, obviously. You think we installed gas stations before we had cars?
If anything, right now, an EV is literally a worse car to an equivalent ICE in terms of what it's capable of. The reasons you'd have one is either general environmental altruism or because it'll be cheaper over the long term to own one.
We had to find the petroleum reserves before diesel and petrol could get cheap enough for ICEs to fully dominate over that era's EVs.
Right now, if I want an EV, I'm paying 20% more money to buy it, it's got a shorter range than my ICE for the same size car, and the infrastructure to do things like long trips with multiple recharges isn't there yet.
However a human with a fuel reserve that could top you up was a thing before cars (a fuel retail). Before the dawn of the automobiles people were replacing steam engines with gas and liquid powered engines.
> The first "drive-in" filling station, Gulf Refining Company, opened to the motoring public in Pittsburgh on December 1, 1913, at Baum Boulevard and St Clair's Street. Prior to this, automobile drivers pulled into almost any general or hardware store, or even blacksmith shops in order to fill up their tanks.
Firefox has that built into its tracking protection. I don't know what's it set to by default, but it took me three clicks to reach the setting.
People also want to perform CSRF attacks. So what do we do? Make a law against CSRF? Or change the browsers to make it much harder?
> It's full-on insane to use the law to force every website developer to add their own cookie banner […]
Which is obvious FUD. And this comment now makes it clear that you actually knew that you're spreading FUD.
Hasn't that been a standard browser setting since the 1990s? I remember Netscape had it.
If a website wants to spy on you it needs to make that at least very clear to the user.
Nobody likes "cookie banners". But those banners are just a result of the fact that almost all web sites want to spy on their users, and sell the this way collected data. If you don't do that you don't need any banner. (Does HN has a cookie banner? Does for example https://noyb.eu/en has a banner? Does Wikipedia has a banner? Go figure.)
To be clear, normal planes don't run on leaded fuel. Avgas, which is often leaded, is used in small propellor planes.
Also, these seem, er, totally unrelated? The EU could ban leaded fuel tomorrow, and arguably should; this would lead to the grounding of a small number of small planes. But it doesn't have a lot to do with cars.
If free market really worked, there would be no Amazon bad customer care, because they would not survive the competition of a great number of better services.
In reality in most places in America Amazon and Walmart are the only alternatives, with only one of the two easily available.
Free market has killed the small shops that provided the aforementioned good customer support.
If USA version of free market was so good as advertised, things like food deserts  would not exist. It's something that have an enormous impact on society at large and hits fragile families harder, if that wasn't possible by law, wouldn't it be better?
That and they are required to have like 20+ windows open.
I could not do that job.
Is that legal?
I would not buy something where the seller can literally ship junk and legally you have no recourse.
Should the seller eat the loss and accept the return?
That’s one simple case, but there will be myriads of other cases where a customer simply opening the case means the product has no retail value anymore.
You can’t blanket set a rule where the seller eats the loss no matter what. The customer having to prove beyond doubt that they were shipped a product that is fraudulent under objective standards is a natural evolution of a marketplace.
The middle ground is heuristics and surveillance of overall customer claims, but I’m not sure that’s what we’re arguing about.
So I will sell you on Amazon an enpty box instead of a Rolex. You open the box and its empty, how are you going to prove the box was empty to begin with?'
Suppose I ship you a CPU i know to be broken, how will you prove it was broken? I, the seller, can alway say you broke it.
On online retail, that’s why delivery services weight the packages, take photos of the boxes delivered etc.
On retail in general, we’ve enjoyed these same questions for decades. You buy a video card, open the box and a connector is bent. When getting it back to the brick and mortar store, you’ll have quite a time explaining you didn’t crush it by accident. Shops that value you will help. Other will just show you the door, and you’ll need to find many other people with similar issues to finally get your voice heard.
A lot of people here seem to be arguing Amazon returns are black and white… they are not, and you’ll have the same discussions as everywhere else, except you’ll be sending messages and photos back and forth.
