Call Centers Can Provide the Answer When Chatbots Overwhelm

Chatbots, which automate responses to social media inquiries, promise to provide some interesting customer service solutions, but they also pose threats if they run amuck. (See “What Are Chatbots and Will They Affect the Call Center?”)

These computerized bots have the potential to automatically generate numerous transactions, even if the end user isn’t interested or no longer cares. Just consider the companies that repeatedly call you, direct mail you, and email you when you don’t want them to, even after you ask them to stop. Imagine the same thing happening with bots.

The situation with invasive phone calls and email messages got so bad that the US government got involved and enacted regulations to curb abuse. (They were mostly effective in cutting the misuse of the telephone, but they were not so helpful in reducing unwanted email.)

Now consider spam email, not the merely annoying variety, but the version that tries to exploit you into revealing personal information or downloading a virus. With near zero cost, email is easy for those with a nefarious intent to exploit others, sending out millions of messages at the click of a mouse. The same could happen with chatbots. Imagine getting as many text messages as you do emails.

This could provide a communications bottleneck, for both businesses and the harried individual. We would then need to filter content in order to access the legitimate communication. This will spawn automation tools that will perform comparably to todays’ spam filters. And similarly we can expect these tools to give false negatives and false positives, which will require human intervention to sort out. This task is ideally suited for call centers.

This is not a rant about the evils of chatbots but a realistic warning of how something intended to aid in communication could actually be misused to over communicate or commandeered to intentionally miscommunicate.

Chatbots show much promise and could revolutionize customer service; let’s hope so. Yet they also have the potential to overwhelm channels with unwanted messages. Is your contact center ready?


Janet Livingston is the president of Call Center Sales Pro, a premier sales and marketing service provider for the call center and telephone answering service industry. Contact Janet at or 800-901-7706.

Peter DeHaan is a freelance writer from Southwest Michigan.