How far can it go?

How far can it go?

Is there anyone who could prefer software talking to him rather than a human being?  Is it possible that in 10 or 20 years the automated service overtakes other services, like for example a digital hotel receptionist, a digital waiter, taxi driver, tour guide, travel agent etc. Probably in the not too distant future we will see laws protecting the use of human service or clients paying extra to have it?

Someone might say that it is similar to what was the 18th/19th century Industrial Revolution for the workers, but surely it would not be true. We are talking about the way of communication here. While some innovations, we saw last decade, might drive us forward, a caller would always want to hear a human voice on the other side……

Below you will see a real conversation we had with the automated service of a big hotel chain in Europe.
The name of the chain and characters are fictious, inspired by the sitcom Two and a Half Men. Our part is in red, the rest is the automated service.

Welcome to Casa De Harper Hotels. Call to this number costs 10 cents per minute + network extras.
You are to Casa De Harper Hotel Los Angeles and Charlie’s Restaurant.
Just for your know, you call may be monitored or recorded for training purposes.
–          To make a new booking please press 1.
–          To cancel an existing booking within an automated service it’s 2.
–          If you’d like us to put you through to the restaurant it’s 3
–          And for a meeting that’s four.
–          For a gate straight to reception, just press the hash key.
1 pressed
To book one room, please press 1 and our automated service will guide you through.
For bookings of up to nine rooms press 2 or for ten or more rooms just press 3.
1 pressed
One moment while I put you through to our automated service
Hello I am Rose, Casa De Harper Hotel automated reservations assistant. Do you have a my
Casa De Harper profile.  If not just say “no” and we can continue.
Sorry. Have you created a My Casa De Harper profile, either online or with me?
That’s alright. Which Casa De Harper Hotel are you interested inn. Just tell me the name of
the town or the city you’d like to visit.
Los Angeles
What’s the arrival date?
For how many nights?
I don’t know.
Sorry I missed that. How many nights will you be staying? Tell me the number of…..
That’s one night. Is that correct?
Please say how many nights will you be staying or say “help” for more information.
I am sorry I really don’t understand. Please hold while I put you through
to someone who can help
2 pressed
Hello I am Rose, Casa De Harper automated reservations assistant. I can help
you check an existing booking and if it’s not what you want, I can cancel it.
To help me find your booking please tell me the full reservation code,
one character at a time or you can say – “I don’t have it”
I don’t have it
That’s ok. I’ll try to find your booking another way. Which Casa De Harper have you booked.
If you are not sure just say the town or city of the hotel.
Los Angeles
Sorry I missed that. Please say only the name of the hotel you booked or say
the name of the town or city where you planned to stay.
Los Angeles
Sorry, I still did not get that.
New York
I am sorry, I really don’t understand. Please hold while I put you through
to someone who can help.

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