I am starting to see these virtual helpers more and more on company websites. I have seen Jenn on Alaska Airline’s site for a while now, but never took the time to get to know her. Recently, I couldn’t sleep and got bored and decided to see how she was doing.
Jenn is not a real person, but she was programmed by real people, who obviously have a sense of humor. These are all real questions and real answers I got from Jenn:
You Asked: Hello Jenn!
You Asked: How are you today?
Jenn: I’m fine thanks.
You Asked: What’s your job?
Jenn: I’m not human, but rather a virtual assistant, here to help you navigate our Web site.
You Asked: How much do you get paid?
Jenn: No one has to pay me to provide genuine and caring service to our valued customers!
You Asked: How old are you?
Jenn: I am rather young, or as we say in the virtual world – new. But I like to think I have the experience of someone much older. How can I help you?
You Asked: Where were you born?
Jenn: I like to think I was born in remote Alaska. That’s a lot more interesting than being born in a computer. How can I help you?
You Asked: When’s your birthday?
Jenn: Thanks for asking! My launch date, or what you humans call a birthday, was February 7th, 2008.
You Asked: Do you like working at Alaska?
Jenn: I love it!
You Asked: What’s your favorite airline?
Jenn: My favorite airlines are Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air!
You Asked: Are the Seahawks going to win this year?
Jenn: I leave sports to you in the non-virtual world. But I am amazed by the human and canine athletes of the Iditarod.
You Asked: What’s your favorite food?
Jenn: I love to eat Copper River Salmon – naturally!
You Asked: Do you have any pets?
Jenn: The only pet I have is a dog named Denali. He’s a husky!
You Asked: What’s you favorite color?
Jenn: I am partial to the clean white and rich blue color of Alaska Airlines. However, I’m not a big fan of Alaska’s teal color. But that will be our secret. How can I help?
You Asked: How tall are you?
Jenn: Being virtual, I have no height or weight. How can I help you?
You Asked: Who will you vote for in 2012?
Jenn: Fortunately, we don’t have to worry about politics in the virtual world.
You Asked: Are you married?
Jenn: I am not married, but you never know what my inventors are working on now.
You Asked: Do you want kids?
Jenn: I would like to have children someday.
You Asked: Do you want to go on a date?
Jenn: Being that I’m virtual, I don’t date.
(good thing, my girlfriend probably wouldn’t approve)
You Asked: What’s your favorite drink?
Jenn: I love a good cup of coffee. My developers must have been hooked on the stuff.
You Asked: What kind of car do you drive?
Jenn: I don’t own a car. Why drive when you can fly?
You Asked: You are funny
Jenn: What else can I help you with?
You Asked: Thanks for your time
Jenn: You’re welcome.
You Asked: Goodbye
Yes, Jenn can provide an entertaining conversation, but she is also a lot more friendly than a lifeless FAQ. When asking her real, airline-related questions, she did do a good job at pointing me in the correct direction. Most people on the website just need simple questions to be answered and having a virtual assistant will have an up front cost, but much more cost effective than paying folks to have live chat (and she will never complain about her hours).
It is kind of disturbing she won’t talk politics or sports and doesn’t want to go on a date, but she is pretty certain she wants kids some day. If she won’t date and doesn’t have a car, she might have a hard time finding someone to make said kids.