When you get a package delivered, you can do none of those things
But then fraudster learned the ropes, and after a while knowing wether your product was actually new or not got basically impossible. They still had a generous return policy, so you wouldn’t be left SOL, but expectations got a lot different.
I’ll aim for a brick and mortar retailer if I go for a specific well established brand I’m willing to pay extra for (in particular if it’s the brand’s direct store), but otherwise I don’t feel physical retail has much of a high ground compared to online ones given the overhead and other limitations.
The product doesn't have to violate any "factual" claim of the seller when the seller isn't beholden to customers.
> Should the seller eat the loss and accept the return?
Yes absolutely. Sellers should stand behind the products they manufacture. If a customer doesn't like something they purchased then the customer should be entitled to obtaining recompense up to, and including, a refund.
Suppose you go to a restaurant and order the McFatmeup Burger Prince. You take one bite of it and decide you don't like it.
Should you pay for the burger?
Now granted, Amazon used to have good customer service, but now they are definitely discount.
Refusing to do so over a $6 sandwich is how you get irate customers calling corporate to complain, who will then give them coupons for free meals in response.
I’ve had restaurants replace an order for various reasons, some as silly as “our kid read the wrong menu line”, and while we’re ready to pay for it the restaurants usually eat the cost.
But we’re still paying for the whole meal and additional purchases, and the restaurant’s loss (time and raw ingredients) is hopefully covered by the rest of the orders. We actually make an effort to order enough for that tbh.
I were to go to a fancy burger shop, order a menu, take one bite, stand up and get out of the shop shouting “that burger is disgusting” with a horrified face, I’d definitely should be paying for that burger, yes.
Do you want to be the entity that enabled my wife and I to have an all weekend sexathon, with the piece of mind that there’s no surprise baby coming? Or do you want the be the entity that cock-blocked me by sticking us with the condoms she doesn’t like?
It’s worth more than the value of the product to be the vendor that got me laid.
Companies like Amazon are making bad customer decisions like this because their growth trajectory is falling and they didn’t see it coming. So they are stuck with stupid capital investments and with running their own version of the post office that they don’t really need.
So now the MBA idiots assume that I’m some sort of criminal scamming them out of condoms. (All the while operating the largest carnival of grift ever devised via FBA) Whatever, I’ll go to CVS and deal with the inconvenience and awful shopping experience rather than risk being stuck with a product I don’t like.
> It’s worth more than the value of the product to be the vendor that got me laid.
This is of course the key. Is it actually worth more to them ?
To jest, if for instance you were ready to give up on Amazon and go buy everything from Wallmart at the first sign Amazon isn’t treating you well enough, and expect to be buying high brand goods at lower than market price, your LTV will probably be pretty low to Amazon. And of course, as you don’t like their condoms, you’re also basically dead to the seller.
On the other hand, if you were willing to eat up the price of a box of condoms, see high value in the Amazon experience, will continue to buy Amazon stuff even if there’s occasional hiccups, you’re a ton more valuable to Amazon. But then their real value to you won’t be wether they force the seller to accept the return, but probably wether they can get you a box of a different brand ASAP.
Depends on the manager but at least a human is making a decision.
Not in Europe.
A seller does not necessarily have to accept returns if you changed your mind, found the item cheaper somewhere else, or just don't like it. Pretty sure that's also the case in the EU.
Consumer protection regulations are genuinely so nice for feeling at ease with buying stuff online.
AFAIK it's legal. Might be courteous to disclose "no returns accepted" on such listings, but I don't think it's mandatory, at least not everywhere.
Buy with a credit card that offers warranty coverage on purchased items.
Edit: it's probably a violation of implied warranty of merchantability.
This was for higher value items though, and maybe Amazon's customer service / returns policy is different in the UK, but I'm genuinely surprised that you avoid Amazon for returns because from what I understand they're far more likely to accept a return than other retailers.
