CEO of Indian e-commerce platform Dukaan fired 90% of his customer support staff and replaced them all with an AI chatbot.
Suumit Shah explained that he was forced into the decision by a lack of affordable qualified support staff and the need to reduce costs. He said that the chatbot was built by one of his in-house data scientists in just two days.
In a Tweet, Shah outlined the instant improvements the chatbot delivered in Dukaan’s customer support department. While it took human support agents almost 2 minutes to respond to customers online, the chatbot responded instantly. Resolution time of customer queries improved from an average of over 2 hours to just over 3 minutes.
We had to layoff 90% of our support team because of this AI chatbot.
Tough? Yes. Necessary? Absolutely.
Time to first response went from 1m 44s to INSTANT!
Resolution time went from 2h 13m to 3m 12s
Customer support costs reduced by ~85%
Here’s how’s we did it 🧵
— Suumit Shah (@suumitshah) July 10, 2023
Those numbers are hard to ignore but Shah’s exuberance didn’t go down too well.
He explained his decision as “Tough? Yes. Necessary? Absolutely.”. The responses to his Tweet were understandably more focused on the people that lost their jobs and less on the impressive numbers.
While this story got some recent media coverage it’s probably only one of many like it. The fear of massive job losses due to AI is being realized across industries. The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development released a jobs report on Tuesday that highlighted these fears.
The report stated that “Taking the effect of AI into account, occupations classified to be at highest risk of automation account for about 27% of employment.”
It’s easy to see how a chatbot could replace a human customer support agent but even doctors, lawyers, and programmers are seeing the AI freight train heading for their jobs.
Dukaan is currently hiring software engineers and marketing and sales staff to fill, apparently permanent, positions.