Chaz Austin sheds some light on the technologies behind automated e-mail response (“Immediate E-Mail Response: A Novel Idea,” Oct. 4), but, frankly, having been on the receiving end of dozens of such responses, my take is that by installing software created by the Brightwares of the world, vendors create more customer ire than anything else.
Typically, what is generated is a response that has absolutely nothing to do with the original question save for a couple of keywords. As an example, I recently sent a query to a well-known online brokerage inquiring about minimum account balances required to receive IPO shares. What I got back was a generic reply about their IPO process with absolutely no reference to my question, and with an admonishment to check their Web site or e-mail them again with the same question if their robot hadn’t handled it adequately. Why, so I can get the same irrelevant answer twice?
Brightware may be closing a lot of $250,000 sales. But, when a company’s response to a pre-sales question is generated by a nonhuman and consequently doesn’t address the question, the potential customer is left wondering what, if anything, will go right once he signs on the dotted line.