AI & IoT

Artificial Intelligence (AI) & Internet of Things (IoT)

More chat, less bots

The number of businesses investing in generative AI tools has showed no signs of slowing since ChatGPT’s launch — and the telecoms industry is no exception. A recent survey of 400 telecoms professionals reveals that 56 per cent believe AI is crucial to their company’s future success, while just under half say their main reason for using the technology is to enhance customer experience.

Although the industry as a whole is still early in its AI investment cycle, some providers have already launched generative services to customers, such as Vodafone’s VOXI Chat model.

The extent of chatbot adoption is so great that technology research firm Gartner predicts chatbots will be the main customer service channel for a quarter of organisations by 2027. But are they the future, or just a fad?


Accessibility and accuracy

According to Ofcom, customer service satisfaction levels among mobile customers are some of the highest across all industries, at 87 per cent. But an overreliance on chatbots and the inability to speak to a real human could damage that.

Data from Cornerstone on customer service preferences shows that around 40 per cent of customers who chose to speak to a human did so because they thought it would be easier, while a quarter couldn’t find the information they needed digitally.

The recent trend of mobile providers such as Carphone Warehouse, Tesco Mobile and O2 shutting physical shops means a phone call is often the only way to get in touch with a real person. Taking that option away and replacing it with an AI chatbot risks alienating customers, especially the 10.2 million Brits who lack the digital skills required to navigate online services.

These digitally excluded individuals are twice as likely to have a disability and twelve times more likely to be over 65 than extensive internet users. Consequently, being able to speak to a person on the phone who can guide them through the steps required to solve their problem is essential to improving accessibility for these groups.

The rapid rollout of customer service chatbots also sets mobile providers up for complaints and potentially even legal action if the AI tool gives them incorrect advice or information. If AI models are trained using biased or insufficient data, they can suffer from hallucinations where they generate misleading responses. For example, in a first-of-its kind lawsuit, Air Canada lost a February 2024 court case due to one of its chatbots providing customers with incorrect information on the airline’s bereavement policy.

Knowledgeable, well-trained customer service advisors offer a level of accessibility and accuracy that AI chatbots cannot. spusu’s commitment to being simple and fair means that customers on all our SIM-only plans can talk to a real human using the method that works for them, be that call, chat or email.

If mobile providers truly want to improve customer experience, rushing to rollout AI tools is not the solution. Instead, telcos should look to add a human touch to customer service that is more chat, less bot.

To learn more about spusu’s approach to customer service and its range of its SIM-only deals, visit the website.