Need to send a parcel? United Parcel Service Inc. (UPS) has a new chatbot that can help.
Yesterday, a beta version of the UPS chatbot was released. It is available on Facebook Messenger, Skype and Amazon’s virtual assistant Alexa. UPS promised that its chatbot will be better than the current chat feature on its website and app. The chatbot will understand simple conversational phrases and will respond back in English. (See also: Sony's Big Bet on Artificial Intelligence.)
Right now the chatbot can handle small requests like finding the nearest UPS store and calculating shipping rates. According to Transport Topics, UPS Vice President of Customer Technology Marketing Stuart Marcus says “follow-up versions will enable UPS customers to get more advanced information.”
The chatbot highlights UPS’s investment in technology. The delivery company invests more than $1 billion a year in technology to make its shipping processes more efficient. The chatbot was developed in-house. (See also: 2016's Most Promising Tech Investments.)
The next step for the chatbot is integration with UPS My Choice. The UPS My Choice is a service where customers can get free delivery alerts and delivery time estimates. With a free membership plan, customers can leave delivery instructions or ask for package pick-up at a UPS location instead of home delivery. For a supplemental charge, or with a premium membership, customers can have their packages delivered to another address or have their packages delivered on another day.