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I would like to speak to a service agent – PLEASE!

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Torstein Løland Bore



3 min

I’m sure, at this stage, most of us have had a frustrating experience dealing with a chatbot. A stubborn chatbot, gatekeeping as if it was defending the city of Minas Tirith. No matter how hard you try, you shall not speak to an actual human being, at least not if the chatbot gets its way.

The chatbot has a certain number of scenarios it can deal with and several standard responses to give you. But when none of those even come close to solving your problem, and you can’t find a "speak to a service agent" button, the frustration is palpable.

A crisis is upon you

Let’s say your tender needs to be submitted soon, but that messy table or that silly looking title page, both of which you never got around to updating, just won’t behave as told. You’re at your wits’ end.

At this stage you only have two choices: attempt to pass it along to a colleague who doesn’t seem all that busy and see if they can handle it or try your luck with the chatbot. SPOILER: You didn’t get the help you needed. The title page still had your outdated logo, and the table looks more like that old square shirt you promised yourself you’d get rid of.

Another scenario for you: Someone (probably you) accidentally replaced the master file of a picture used in several proposals and uploaded a picture taken at your kids’ graduation. Cute, but not really what the client is looking for.

As your proposal is close to submission and your colleagues start asking about your kid and the proposal, the tension is high. At that stage, having an actual service agent respond to your ticket, rather than "Hello there, I am Torstein-BOT, how may I assist you today?" could give you the sigh of relief you desperately need when the walls appear to come crashing down around you. A bit dramatic? Life is dramatic, something the chatbot cannot comprehend!

Technology is great and all

Now you may be thinking, "Wow, this whole piece is just complaining about chatbots and throwing in a random Lord of the Rings reference", but bear with me. Today we have tech solutions for just about anything, most of which do wonders to save us all time and money. Chatbots respond instantly and are extremely efficient in answering certain types of questions. However, there are problems and situations in which you need a human, who not only is able to understand your feeling of impending doom, but also comprehends the complexity of the issue at hand.

Some problems require a human touch. If any chatbot developers are reading this, they are probably thinking to themselves, "Not yet, that is…", while folding their hands, devising their new revolutionary master plan: the empathic chatbot. "It shows compassion and consoles you while helping solve your problem". The slogan will be something profound like "Powered by feelings". Jokes aside – what works for one situation isn’t necessarily ideal for another.

What you actually need

Support requests we get for XaitPorter can range from simple questions about features to desperate cries for help, some of which require some reassurance and a deep dive into the issue at hand, others an explanation of how to combine shift + enter for a hard space.

And sure, a lot of these could probably be answered by a chatbot, and perhaps one day they will. But until then, I’ll continue to enjoy being one of the ones doing the gatekeeping and helping those in need.

Related article: 3 Ways to Produce Better Quality Tender Submissions for Less Cost

crack the proposal time-saving nut ebook

Author picture

Torstein Løland Bore

Torstein has studied Linguistics, Intercultural Communication and Cultural Science, holds a BA in Chinese Language and Culture and an MMSc in Tourism Management. Having worked as a guide, a teacher and a language consultant, today Torstein helps answer or solve whatever question or problem XaitPorter users send his way.

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