Cost Efficiency and Effectiveness Through Automation
The goal of any service organization must be to achieve the optimal balance between cost efficient service transactions and comprehensive customer engagement that drives customer success. Automation of Technical Support or Customer Success functions may yield great returns, yet some service activities can be difficult to replicate with systems.
The key to achieving this balance is in the approach a service organization takes to truly understand customer needs and formulating the most cost-effective ways to respond. Effective customer engagement may require a high rate of live assistance (personal-touch). Over time as the knowledge of customer issues is captured and the tools to help customers express their needs are available, service transactions can become increasingly automated (tech-touch).
Seven Critical Steps for Successful Service Delivery Automation
Here are 7 steps to consider for successful service automation:
1. Define and document key service delivery processes.
Establish which processes are conducive to automation.
2. Establish the Appropriate Level of Automation
Establish how much automation is appropriate for customer interactions. Factors should include the level of intimacy desired for customer transactions, they ability for customer to use automated systems and the availability of tools to successfully support automation.
3. Evaluate Available Technologies
Technology is the enabler of service automation. Identify the technologies that can provide the capabilities necessary to deliver a satisfying customer experience.
4. Focus on Content
Service automation is about understanding what customers need and providing them with an effective solution. Service automation relies on the technologies that facilitate the service delivery processes as well as the underlying knowledge and expertise that customers seek. Content development is a critical factor in service automation success.
5. Define and Measure Success
Determine how successful automation will be measured. Are you seeking cost efficiencies, revenue growth, service level performance or a target customer satisfaction rate? Be clear about your desired outcomes with careful attention to optimizing the right balance between multiple performance objectives.
6. Treat this as a Journey
Service automation and the creation of self-service offerings is an ongoing effort to identify ways to provide customers with the resources they need quickly and efficiently. An ongoing commitment to analyze performance and allocate resources is essential to maximizing the benefits of automating the service experience.
7. Don’t Over Automate
Automate service transactions and processes but do not try to use automation as a surrogate for sustaining a customer relationship. Sometimes direct personal interaction is essential.