The Inadvertent Consequences of Automation Technology

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Investment in automation technology has been increasing rapidly. Businesses have achieved different levels of success in customer responsiveness and productivity improvement. In many cases, the focus is on cost reduction. As a result, inadvertent consequences impact customer satisfaction, churn, as well as the company brand.

Sound automation technology investments require clear articulation of goals. User adoption and satisfaction are keys to success. Let’s look at a couple of examples.


The surge in chatbot deployment is evident. Apart from improving response time to customer requests, chatbots are implemented to reduce manpower expenses.

When the focus is on cost-saving, customer experience is impacted. A poorly designed chatbot is a money losing proposition.

Consider this scenario, a customer wanted to explore new skin care products. She typed in a few ingredients she looked for. The chatbot responded with a list of products. When asked to compare two of the suggested products, the bot returned with links to both products. Receiving the not-so-helpful response, the customer changed how she phrased the question.

The chatbot returned circular responses to the questions. Having spent over 30 minutes trialing different questions and looking at the product links, the customer was frustrated.

There are different types of chatbot. It is important to understand what they are and their limitations. Adoption without clarity on what you want to achieve and how to address the limitations could backfire.

Field Service Management

Service providers that have multiple crews need a tool to manage job scheduling, dispatch, and time tracking. They also need to communicate with the customers regarding their appointments.

The appeal of a field service management application is to have a single tool to manage operations and eliminate the need to access information from Excel and disparate tools. Efficiency and productivity gains boost the bottom-line.

With the software, the customer receives a text or email alert about the upcoming appointment. This alert might be sent several times before the day of the job.

On the day of the job, another text/email is sent. The expectation is that if a reply was not received, the appointment would be canceled.

From the customer’s perspective, the repeated reminders could be overwhelming. For those who are unable to respond in a timely manner on the day of the appointment, canceling the appointment would be a turnoff.

The assumption that individuals always have a smart phone or have access to emails 24×7 is flawed. Situations might not allow the customer to reply instantly. Therefore, it is necessary for businesses to communicate the expectations upfront so customers are aware.

Automation technology is an excellent investment when it is designed to serve the users, particularly the customers well. Short-sighted investments that achieve short-term benefits would not sustain.

If you would like to adopt technology and transform your business successfully, download this whitepaper on 9 Ways to Improve the Success of Digital Transformation.

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