I think I probably have a biased perspective because of my background, but 99% of the time when I hear about someone returning stuff they're doing it fraudulently. That cost is then passed on to people like myself who basically refuse to return anything unless I'm sure I'm 100% not at fault so in general I wish companies didn't do returns outside of exceptional circumstances. Also working for a phone insurance company and a retailer with a relaxed returns policy made me appreciate the insane level of fraud which has to be financed by honest consumers.
But on the topic of in-store returns, one of the only times I've ever returned anything was a pair of £60 shoes which tore in the first week of normal use. I went to the store I brought it from and explained they tore and would like a replacement. The staff were extremely rude and tried to blame me which I found very uncomfortable. They then said they'd have to ship it to some department to assess if it can be repaired or replaced. A couple of weeks later I got a call saying it was decided I was at fault, so no replacement or refund would be issued and that I could come collect my shoes from the store. The store was about 30 minutes away from my house and I had to pay for parking, so this was all extremely inconvenient.
Maybe it's just because I have social anxiety, but I'll take cheerful chatbot over having to deal with a rude person instore any day of the week. In fact, it's why I use Amazon. Their customer support has always been great for me.
I've personally been sent a single elastic band for hairs instead of 1 TB SSD, twice, and had to explain to them that shipping it back didn't make sense for either of us and eventually got what I needed them to understand, but only after wasting over an hour talking to some clown service who isn't allowed to use proof or their breaks. And that's just how things have been going in the last year, worst and worst...
seemsna little biased - I was looking for an item to fix a problem, in this sitiation the only way to know which item would fit was by trying. Bought four items, returned 3.
Of manufacturers of said items probided accurate and precise specification, they would save everyones time
Regardring sneakers, had similar situation, I think one ofnthose cases whwre you ahve to raise hell over it to get your way
My experience with the delivery people has been fine.
But Amazon itself keeps wrapping books that I order in bubble-padded manila envelopes that are too tight. This causes obvious damage to the corners of the book. I have repeatedly complained to them about this, and their response is "we have no way to control what packaging is used on any shipment".
They used to ship things in boxes. They should go back to that.
What Amazon does for me is save the most valuable thing I have - time. Buying printer paper at a store costs me an hour + gas. Buying it from Amazon - 3 minutes.
As to your example, buying printer paper online, this invariable leads to my box of printer paper being smashed by Amazon's delivery people (probably b/c they are paid like crap), and I have to return it - costing more than an hour + my frustration. So instead, I can drop by Walmart, pick up eggs and milk - and squeeze my tomatoes to make sure they aren't mush - look at my lettuce to check for slime, pick up a box of printer paper and drop off my return/exchange.
Also, Target, Office Depot, Home Depot, Lowe's and Costco have great customer service compared to Amazon too. Walmart just has 3rd party sellers that other store don't offer - so Walmart is getting more of my online orders lately.
Annoying when it’s a new release.
Infuriating when it’s a 50 year old, long out of print book.
Sadly, the local used bookstore tries hard to stock books only in "like new" condition. This removes the best "tell" for if the book is good or not - if it looks well-used, it's probably a great book.
The first arrived with the spine totally destroyed (some pages literally hanging on my a thread) and the second was shipped in such a large box that it came open during shipping, and every single page had a massive hard crease at varying angles.
Amazon handled it far as refunds, but it still took over a month, and that’s now 2 less copies of that book in existence, and it’s not exactly common.
This is a book that goes for $100+ even well used
Useful because it (brief, but extant) coverage of nations like Brazil, Spain, and Greece, which don’t tend to get much coverage.
I have many, too, including the set "History of United States Naval Operations in World War II" by Morison.
Norman Friedman is excellent, very engineering heavy.
I'm not sure if this is legal in Australia or EU. You might also have some state-level laws that would prevent this. Have you tried pushing back against them?
Here's a video of horrible customer service that's better than Amazon https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ECZQ7qzGbUY .
They never have any idea about what is going on, and add excessive delay getting to someone who can actually look at and override or fix whatever broken thing in their system is causing the problem.
