What Have We Created?

“Artificial Intelligence (AI) is… sometimes stupid.” 

There are two things businesses are doing lately that drive me crazy. And for a psychologist, that’s saying a lot. The first is the appointment reminder. I have an appointment with my doctor, or dentist. The visit is great and upon leaving, I schedule my next appointment. They ask me If I want a card with the date on it. I say “no”. Why? Here’s what happens next. On the way home, I get startled in my car by a text-alert on my cell phone reminding me of the appointment. And then I get a reminder the next day and they ask me to please confirm the appointment, and finally, they send another note and thank me. A week later I get a letter from them reminding me of the appointment. Then I get a robo call a week before and the day before my next appointment. They must be afraid I will forget and not show up! It’s like drip, drip, drip, torture.

“You mean I put an abnormal brain in a 6’ 4’’ gorilla?” Dr. Frankenstein

The second thing is the ubiquitous survey. Measuring the “customer experience”. Many times, the experience I’ve had was good or even great — no problems. Until I get home and get a text message to ‘please take a survey’. Then a phone call a couple of days later asking me why I didn’t take the survey. I can wind up spending more time responding to the customer survey than I did having the ‘experience’. Which, by the way, is becoming less great, with more requests for feedback on how they did! And when I do respond to a short, one question, net promoter type survey where you rank the experience from 1 to 10 with 9 or 10 being a ‘promotor’ score, and I give a rating of “10”, the response I get back is, “Thank you for your feedback, this will help us learn from your rating and make improvements in the future.” A canned response that has no meaning or relationship to my actual rating!

Why is it important to be critical of overdoing things? Thirty years ago, measuring customer satisfaction was an innovative and great idea. Not so much anymore. AI is only as good as the programmers and algorithms they create. When it comes to appointment reminders and customer surveys, they have created a monster. Reminds me of the movie, “Young Frankenstein” … Would you mind telling me whose brain they are using to create these things? And I will NOT be angry!