Automation Without Aggravation

Monday Jul 9th 2001 by Robyn Greenspan
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The goal of successful technology implementation is to systemize as much as possible while maintaining the flexibility of personalized human interaction. Often, it is the coupling of automation and humanization that brings about the most customer satisfaction. However, that is easier typed than deployed.

The goal of successful technology implementation is to systemize as much as possible while maintaining the flexibility of personalized human interaction. Often, it is the coupling of automation and humanization that brings about the most customer satisfaction. However, that is easier typed than deployed.

Automation is rampant in e-business — from a basic phone system to the most complex data analysis, technology is at work. But there should be room in the chain of circuitry that allows a human being to step in once in a while.

Here are some examples of successfully merging tools with people as part of your efforts to satisfy customers:

  • You've installed a comprehensive e-mail knowledge base, at considerable expense, generating keyword based automated responses from customer queries. Most of the time, these responses are sufficient but occasionally the customer requires additional assistance. A second or third e-mail attempt from the customer should prompt a live customer service agent to intervene.

  • One of your very good customers places an order one-day prior to the announcement of a special free shipping promotion. Based on the customer's account history and the size of the current order, delivery charges should be waived when the order begins processing even though it was initiated before the promotion.

  • A customer receives a bill for an obviously incorrect amount. Several calls to customer service have been fruitless because the agent believes the computer system is infallible. After the second call for help, a customer service supervisor should have intervened, realized the computer data was incorrect, and manually solved the problem. It's all too often that a call center agent merely reiterates the computerized information without working toward a resolution.

  • Company policies and customer service procedures should be computerized into a centralized database that is accessible to all agents. This will create a consistent customer service structure, allowing both senior-level and newbie agents accessibility to the same inner workings of the operation. Customers will no longer have to rely on luck as to whether they get a knowledgeable agent or an inexperienced one.

A good e-business must strive to strike a balance between effective technological structure and rational decision-making, especially when it comes to managing customer relations.

Related articles:
Cross-Channel CRM Continuity
The Customer is Always ... Important

Reprinted from ECommerce Guide.

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