In this digital age, customers are buying more items online. Most digital transactions go through without hiccups.
However, in the few cases where there is a problem, we expect companies to have a staffed human support channel for their customers.
I have observed that companies have increasingly replaced their human support with artificial intelligence bots and virtual assistants that promise 24/7 support to their customers. However, their bots are not at all ready for prime time. The bots give irrelevant answers, are repetitive, and are frustrating to use for paying customers.
I urge the authorities to mandate that companies that take money from customers have to publish on their website a support phone number or support e-mail address that we can contact to reach a human for help.
This week, I tried contacting a company over a digital wallet top-up query on a card deduction. After hours of trying, I could not find a way to e-mail or contact the company’s support. Shortly after that, I had to contact an airline for a baggage-related inquiry for a flight I had booked. I was surprised that the airline has no published phone number or e-mail address to contact it, and keeps directing customers to its virtual bot. In both cases, I eventually gave up.
This is not the kind of customer experience companies should be allowed to get away with.