How artificial intelligence can prevent a shitstorm

AI has developed strongly in recent years. Intelligent algorithms, for example, can already independently compile product descriptions, automatically display target group-specific ads, analyze ratings, chat with customers or process search queries.

Which fields of application are there for AI? For example, artificial intelligence can help modulate comments and feedback: the technology can analyze queries, complaints, or comments, and find out what emotional state the author of a post or comment is.

Artificial intelligence can also filter messages cross-platform based on statements and keywords that are directly related to the company or product. In this case, interactions can be automatically assigned to the categories “high priority” or “low priority” and forwarded to the responsible employee from the customer service.

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In addition, it is possible to examine all messages of a customer and merge across all social networks. The larger the amount of data that is processed, the more “intelligent” and more accurate the artificial intelligence becomes. For example, if someone posts “The product XY works especially well in smaller companies,” the artificial intelligence reads out the product name, the name of the company, and the mood. So emotions can be detected early and shitstorms prevented or mitigated.

Shitstorms and crisis communication with the help of AI

Crisis communication in social media is a topic that many companies fear. Should it happen, then fast reactions and active management are needed. And preferably not only when the case has already occurred, but before a Shitstorm ever arises. This is where the problem lies: most companies only notice a crisis when it is already too late.

Used properly, AI can be a valuable help. The use of bots reveals the slightest peaks and irregularities in the communication, which could point to negative emotions. These are then sent as an alert via a dashboard to the responsible employees.

The best example of this is the crisis communication of the major sporting goods manufacturer Nike, who is currently struggling with a shitstorm due to his campaign with football player Colin Kaepernick.

Background: Kaepernick 2016 was the center of a fierce argument, because he kneeled before a football game during the American national anthem. He wanted to draw attention to the police violence against African Americans – and drew the anger of President Trump and his followers on himself.

When Nike Kaepernick hired for the promotion, angry Americans burned their shoes and flooded the sporting goods maker with hate comments. For Kirsenkommunikation Nike now uses bots that recognize and analyze the manufacturer’s logo on public images in the social networks.

Are there laughing people there or do they burn their shoes, as in the current case? The responsible employees receive a corresponding notification and thus have the opportunity to respond quickly to critical images and to contact the authors of these posts. This may weaken or even prevent shitstorms.

Opportunities and Risks of AI in Social Media

Of course, not all emotions can be detected with the help of artificially intelligent algorithms. With sarcasm and irony AI is currently reaching its limits. But as technology learns and evolves through every customer interaction, the result is getting better and better.

Opportunities for the use of bots and Co. in social media are therefore on the one hand in the prevention of crises and shitstorms, also chatbots can be used for simple customer inquiries in customer care. Bots can provide standard answers to frequently asked questions, or request information such as device number, etc., before informing a service center representative. This greatly facilitates the work of the employees.

Despite all the possibilities offered by AI in customer communication, the machines are reaching their limits. Thus, an artificial intelligence – state today – can not completely replace a conversation with a real person.

Emotions can be trained, but only to a certain extent. Thus, companies should see the possibilities of digitization positively. AI is a chance, not a threat.

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About the author: Bernd Hacker has been active in the digital industry for almost 20 years. After his early entry into AOL Germany, he worked in the management of Ciao, Entertainment Shopping AG and CaptchaAd. In his current role as Director of Sales at Sprinklr, he helps leading advertisers scale the Paid Social theme using their own technology.

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