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Improving the First Impression: Customer Care in the Era of Automation

1 Sep, 2015 By: Andy Jones, Xerox Corporation

Automation is top-of-mind these days and is a key component to business success in the twenty-first century. Automating even a small number of processes in an organization improves efficiencies, empowers employees, and drives productivity, all in the name of improving customer service and growing the bottom line.

Automation is being deployed across a number of industries, from helping streamline the onboarding process in human resources, to improving check-in procedures at airports. When it comes to customer service, automation can be used to expedite and improve the interaction between customers and customer care representatives.

According to a recent survey by the Consumer Reports National Research Center, 57 percent of respondents had hung up on a call with a customer service agent without getting a resolution. What was one of the top named irritants? Being transferred to a representative who doesn’t have the information to provide the right answers.

In today’s rapidly changing, technology-driven society, consumers often form an opinion about a company on their first interaction, making decisions based on speed, service, and overall performance. That first interaction can be a deal breaker, therefore it’s imperative to win them over right from the start.

During the first interaction, customers are sharing a variety of data about their personal preferences and general information that, if captured correctly and promptly, can provide valuable insights to enhance the customer experience down the road. Successfully capturing and storing this information ensures that customers don’t have to keep sharing the same information over and over again, which can ultimately lead to frustration and dissatisfaction.

One of the many frustrations consumers have is needing to wait for representatives to find correct answers and information in a timely fashion. Sometimes these answers never come to fruition due to lack of access to data. As a customer myself, I know my number one frustration is repeating information to multiple agents. With that being said, it’s important for companies to invest in the right technology to help track customer preferences and collect and analyze information shared during the customer interaction. Gathering and using this data is key to increasing customer satisfaction and operational efficiency.

Simply put, in order to attract loyal, satisfied customers, organizations and customer service employees who are representing the company need to look smart and make it easy for customers do business with them.

Conceptually, most CIOs and business-decision makers understand that technology is vital to winning and keeping customers. Yet many don’t consider how inefficient business processes impact the overall customer experience. Let’s look at the customer care center, for example. We know there is room for improvement in the interactions between customers and service representatives, so we should focus on streamlining and enhancing our business processes to deliver a better experience for the customer.

Most of today’s automation headlines surround technology, including robots taking over jobs, robots passing self-awareness tests, and even killer robots. It’s clear that robots (and robotic automation) are here to stay. In fact, a recent report from Transparency Market Research predicts that the global IT robotic automation market is forecast to grow at 60.5 percent CAGR from 2014 to 2020.

At Xerox, we’ve recently announced a suite of robotic process automation offerings. These new solutions enable faster deployment and scalability with the ability to  mimic human actions by routing or processing data based on specific rules. Horizon Healthcare Services, Inc. deployed our software solutions to make enhancements to its claim coding system, helping to minimize errors and achieve an accuracy rate exceeding 98 percent.

Our Robotic Process Automation software controls the business process workflow plus what the users see on their screens, creating an easy-to-use, fully integrated product. This application can be used to train customer care agents and to help respond to callers’ inquiries, eliminating the need for extensive agent training on where to find the answers to common customer inquiries. Furthermore, the application knows where to retrieve the correct information while recording/logging information from the entire call.

New Mexico deployed our Robotics Process Automation software in its customer care centers that handle calls for state Medicaid beneficiaries, allowing agents to focus on callers’ inquiries and concerns, rather than on documenting the details and background for the inquiry. Mark that as a win for both the customer and the customer care representative.

The customer experience is paramount to building brand loyalty and customer retention. In today’s rapidly changing digital era, customers have access to more information and choices than ever before. In order to attract and keep loyal customers, it’s important to invest in technology that enables employees to do their jobs better. Happier employees lead to happier customers. And happy customers and employees improve the bottom line.

Andy Jones is Vice President, Workflow Automation, Large Enterprise Operations for Xerox. For detailed company information, please visit http://www.xerox.com

About the Author: Andy Jones

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