Why organisations should take a holistic approach to automating customer journeys
By introducing automation technology, like our AI customer engagement platform, into their customer services, many businesses have saved considerable amounts of time and money that would otherwise have been spent on manually carrying out routine, low-value functions. In addition to this, automation has saved time and money for customers by delivering quick answers to simple questions, and solutions to non-complex issues.
While automating customer services can be hugely beneficial for businesses and consumers alike, it should not be seen as a ‘silver bullet’ solution for improving all aspects of the customer experience.
In fact, there are certain areas of customer service that should not be automated, and as such organisations should take a holistic approach when introducing technology to ensure that their customers have the best possible experience.
Although some aspects of customer service can be particularly difficult to automate – often those that are not especially ‘glamorous’ and require deep systems integration – it is often these parts where automation can bring the most value to the customer.
Functions like checking the status of an open ticket or finding out when an appointment is due are highly valuable for customers, but they are, in effect, hygiene matters, and can, if pulling data from multiple systems, be hard to implement.
It is very tempting, therefore, for organisations to prioritise automating other, more ‘glamorous’ processes. However, this would be to the detriment of both the organisation and the customer, and it is important that organisations ensure they adopt an automation strategy that balances customer expectations and value with what is technically easiest and looks best.
However, it is also vital that organisations recognise which customer interactions require a greater level of human engagement. These are often those exchanges where empathy for the customer’s situation is needed to provide them with the best possible service. Because a chatbot might be unable to fully comprehend the intricacies of a particular incident, or the emotional response of those involved to it, human engagement in this area of customer service is truly invaluable.
Many businesses understandably and rightly outsource functions of their organisations. But in doing so, many also take the problematic decision to outsource their communications and relationships with customers as part of the deal.
All those functions that are outsourced should be tracked and managed by the organisation that holds the relationship with the customer, so as to avoid the loss of context and ensure customers’ needs are being met, meaning it can be identified where services need to be improved.
In short, it is vital that organisations take a strategic and measured approach to outsourcing and automation, which means never outsourcing the relationship with customers, and introducing automation in a pragmatic way that does not create frustration that leads to inconsistent customer experiences.
Tom Shrive is the founder and CEO of askporter