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SOPHIA VS GEORGIA - BUSINESS AUTOMATION

Monday 13th July 2015

Amsource team members Sophia and Georgia weigh up their thoughts and experiences on business automation. Are you for or against?

call automationAutomation is a topic that is becoming more prevalent as technology continues to develop. Many companies are choosing machines over human workers to carry out tasks which can in turn improve efficiency and productivity for the business and reduce labour costs, but how is it impacting the customer experience of brands?

SOPHIA : AUTOMATION IS ENHANCING THE CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE

Automated text reminders. These are a great way for companies to remind you of appointments you could have made months ago. I think that this piece of technology is enhancing the customer experience greatly as now days it can be used by almost anyone, for a small fee of course. Historically these automated reminders used to be used predominantly by hospitals, Dr’s surgery’s and dentists etc. as a tool to remind people of an appointment they may have booked months ago and most likely forgotten about. Today this service can be used by anyone, for example my hairdresser uses them to remind clients about an appointment. This service can save people and companies both time and money as if you can’t attend for any reason your slot can be given to someone else. I personally think that this service is enhancing the customer experience as it should eventually begin to reduce costs for customers as so much money is wasted on people not showing up to appointments. Yes this is a long term benefit but a benefit all the same.

Automated personalised follow up, emails and texts. These automated personalised emails I believe enhance the customer experience as they allow the customer to feel that their experience and opinion on an experience can be heard, whether that be in the format of a survey or a replying thanking people for their time. In general these automated follow ups cut costs and increase productivity in an organisation as they are make the customer feel like they are valued. Automated personal follow ups also enhance the customer experience as they allow companies to gather information from these follow ups and pro-actively improve their service based on the information that comes back to them. Automated payments systems. You either love them or hate them in my opinion. I love them!

No more queuing for 45 minutes just to pay a bill, no more worrying that a person is writing down your bank details when you give it to them. It is now all done on an automated machine and your just type in your numbers on your phone. Easy. Many business can also benefit from automated payment systems if they collect recurring payments, as automation makes this process quicker and easier. This then makes the customer experience better as they are not being hassled for money. In my opinion automated payments are more convenient, quick and easy to use, so they save the customer a great deal of time and hassle.

Why would you not want that?

GEORGIA : AUTOMATION IS NOT ENHANCING CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE

Whilst there are some good points to businesses using automation as Sophia mentions. I am, however against business automation for the following reasons. Whilst it is sometimes quicker and easier through automation to resolve customer queries and issues, I feel like businesses these days will do anything and everything to avoid communicating to their customers on a personal level. Sometimes if you have a genuine query which requires you to speak to a team member, you will be diverted to five minutes of an automated switch board with many options diverting customers to the company website and away from talking to a human being. In my personal opinion I have hung up the phone feeling far more satisfied my query has been dealt with correctly when I have spoken to a person rather than an automated system.

For me, speaking to a worker gives the business I am dealing with more of a personality and in turn is more likely going to make me use the brand again, providing the service they provided me with was good. A company in my opinion that does this well is O2 they have the option on their website to talk to an o2 guru on live chat. Every time I’ve had an issue I’ve proceeded to tackle it with this option and have been really impressed at the level of service, it’s clear you’re talking to an actual human being and it offers you a chance to see the personality behind the business. It seems some businesses are not taking on board how frustrating it can be as customer to be forced to use an automated system, or to pick from a list of options that have no relevance to your query. This can sometimes make customers who would normally be loyal to the brand sway towards competitors who are willing to deal with queries on a more personable level. SPAM.

Businesses who send email after email every day with offers that aren’t relevant to me is extremely irritating. Just because my name is written at the top of the email does not make it any less annoying, or more personable. It just makes me wonder how my details got in their hands in the first place? Years ago personable automation may have been a hit with consumers but these days customers can in my opinion see through consumer’s attempts to target them and get them to spend their money. Which can put some consumers off.

What are your thoughts? Do you think businesses using automation provides a better or worse service to customers?

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