Automation can provide great benefits in the fields of customer service, marketing, manufacturing, accounting and sales.
It can help companies to cut costs, be more productive, provide a better customer experience and gather detailed information about marketing and customer service results.
However, allowing technology to deal with your clients instead of actual human beings has certain downsides, which must be considered.
They can include:
No Flexibility Or Versatility
Whether you automate your phone or online services, the software will be programmed to act in a certain manner without the flexibility that a live person can offer.
For example, if you offer online appointment scheduling and an individual needs to arrive 15 minutes after your latest time slot, a live customer service agent can make that exception, but an automated service cannot.
Automation can ruin the customer experience by taking away the option of flexibility, whether in pricing (discounts), time arrangements or services offered.
This is important to consider for those that value their clients and are able to be more accommodating than a software can be.
In manufacturing, a machine that is automated to create a certain item will have no versatility in making changes to that process.
For example, if a person sews jackets, they can make changes to fulfill a special request, but a machine will not.
No Way To Ask for Help
Many of us have spent time trying to work an automated phone system to reach a live person, and not being able to.
This is another downsize of automation; if a question or concern arises, the system may not be able to provide help.
A moving company that only allows clients to book services online may be losing customers if they are not able to contact a live person to ask how many movers are appropriate for their situation, or how long a given move would take, for example.
A good workaround is to create an automated service, but allow clients to contact a live person if the need arises.
Purchasing automation software can be expensive, upwards of thousands of pounds.
Many small businesses cannot afford this investment, or end up taking high percentage loans just to pay for it.
Even after the software and machinery are purchased, there can be unforeseen costs to train employees in how to use the automation, possible financial losses due to errors during the training period, or the costs to develop and maintain the software.
Head of Training and Development
Originally published: 16 September, 2016