Yes, we are hearing lots about automation. But people still have a key role to play!
Neville Doughty, Partnership Director
In the past 12 months we have seen rapid acceleration of automation and AI solutions. However, when it comes down to dealing with customers, human relationships still have their place.
We are all customers and there are times when we just want to get something done quickly. In banking terms that may be a balance or transaction check, give me the information that I need fast and simple. It could be a renewal of your insurance or to check where an order is.
But what if the balance isn’t what you expected or you have a duplicate transaction? The renewal price has changed dramatically, or the order isn’t arriving today after all, and you’ve taken a holiday day to wait for it? Well, you probably want to speak with someone, you want understanding and empathy. Another human to say to you it has all been sorted and there is nothing to worry about, to apologise – and mean it.
So, it is likely there will always be some form of need for human intervention in the process.
People determine the processes
AI can determine when a customer is likely to need to make contact based on analysis of various data points and the creation of insights. It can run tasks/journeys to make proactive contacts at the right times based on customer lifecycles.
However, it has not reached the point of autonomy yet where it can decide what the CX should look like, it can give the tools but you still need to direct the effort, so people remain key.
Are your automation objectives aligned?
Few outsource providers have the technology inhouse to satisfy the needs of their clients directly, few clients have the experience to implement AI themselves. As an outsource community of CX specialists you have the opportunity to shape the service delivered and the enable your clients to deliver better outcomes for their customers, differentiate their brand and help them either grow their business or reduce costs.
There is no point putting your head in the sand; this change is here, it is happening now. To say “it’s coming and we will get to it” is too little, too late.
The best thing that you can do is ensure that you have the right partners to enable you to deliver the changes that your client needs and the right commercial agreement with your client to ensure that your business is sustainable.
“If you aren’t talking to your clients about AI and automation someone else will be.”
Those who simply try to protect their headcount will find that they are on the losing side when it comes to contract renewal. Don’t wait until renewal comes along to talk to clients about innovation and cost saving, they will see straight through this!
There are benefits to automation that can support your business
We have seen massive change through homeworking during the pandemic, increased attrition, increased salary costs due to inflation and pressure on clients to manage costs as a result of reduced customer spend due to a hardening economy.
We have seen increasing amounts of work being placed offshore, however there remains the risk that other labour markets become increasingly competitive and then costs will start to rise again.
Customers expect automation for certain tasks, they crave it, so you need to be able to provide solutions for your clients.
“Choosing the right technical partner could be critical to your future success”
As a business you need to ensure that you have:
- Sustainable solutions that work for you
- Alignment of objectives with your clients
- Technical delivery partners that you can rely on and trust to deliver on your behalf
Remember you get out what you put in. Be sure to properly resource any implementation project, scope realistically, ensure you have a clear business case, deliverables, testing and sign off processes, choosing the right solutions is only half of the story.
Want to know more?
Join Us for our webinar on September 14th, when we will be discussing in more detail the opportunity that AI offers to the outsource community.