back to article AI models to detect how you're feeling in sales calls

AI software is being offered to sales teams to analyze whether potential customers appear interested during virtual meetings. Sentiment analysis is often used in machine-learning research to detect emotions in underlying text or video, and the technology is now being applied to help people see how possible future clients are …

  1. Pete 2 Silver badge

    What a _real_ AI would do.

    > AI software is being offered to sales teams to analyze whether potential customers appear interested during virtual meetings.

    How about this:

    An AI analyses the sentiments of victims people who are cold-called. It determines that absolutely nobody, ever, feels positive about having their lives interrupted. Nor about being pressured by a stranger to do something they have no interest in.

    The AI then works out that the best thing to do would be to route all sales calls through to other AI-answered numbers. Those (other) AIs could appear interested, engaged, receptive - and not swearing at the caller ... even once. The sales people would then have much happier lives. The general public would be rid of one of the major nuisances of modern life (does anyone answer calls from numbers they don't recognise, any more?) and the number of telesales made would probably not change from the almost zero percent success rate they currently have.

    Everybody wins!

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: What a _real_ AI would do.

      I was think along different lines based on the same quoted part of the article. *IF* it works, which is doubtful, not only will it help separate the best salespeople from the rest, it'll help separate the good products from the bad if the bullshitting salesperson can be called out on his/her AI emotional analysts. After all, there's no reason why the customer won't have their own AI software at their end too. :-)

      Which raises an interesting point. How would that section of the article have read if the author had wrote it from the point of view of the potential customer using it to separate the wheat from the chaff?

      1. ShadowSystems Silver badge

        Re: What a _real_ AI would do.

        John, I'm not sure regular folks would employ their own AI software to weed out the wheat from the chaffe, we've already stopped answering our phones & let all the calls go to voice mail. If the caller can't be arsed to leave a message, we won't be bothered to call them back.

        Besides, don't we already have anti-spam AI chatbots to deal with callers? ISTR a Youtube series of someone having used an RPi to act as a virtual telephone answering service that did precisely that. But then I'm getting old, my memory is getting hazy, & I have troub... troubl...

        HI! Did you hear the one about the squirrel & the bunny rabbit?

        *Wanders off muttering to myselves & munching on Dried Frog Pills*

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: What a _real_ AI would do.

          "John, I'm not sure regular folks would employ their own AI software"

          I was thinking along the lines of commercial customers on the receiving end of sales calls. That's what I felt the article was driving at. High value sales.

      2. zuckzuckgo Bronze badge

        Re: What a _real_ AI would do.

        > After all, there's no reason why the customer won't have their own AI software at their end too. :-)

        Since this is a Zoom product used on Zoom calls, Zoom gets to play the roll of a military arms dealer. The seller/prospect/victim willing to pay the most get the best AI capabilities. So if you are using a free account you get to play the roll of innocent civilian.

      3. HildyJ Silver badge
        Happy

        Re: What a _real_ AI would do.

        I know what a real AI will do because I have one.

        It will screen the caller's number against a spam list and drop it while recording it in the call log.

        II it passes it will answer and politely ask the caller what the f they want and record the answer, if any.

        If there is no discernible answer, it will terminate the call and let me confirm that it is spam.

        If there is an answer it will put the caller on hold, notify me (including the caller's name if known), and ask me if I want to accept it or tell the caller I'm busy right now.

        It's a standard feature on my Google Pixel phone.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: What a _real_ AI would do.

      Aside from the fact that what is called AI isn't really... anyone who cold calls me gets told in no uncertain terms what they can do with their broom handle and body orifice.

      If that so-called AI System flags that as unresponsive/uninterested then good but the stream of expletives the caller receives should be good enough without needing some [redacted] bit of software to tell them.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: What a _real_ AI would do.

      I do love the idea of an AI assistant on my phone who could automatically answer and engage the sales droid on the other end in a long and fruitless conversation.

  2. DJV Silver badge
    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I like the Joy of Tech's take on this!

      Beat me to it... I'd go with "Obligatory non-XKCD.."

    2. yetanotheraoc Silver badge

      Re: I like the Joy of Tech's take on this!

      Captured my exact take on the topic, but with cleverness thrown in.

  3. Barry Rueger

    Radical Notion #356

    How about fire the salesgeeks who are too dim to read a customer without AI? A really good salesperson does much, much more than flog merchandise

    Yet again, trying to replace humans with computers in a role where the latter are doomed to fail

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Radical Notion #356

      Resistance is futile!

  4. ShadowSystems Silver badge

    Ok, where to start...

    First, take your AI-powered emotions-guessing, telesales-helping tech & cram it so far up your arse that you blink in time with the flashing cursor.

    Second, the self driving car doing so without headlights? Pull it over, realize there's noone in it, & slap a "Denver Boot" wheel-disabling device on it so it can't drive away, then have it towed & impounded until further notice. Sure the company may have permission to operate a self-driving car, but until & unless the tech has been proven MORE reliable than a Human, you need a Human behind the wheel to take over when the software decides those children in the zebra crossing are actually walking "Hit Me!" signs worth 1,000,000 points apiece.

    Third, can we ban all AI software on the grounds that it's a stupid idea & anyone flogging it needs to be flung into the sun as a waste of oxygen? Pretty please, with an extra-strong catapult?

    *Sigh*

    1. TeeCee Gold badge

      Re: Ok, where to start...

      Actually I'd like to suggest a change to that. Rather than banning AI, we should ban describing anything that isn't actually a sentient intelligence as "AI".

      I know that, as things stand, that's the same thing, but I'd like to think that one day we'll get it right.

      1. Andy Non Silver badge

        Re: Ok, where to start...

