Start-up Dukaan replaces support staff with AI bot

Ecommerce start-up Dukaan has fired 90% of its support team or about 23 employees with an artificial intelligence (AI) chatbot.
Subhash Choudhary and Suumit Shah
Subhash Choudhary and Suumit Shah

BENGALURU: E-commerce start-up Dukaan has fired 90 per cent of its support team or about 23 employees with an artificial intelligence (AI) chatbot.

Suumit Shah, co-founder and CEO of Dukaan, told this newspaper that this decision was taken in September last year and that it has retained two to four people in the support team. This move has reduced 85 per cent of the customer support cost. The cost involved in the AI chatbot was about USD 100.

Founded in May 2020 by Suumit Shah and Subhash Choudhary, the start-up is an AI-driven platform that enables SMBs and first-time internet entrepreneurs to sell their products and services online. He also said they will turn profitable in three to four months.

Shah said they were getting queries even at 1 am or 2 am and it was difficult for the customer support to respond immediately. “These days, groceries are delivered in just 15 minutes and we need to respond to our customers immediately,” he said.

There were a lot of inefficiencies in the system, he said, adding they don't have time to train or teach anyone and that they opted for this latest technology.

He also said, "Time to first response went from 1 minute 44 seconds to Instant and resolution time went from 2 hours and 13 minutes to 3 minutes and 12 seconds."

Though Shah's tweet on the AI chatbot replacing the team is facing the anger of social media users, AI experts have been saying that this new technology will replace many jobs. A recent report by investment bank Goldman Sachs said that AI could replace about 300 million full-time jobs.

Shah also said that they are hiring for multiple roles and those who are passionate about AI, e-commerce and product design can reach out to them.

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The New Indian Express
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