We are traveling internationally, and I needed to tell my bank that we have travel plans so they can monitor for fraudulent activity. I called Bank of America, and the conversation went like this:
BofA automated system: Good morning! Please tell me the last four digits of your debit card.
… I speak the digits …
*BofA system*: Good morning, Mr. Dulin, I see you are calling from the number we have on file. How can I help you? If you need a detailed list of options, you can say “help” at any time.
I could feel my blood pressure rising in anticipation of dealing with a complex hierarchy of menus just to end up with an outsourced call center operator who can barely speak English. Instead, I was delighted with an Alexa-like experience:
*Me*: International travel.
*BofA system*: Ok. So I understand you correctly, are you going to be traveling outside of the United States?
*BofA*: Ok, tell me the countries you will be visiting.
*BofA*: Ok, and when are you leaving for this trip?
I am feeling adventurous, so I try to push the limits of the system. Instead of sounding out each part of the date, I just say:
*BofA*: And when are you coming back?
*Me*: Two weeks from today
*BofA*: Ok, let me confirm this with you. You will be traveling to Spain over the next two weeks. Is that correct?
*BofA*: Ok, I updated your account with you travel information. Is there anything else I can help you? If you are done, you can just hang up.
Why would I hang up on such a delightful AI?
*Me*: Have a good weekend!
*BofA*: You too, good bye!
In this experience, I did not have to wait a minute longer on hold. I did not need to listen to elevator music. The “person” I spoke with could speak perfect English. I did not hear any cross-talk in the background. We need to encourage this behavior from our service providers.
Don’t know about you, but I can’t wait till all outsourced call centers are replaced with an AI.