        That's all well and good until the day a truly sentient AI decides humans aren't sentient intelligence's and bans us. Couldn't blame it really the way the world is going.

  5. msobkow Silver badge

    I can save them a lot of time and effort. They don't need to analyse the response to sales calls; they're all boring, irritating, and end up with me slamming the phone on them.

    DON'T call me. If I want your products or services, I'll call. Until then, piss off.

    1. NoneSuch Silver badge
      Coffee/keyboard

      Slamming the phone down is reflexive, but if you don't TELL them not to call again, they can, and will.

      If you tell them not to call again and they do, then you have recourse in several jurisdictions.

      Work phone only here. If it isn't my boss or colleagues it goes to voicemail which says "Do not call this number for marketing or robo calls..."

  6. Neil Barnes Silver badge

    a model with a modest size of 70 billion parameters,

    While that may be a lot fewer than others, I'm not sure seventy billion of anything can be described as 'modest'.

    1. zuckzuckgo Bronze badge

      Re: a model with a modest size of 70 billion parameters,

      70 billion molecules of scotch is way less then a micro litre. So that is not enough to even be considered modest.

      1. fidodogbreath Silver badge

        Re: a model with a modest size of 70 billion parameters,

        Yet it's still better than no Scotch.

  7. xyz

    The BT sales bloke that phoned me at 20:55...

    And then proceeded to argue the toss that he hadn't phoned me at nine at night, didn't need no AI to tell him I was one pissed off prospective mark.

    Are the people who think up this shit just twats or what?

    1. My-Handle Silver badge

      Re: The BT sales bloke that phoned me at 20:55...

      Or the droid from 3 who kept trying to upsell me to a 15GB per month package on my mobile data dongle... when I'd called to cancel because I'd moved into a house with a) no signal and b) a non-metred, wired internet connection that was cheaper.

      DROID: "We can offer you a free laptop!"

      Me: "I have nine computers in the house, I don't need another. And £XX per month is not free."

      DROID: "Ok, please hold for a moment.." - pause - "...I've just checked, and we can offer you 30GB per month data limit!"

      Me: "I don't have any signal here! How is that going to help me!?"

      DROID: "Our system says we cover your area, and 95% of the UK..."

      Me: "That just shows your system is incompetent. I'm standing here and it doesn't have signal! Now are you going to cancel this contract, as I asked you to do an hour ago, or are you going to continue this sales pitch and force me to hang up and cancel my direct debit instead?"

      DROID: "Oh, this isn't a sales pitch..."

      This was years ago. I might have been a little unduly annoyed by this one...

  8. DrXym Silver badge

    How can someone in sales not know?

    Cold calling someone whose response is polite but negative, pure indifference, outright annoyance or hostile should be a big clue. I wouldn't be surprised if 95% of calls are like this.

    If you can't figure it out then you probably shouldn't be in sales. And for people in sales reading this, god I hate you. You're one rung up from recruitment agents. And only two up from Amazon scammers.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: How can someone in sales not know?

      "I wouldn't be surprised if 95% of calls are like this."

      I think I read somewhere that at best, 2% of cold calls result in any positive outcome. Positive outcome doesn't necessarily mean a sale and this relates to legit calls only, no using of TPS/Do Not Call numbers.

  9. Bitsminer Bronze badge

    Simplify simplify simplify

    Just point the AI at the list of phone numbers that _don't_ respond to sales calls, versus the ones that do.

    Perform inference.

    Profit!

  10. fidodogbreath Silver badge

    AI software is being offered to sales teams to analyze whether potential customers appear interested during virtual meetings.

    Extra help for sales critters who think that responses such as "where did you get this number?" and "don't ever call me again" mean you're just playing hard to get.

  11. spold Silver badge

    I have a special track for that...

    My standard sales-git response is to ask them to please hold, then play them some death metal reserved for the occasion. It would be interesting to see what an Artificial Unintelligence made of that.

    1. Richard Pennington 1

      Re: I have a special track for that...

      Or, for the more classically inclined, may I suggest Varèse, Schnittke or (the old favourite) Stockhausen. You know, the sort of composers whose work suggests that they added a couple of road drills into the orchestra (because, on occasion, they *had* added a couple of road drills into the orchestra).

      And, of course, you turn the volume down gradually, then up to maximum very sharply.

      Then go out and have lunch, with the music still playing on the phone.

      1. Coastal cutie

        Re: I have a special track for that...

        I take my hat off to you for such a highbrow response to them - I'm afraid I'm an unsophisticated oik in such matters and just test the smoke alarm with the phone an inch away

    2. My-Handle Silver badge

      Re: I have a special track for that...

      And I was just thinking of leaving them on hold almost indefinitely, possibly keeping them hanging with the occasional excuse. Starting reasonable and getting progressively more insane.

      "Sorry, there's just someone at the door. Can you hold for five minutes?"

      10 mins later...

      "Sorry, I'm still with you. Your <ridiculous product> sounds like a dream! Do you think... oh, the tumble dryer's just finished. I'll be with you in a sec..."

      20 mins later...

      "Sorry, I'm back! It put up a bit of a fight. Now, you were telling me about <someone else's ridiculous product> weren't you? I was just thinking... damn that hedge needs a trim. Can you hold for a moment?"

      etc.

  12. yetanotheraoc Silver badge

    totally off topic

    "AI models to detect how you're feeling in sales calls"

    Below this I _saw_ "IN BRIEFS", and well I just won't describe what I thought was being detected...

    1. Korev Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: totally off topic

      Sounds pants...

  13. Potemkine! Silver badge

    AI software is being offered to sales teams to analyze whether potential customers appear interested during virtual meetings.

    No need of AI Software. During that kind of calls I'm always pissed-off.

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022