Hard to say if they top voice call mazes though.
Businesses do not want higher abandonment, and deploying automation reduces abandonment. When we deployed a chatbot on our phone support channel, abandonment went down 20% (this includes people that abandon inside the chatbot).
The reason why chatbots exist and why they aren't going away is because they reduce support costs. Our chatbot resolves 40% of issues. That translates to millions of dollars in savings.
I'm not trying to defend chatbots by saving they improve customer experience. In most cases they hurt customer experience. It's too tempting for corporations to resist though. Sooner or later someone is going to ask why support costs are so much higher than their competitors.
*  https://xkcd.com/806/
I'm trying to think of other real life copying fictional concepts, but can't come up with anything right now...
I really like the idea
Dumber people even quicker than others.
If you put the direct contact link on the website, people who forgot to plug the product in will find it.
Another solution is to hire more customer support staff. But that's costly - headcount, training, etc. And there's a lot of churn from downright abusive customers.
A business has a million other things that need attention.
This is by design and replaces arguing with their clueless first level support staff who could be solving easy problems. I'm not saying it's right, just that it's intentional and likely cheaper.
I don't actually mind the chat bots which are smart enough to successfully redirect the simple stuff to the appropriate KB's, and escalate to a human being (even if on chat) when they have run the gauntlet. These are rare, and almost certainly require a well-oiled machine to get right. Total junk without a huge KB, which is well maintained and indexed.
I tried to same loop before several times, always asking for a human. But obviously I didn't meet the character threeshold or whatever that it would be willing to forward me.
Worst possible customer experience by far
"Please escalate" seems to work sometimes, but I'd be fine with "ENGAGE_LUCKY_MODE_777" or something
When you have already troubleshot and gone through the help docs and are actually pointing out a flaw in their system - chatbots are completely useless.
If you managed to find an actual flaw, then chances are that the next humans you will talk to, will be completely useless as well and only if you bring enough patience and have nothing else to do, eventually you will be escalated to someone with competence. At least that was my experience and usually I cut my losses and give up before making it that far.
Corporation adds a policy that's unpopular with customers? No worries, customer support is there to take the anger and complaints
"take your time"
"thanks for doing what you can"
"I hope your next call is easier"
Being nice to the poor CS person is easy and sometimes results in better service. There is no reason to take your frustrations out on them as no one in the company that could make a difference will ever hear about it.
That depends, if enough support guys get yelled into depression and quitting, someone higher up eventually has to make a change. But this is obviously very a dark path and so far, my support tickets did not feel important enough, to actually ruin other peoples life for it. But it sucks, that you seem never get through to someone who actually is responsible for all that mess.
But when the corporate representative is a bot, not a person, I know the superficial pleasantness cannot be explained by one person earnestly trying to be pleasant to another. No, in this case the pleasantness is wholly artificial and I don't appreciate it in the least.
The only way to have a person to corporation discussion is to file a lawsuit. At least that I know ofm
With each new "layer" the customer got a little less angry, until it came to a point where the customer would be in a more reasonable state, and then a solution would be provided which made the customer happy.
The dowside was that the first few staff members that had to deal with the customer would receive the bulk of the anger which I imagine wasn't fun.
But by making the customer feel like their issue was being "escalated" (even though the layers would actually be staff of the same rank), by the time the customer was sent to an actual manager, they would be more receptive to a solution.
However, chatbots are just another unpopular (result of) policy on top of whatever else the customers are unhappy with.
When I'm the customer, I've taken to outright saying on the call that I blame corporate/their management. Let enough customers get wise and maybe it'll change.
But that's not just cheerfulness, it is the idea that the service rep cares about me. Cheerfulness means "I am happy to be with you, I love my job, I will do my best for you to leave you satisfied". Of course as a customer I want that! But then, if like with most chatbots, I feel no intent to actually work on solving my problem, it goes straight down the uncanny valley. What are you? Happy to not help me? What's your problem? If it wasn't obvious from the start, that's typically a dead giveaway that I am dealing with a bot.
