Project

E-Commerce When Things Go Wrong

One of the biggest challenges for the digital economy is what to do when things go wrong. Orders get misplaced, numbers mistyped, requests misunderstood: then what? Consumers are frustrated by long waits on hold, misplaced receipts, and delays to problem resolution; companies are frustrated by the cost of high-quality customer service. Online companies want customers� trust, and how a company handles problems directly impacts that. We are exploring how software agents and other technologies can help with this issue. Borrowing ideas from software debugging, we can have agents help to automate record-keeping and retrieval, track dependencies, and provide visualization of processes. Diagnostic problem-solving can generate hypotheses about causes of errors, and seek information that allows hypotheses to be tested. Agents act on behalf of both the consumer and the vendor to resolve problems more quickly and at lower cost.

One of the biggest challenges for the digital economy is what to do when things go wrong. Orders get misplaced, numbers mistyped, requests misunderstood: then what? Consumers are frustrated by long waits on hold, misplaced receipts, and delays to problem resolution; companies are frustrated by the cost of high-quality customer service. Online companies want customers� trust, and how a company handles problems directly impacts that. We are exploring how software agents and other technologies can help with this issue. Borrowing ideas from software debugging, we can have agents help to automate record-keeping and retrieval, track dependencies, and provide visualization of processes. Diagnostic problem-solving can generate hypotheses about causes of errors, and seek information that allows hypotheses to be tested. Agents act on behalf of both the consumer and the vendor to resolve problems more quickly and at lower cost.