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How Satisfi Labs is Using AI to Help Venues Keep Customers Informed About Coronavirus Cancellations

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has shut down many businesses and venues while postponing and canceling a huge number of live events. Conversational artificial intelligence startup Satisfi Labs is working to help those locations adapt the text and voice AI to handle the deluge of questions and concerns they are dealing with from customers.

Venue Shutdown Confusion

Satisfi Labs powers the AI for a wide range of events and venues, including Broadway shows, Major League Baseball teams, and zoos. To try and stem the spread of the coronavirus, most of these locations are closed, but there’s plenty of confusion over the details. Using data on the most common questions raised by customers, Satisfi created a template for the AI platform that clients can plug their specific information into. Chatbots and Alexa skills using Satisfi’s system can then answer questions about whether a venue is closed, what’s happening with refunds, and even how the venue plans to handle hygiene in the future.

“Suddenly there’s 10 to 20 times the number of questions being asked. The first time the coronavirus came up was a question about a zoo and if the panda was contagious,” Satisfi Labs CEO Don White told Voicebot in an interview. “Each venue has their own answers to these questions. We want our clients to know that we can program their [AI] to answer coronavirus questions about rescheduling, refunds, exchanges, and preparations for a post-corona environment.”

Swapping Out

To handle the new set of questions, Satisfi developed a lighter version of its platform that is quick to install for its clients. Because the businesses are essentially in standby mode for the time being and there’s uncertainty about future scheduling,  it makes more sense to have the AI solely focused on the current state of affairs.

“AI is all about context, and the context now is everything is closed. We swapped out the usual deep platform for a much simpler one about the coronavirus. Swapping it out gets the customer the information faster,” White said. “When venues come back, we can switch back to the deeper version, but it’s actually smarter to swap things out.”

Since the quarantine situation is very fluid, the venue may have an answer in a week about a particular show’s situation that it doesn’t have yet. In response, Satisfi also added a new feature called Let Me Know to its platform. The idea is that if someone asks a question that the AI can’t answer, it will file away the questioner’s information and send them an email to tell them when there’s an answer. But, while Satisfi can help resolve some questions, an AI platform can’t take the place of the employees who would normally handle many inquiries, White said.

“This is a good opportunity to augment technology, but it’s not a replacement for people,” White said. “Call centers are just not set up for people to work at home right now. What we’re doing is helping keep people informed until things improve.”


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