Actual people who are good at their job will know to put the right emotion for the situation, including a lot of cheerfulness, but only when appropriate. Bots don't get that. If they can't play the human game, just let them be machines, no useless emotions, keep things factual, short and to the point.
I've always wanted a navigator for my car that was rude. "Wake up! You should have turned back there, you fakking kahnt! A bleedin' monkey could drive better than that!" A library of a few thousand insults should keep it from getting too boring.
This goes back to the game Empire I wrote long ago. It was the only game I'd heard of where you weren't liberating cities, you weren't the good guy. You were the bad guy - subjugating cities, putting them under iron control, crushing your enemies. Your underlings replied with "yes master". Your armies would march off the boat and drown if you ordered it.
You and I may wait until then, but plenty of customers don't bother, and will open the chatbot because they can't be bothered to read the navigation. Companies then realize their customers are idiots wasting employee's time and throw them behind a chatbot to attempt to filter them out.
Tough challenge as the chatbot helps them avoid chewing into their profitability but also hurts helping customers who need real help and are high value.
1) create a series of help docs
2) trains an AI on those help docs
3) solves customer headaches using a chatgpt interface with that training
4) drops you into a human that can help as soon as you ask for it.
My primary issues with "live chat" features are
1) They ask you for stupid stuff (email/name/etc) when you're logged in that are already in the system. This makes things worse somehow.
2) The sheer resistance to handing me over to a human when I've asked for it. If you don't have humans on live chat - that's fine, but at least send it to a help desk.
3) The fact they try to ask me to categorize the issue vs. semantically figuring it out via the request is extra annoying as they will often ask you this AGAIN if they can't initially place you in one of their pre-selected categories.
The fact you have to re-enter it all makes the experience stupid and customers frustrated.
- getting a refund for an order
- cancelling a service
- anything else that would cost the company money
Hostile design but in cutesy-wootsie 'Digital Assitant' form. Yuck.
Thankfully some geographies require the option to be able to one-click cancel your service (California) and some other localities (the EU) prohibit deceptive or 'hostile' website design. Try using Amazon.fr or Amazon.de sometime and compare it to the user experience of Amazon.com. Amazon Prime will notify you in the EU several days before your month of 'Free Prime' is up, before your credit card is charged. Even then, you have up to 14 days after the charge to cancel your membership AND the cost of the Prime membership will be refunded in full.
I wish I still all my old charts about support ticket categories, but I'd bet that before we built out various tools to deflect them, the majority of our tickets could be answered by "read this help doc", "go to this section of your account page and click this button", or "you need to email the seller, not us". (I work at an Etsy-like site where only the individual sellers can answer most product and shipping questions.)
Simply having a chatbot answer all the questions answered in the helpdocs is worth tens of thousands of dollars in support agent time and should gets you the answer much faster than waiting for a small team to respond to support requests. The chatbot is dumb and annoying, but it doesn't have a backlog of tickets and it's on the job 24/7, so it might feel slow, but could easily be a day faster than emailing a human.
IMO this is tone-deaf. If customers want to talk to a human then a human is needed.
But no, they've decided it is my personal touch that is needed. Thankfully, I have a manager who is willing to stand behind me to ignore these customers who need me personally to hold their hand. I've been ignoring one of them for 3 months now. They still haven't reset their password the way they were told to the last two times they forgot it. They evidently don't need that account, since it's been inactive for 3 months and they're willing to wait to personally make it my problem.
There's classes of customer that really like to use their relationship to exert some power over their world and another human, whether it is remotely reasonable or not.
We have a chat bot now.
It's a worrying trend, since it's hard to see what will reverse it. I imagine that every dimension of this must look profitable to management.
This is a relevant and timely comment. I just filed a chargeback and dispute with my credit card company because a product I ordered was defective and could not be returned as the company didn’t have an address for returns and wouldn’t return phone calls. Of course, my credit rating went down 30 points after the chargeback and dispute. Seems like there’s no way to come out ahead here.
