3 tips to consider when automating the customer experience

I attended this year’s Customer Contact Week in Las Vegas and left with a different takeaway than anticipated.  Across multiple discussion groups and conversations with participants it’s clear customer experience professionals believe “automation is here.” Many attendees expressed urgency to move forward.  However, this excitement was countered in equal measure by uncertainty and reluctance.

Perhaps there’s organizational “muscle memory” around clunky IVR or CRM deployments influencing adoption?  Whatever the case, many attendees voiced concerns about impact to customers, budgets and competing project schedules.

The good news is that introducing automation to your customer experience program doesn’t have to be an all or nothing endeavor.   Here are a few key considerations to keep in mind as you contemplate introducing automation to your customer experience program:

  • Keep an open mind. Before you say “my business is too complex for automation,” remember that automation solutions have advanced significantly.  Coupled with artificial intelligence and analytics, automation offers the speed and flexibility to quickly improve the bottom line and increase customer retention.
  • Start with a “digital discovery” of your customer experience data set. This analysis is a critical first step that informs any decision to pursue automation.  Digital discovery identifies where automation makes sense across or within your transaction volume and channels.  In the end, you need to base a deployment decision on fact.  Get it right; know your business case before action is taken.
  • Consider a small pilot or hybrid solution. You don’t have to over-commit.  While automation may be able to handle an entire transaction type, recognize there may be benefits if automation only handles a subset of a complex transaction.

For one dispatch services client, we’re developing a hybrid solution where automation solves part of a complicated problem.  Intelligent automation captures transaction basics – for example, “Who are you?” and “Where are you?” — and also conducts structured queries around event cause and condition.  This approach allows direct-to-digital service dispatch and highly effective hand-off to a voice agent in the event of complicated service events.  When voice services are required, average handle time is reduced 50%, reducing cost and improving speed-to-dispatch.

In the end, don’t be afraid to take that first step.  A willingness to explore automation solutions can lead to a better customer experience and a reduction in cost to serve well worth the effort.

Tim Szymanski-Bio-Picture-ConvertImage for blogTim Szymanski is the Lead Offering Solution Architect for Customer Experience in DXC’s Business Process Services group. Prior to this role, Tim drove creation of HP’s portfolio collateral and messaging for customer experience services within the automotive industry. He was a practice leader within EDS’ Business Transformation Services organization, where he led a team of accomplished customer experience consultants on projects that spanned North and South America and Europe.

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