Technology is advancing quickly in the business landscape (such as touchless processing) — there’s certainly no arguing that. And while taking advantage of emerging technologies like AI and RPA can help businesses automate processes and gain a competitive edge today, before we know it, adopting these technologies will be a requirement just to keep up with competitors.
The benefits of these advances are undeniable for businesses; however, they risk hampering the human elements needed to maintain company morale and keep customers and suppliers satisfied.
According to Forbes, roughly 85% of customer support interactions will be handled without the intervention of a human agent by 2020. So how can organizations preserve those personal, human components of business as automation technology continues to make fundamental processes more and more touchless?
Well, we’ve got three suggestions for you:
1. Use touchless processing to make room for quality human interaction
The goal of automating business processes is to take over tedious, manual tasks, streamlining workflows and minimizing the need for human intervention. In doing so, staff has significantly more time to work on more valuable, business-critical tasks that require the human touch. Collaboration between departments, brainstorming, customer service, and supplier and employee relations all benefit from freed up time for more human interaction.
2. Make automation work for you, not in place of you.
The most common misconception about automation technology is that it eliminates the need for employees that typically tackle those mundane, repetitive tasks. But the truth is that it doesn’t have to work in place of you; instead, automation solutions can be used to work for you and provide customers and suppliers more flexibility when doing business with you. Not only that, but it also allows you to be more adaptable when working with any type of customer or supplier, resulting in stronger, lasting relationships.
Here’s an example for you: While 40 percent of customers prefer talking to a real person over the phone when they have complicated customer service issues, the Millennial generation is proving to have contrary predilections. In this case, automation gives businesses the flexibility to easily work with and satisfy all customers, regardless of their preferred level of interaction. But while chatbots and self-service portals are ideal for customers and vendors that favor online support, it is still critical to provide open lines of communication with human representatives for those looking for more personal interaction — businesses that can do both will have the upper hand over the competition.
3. Don’t try to automate things that are done better by humans.
While machine learning and deep learning have the capabilities to progressively learn and adapt from data, mimicking human intelligence, there are just some things that can’t be done right by our robot friends. AI-driven automation solutions can extract, analyze and sort data exponentially faster than a human ever could, but it couldn’t successfully help a customer or vendor navigate a complex, circumstantial issue. Part of embracing automation technology is knowing when it’s warranted and when it isn’t.
The great thing is that using automation doesn’t have to be an either-or situation. The only thing more valuable than human interaction and automation solutions is when they work in congruence — together they are a force to be reckoned with. The key to maintaining the human touch in “touchless” processing is working with automation, letting it take care of low-value tasks to let humans do what they do best.