Legislation. Consumer protection laws need to be in place so that the calculus is shifted to a point where providing refunds etc is cheaper than (risk_of_getting_caught * penalty_of_getting_caught)
I don't think chatbots count as customer service, and the idea of a "happy chatbot" is nonsense, since the bot isn't happy or sad, it's a script. It's an interface to a set of FAQs. That does not count as customer service any more than a searchable FAQ or documentation site is customer service. It's useful, but it's not customer service, it's a way to avoid paying people who can provide customer service.
Support agent: How are you today?
Client: Not good.
Support agent: I am happy to hear that. How may I help you?
No, polite words will make no difference, not at all. Only real help will. Be it grumpy or overflown with joy.
"Cheerfulness" and apologetic behaviour (e.g., "I'm so sorry (Sir/Ma'am...)" repeated more than once in a call/session have become net negative signs.
What I'm interested in is competence, usefulness, and empowerment, which are of course three expensive aspects of the customer-service experience.
Cheerfulness can help in addition to those, but it is not necessary. The experience need not be Seinfeld Soup Nazi levels of brusqueness. But if you're putting a smile, and lipstick, on a customer-service pig, You're Doing It Wrong.
First address competence and actual usefulness, as in "the problem was solved to the customer's satisfaction". Then worry about the charm school B.S.
Recently I had to call a government agency that had one of these bots and... the bot threatened to hang up if I didn't take it seriously by trying to use its services. Well, fine Ill play ball.
The bot gave up and hung up on me anyway.
Waiting on the phone for a human to become available for a long time is not making me happy.
Their purpose is to hire less tech support people. They don't care about your time wasted, and you bought the product already, better to pay people to sell product to more people than to deal with tiny % that has problems with it.
So basically, blame the MBAs :-)
A chat bot can answer questions, but it’s a lot harder to make it understand your individual situation.
Source: rebooking passengers after delayed/canceled flights.
If I have some issue I find it quite frustrating that the customer support can't do anything more than me.
In the case of a local bank down here in Australia, the out of hours, remote, customer support people can't even look up any of your details. Their script seems to be based on the text on the web site. They are really friendly (being Philippino), but can't actually do anything at all.
Not every system seems to have escapes but
"I find these automated replies insulting"
sometimes seems to work, "insulted" or "insulting" might be the trigger
But every once in awhile I will get "I am not using automated replies" lol
I can count the number of companies that delight me in 2022 on half of one hand. The rise of monopolies and data brokers means that businesses don't have to care whether I am delighted or not.
so... chatbots are a shield which companies use to protect your support team for high demand while users like me try need to destroy the shield to get what I want.
it's at least a conflict of interest.
So let's say you had the funding and intent, how would you build the next gen chat bot to avoid a lot of the pains we have with them ?
Notify me that you are not a human.
Add to that the chatbox is often excessively verbose, putting a large reading burden onto me.
I want a human to be cheerful.
I want a chatbot to be efficient.
Me: My order wasn't delivered
Support: Thank you for contacting support. I am sorry you are not having a delightful experience with our service. How can I help?
Support: Thank you for that. I understand your order wasn't delivered. Is that correct?
Support: Thank you for that. Please hold while I look it up.
Support: What is the order number?
Support: Thank you for that. I understand your order number is abc123 and you have not received the delivery. Is that correct?
Support: Please wait while I look this up.
Support: Thank you for waiting. I'm happy to tell you that your order was delivered on 12/29/22. Is there anything else I can help with?
Me: I did not receive it.
Support: Thank you for that. I understand that you did not receive your order. Is that correct?
Support: Your order was delivered by UPS on 12/29/22 and was left on your porch. Did you look there?
Support: Thank you for that. I understand you looked on your porch and did not see it. Is that correct?
Support: Thank you for that. Can you tell me your order number?