When Automation Hurts Your Business

Living in the future is fantastic! Whenever I am able to hand over a task to technology birds sing, the heavens part, and my life gets a little bit easier. Using artificial intelligence and automated processes can really help employees improve productivity. There is an ugly side to automation though, that should not be overlooked, because it may cost you customers and business.

Don’t sacrifice customer service

The first and the most important rule of implementing automation or artificial intelligence into your business is to make sure the new process will not alienate customers or leave them feeling neglected. We have all tried to call customer support, only to be greeted with a robotic voice giving us options. Many people will simply press zero and try to find a living person to deal with as soon as possible.

While it may be difficult for your business to employ enough people to answer the phone each time a person calls, there are ways to make the whole process a little easier to handle. For example, don’t offer too many choices, and make sure the choices are easy to understand.

Offering a chat on your website may even be better than trying to improve your voicemail options. Artificial intelligence bots are able to understand typed text much easier than verbal commands. You may be able to solve the customer’s problem without any human interaction at all, and they wouldn’t even know they were communicating with a robot.

The handoff needs to be smooth

When the user does need to actually speak with a live human being, the handoff from computer to person should be incredibly seamless. The first way to make that happen is to ensure there is someone available to take the call as much as possible. If the customer has to wait until a person is available, it could leave them with a bad taste in their mouth.

Also, make sure that if you are requiring them to enter a customer number you don’t end up having to ask for the number again. It is very frustrating as a customer to take the time to enter a long number into the phone or chat window, and then immediately asked for the same number once a person answers the call.

The customer should almost not even be able to tell when the handoff from AI to human actually took place.

Check your automations regularly

As you use more automations to streamline business processes, it is important to regularly check that they are functioning properly. In 6 months you don’t want to realize that the system you had in place to push out notifications to employees hasn’t been functioning and you suddenly have a huge backlog of work. When your customers look at your email newsletter or your social media channels, you really don’t want them to see a promotion for a 4th of July sale right before Thanksgiving.

Checking up on your automations on a monthly or even weekly basis will make sure that you are still gaining productivity, but you are not losing any points with your customers.