Indian startup founder Sumeet Shah has laid off 90% of customer support staff at his e-commerce company Dukan after an efficient artificial intelligence (AI)-powered chatbot outperformed them.
In his Twitter post making the announcement, Shah deemed the move “absolutely” necessary as AI bots drastically reduced the response time to a few minutes, while employees took longer – about two hours – to perform the same task. .
The 31-year-old founder of the Bengaluru-based startup, which supports merchants in building online stores and selling products, shared the news in a tweet, which gained popularity after it was posted on Monday.
Shah wrote in his tweet, “We had to lay off 90% of our support team because of this AI chatbot. Difficult? Yes. Necessary? Absolutely.”
The startup founder said that the AI technology has increased the response time for his company from one minute to 44 seconds, which is almost “instant”.
In his tweet, the entrepreneur claimed that his company’s customer support costs have come down by 85% as a result of the technological intervention. Meanwhile, the solution time by his team increased from two hours and 13 minutes to three minutes and 12 seconds by the chatbot.
Justifying his decision regarding the layoffs, Shah wrote that in the current state of the country’s economy, startups are prioritizing “profitability” rather than “striving to become unicorns”.
He tweeted, “Sure it’s less magical, but at least it pays the bills! Customer support had been a struggle for us for a long time and it felt like an opportunity for me to fix it.”
Sharing the journey of successfully experimenting with AI, the shop’s founder emphasized that the struggle with customer support was “real”, so they decided to move on.
However, he ended his tweet with an invitation to apply for other roles at his company, which currently employs 60 people, of whom only three are part of the customer support team, reducing their monthly budget for the department to just 100 dollars left.
“P.S. We are hiring for multiple roles in the shop,” he tweeted.
His tweet said, “If you’re passionate about AI, e-commerce, product design… you know how to reach us.”