Trends in customer service have evolved from one end of the spectrum (basic support) to the other (the full customer experience). Remember when the popular term was Consumer Support? That eventually transformed into Customer Service, which has itself transformed into Customer Experience.
Much more than simple support, Customer Experience goes beyond responding to a request or fixing an issue.
To stay competitive, service providers must go beyond “is it fixed: yes or no” to delivering an experience that results in a repeat customer who becomes an advocate.
At one time, customers frequently visited a bricks and mortar store, and interactions were all face to face—requests, questions, concerns, complaints, and so forth. You looked the representative (often the proprietor) in the eye and had a discussion.
That ‘discussion’ is seldom in person today, as companies strive to ensure that the customer experience is as personal and fulfilling as it can be face to face. Companies must focus on continually improving customer service and loyalty, with another eye on cost management (often managing heavy call volumes with limited resources).
Automation is an elegant solution to both. Think of Henry Ford’s assembly line and how it forever changed mass production techniques. Automation is the business world’s modern-day assembly line.
Automation is the Word!
Automation, as defined for this discussion, is controlling a process by reducing human intervention to a minimum. Automation can improve operational efficiency and productivity, and make processes cost efficient, error-proof, reliable, streamlined, and transparent. In other words, you can save time and money while simultaneously delighting your customers. Processes that are the best candidates for automation are:
Repeatable, repetitive, and redundant.
High volume and transactional
Rules-based, i.e. if this, then that
Automation can include robotic processes repeating the same task with the same flawless outcome. Examples include scripts that assist representatives with customer calls, and job schedulers that automate jobs in a timely manner and in the correct sequence.
Automation for the Utility Industry
In the utility industry, there are tons of processes (from simple to complex) that can be automated, including high bill exceptions, meter reading exceptions, and missing meter reading estimations. Of particular benefit is the ability to create your own automated processes within your system in a simple way.
An example of Automation (Wizards)
An example of automation in software could be “Wizards”, which are a collection of screens that satisfy a business need. You only see the required fields you need for the business process. You can tailor the wizards to your business processes, add your own prompts, add approvals for monetary adjustments, assign individuals or groups to certain wizards, and assign permissions to each business process. Alerts tell users when a wizard has been assigned.
Your company can benefit from these wizards in a variety of ways:
Speed to complete tasks
Consistent treatment of processes and policies
Shorter onboarding/training time
Simplified business processes
Less call time per customer issue and more time for genuine interactions
Automation is now at your fingertips. Automating your system with wizards can save you time and money—and improve your customers’ overall experience and loyalty.