Softbank’s New AI customer Service Solution

What is The News About?

Softbank adopted AI customer service software. The Japan-based Softbank Group’s telecommunications unit said the new approach will make customers sound more cooperative with agents. Reuters reports that Softbank will test the technology internally this year and next before releasing it in 2026. UK and US media coverage of customer service focuses on unpleasant experiences, such as spending hours listening to hold music. The Japanese government is mulling a new rule to safeguard agents against harassment by furious consumers.

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Softbank publicly supports AI’s ability to solve this issue. The telco started using SB Intuitions Group’s 350bn-parameter LLM in October 2023 to provide “generative AI services tailored to Japanese business practices and culture.” At MWC Barcelona in February, Softbank joined four rivals in a so-called ‘Global Telco AI Alliance’ to create LLMs for the telecommunications industry, including chatbots to boost customer service.

Why Is It Important?

In March, Softbank announced a separate cooperation with Microsoft Japan to adopt AI customer support solutions in its call centers. Softbank is one of many corporations testing AI to improve customer service. Last month, Klarna’s senior technical director Martin Elwin told Tech Monitor that chatbots would save the company $40m in 2024. Elwin said the company uses the technology to help representatives summarize critical policy information on calls. “It’s all about supporting information management rather than making the decision” about customer outcomes, he said.

Benefits

1. Improved Efficiency:AI software helps customer service agents quickly find the right information, saving time for both agents and customers.

2. Better Experience: Customers sound more cooperative with AI help, leading to smoother and more pleasant interactions with support agents.

3. Cost Savings:Using AI in customer service can save companies money by reducing the need for many human agents and lowering operational costs.

Wrapping

Softbank would likely use generative AI in its call centers to “provide guidance in response to customer inquiries, price plan details, and procedures for making changes to contracts.” However, using generative AI to recognize and modify user voices for emotion is innovative. Opponents of AI-powered emotion identification systems contend that such platforms are founded on the faulty idea that a machine can read an individual’s emotions from visual or auditory signals.

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