Businesses must not over-automate their services to save costs

Decision makers should be careful not to over-automate their operations at the risk of losing its 'human touch' with customers.

As technology continues to develop, more businesses are taking advantage of automation and AI in order to take their operations to the next level. According to research, almost nine in ten businesses in the UK are planning to invest in AI by 2020.

While technology can play a crucial role in helping businesses to grow, it is important for organisations not to over-automate their services as doing so could lose the ‘human touch’, a critical component of the customer service experience. This is according to Vidatec, a website and app development company.

Jamie Woolnough, Head of UX at Vidatec commented: "In the age of speed and instant information it is vital for businesses to have the right technologies and structures in place. However, businesses should examine and really understand why they want to automate their processes and how it will benefit their customers. For example, some businesses might think that an automated customer sales representative chatbot might speed up customer service calls and increase satisfaction, but it might just do the opposite.

“We have all been in a situation where we have struggled to get our messaging across to an automated bot, which is incredibly frustrating and can actually turn us against a brand.

When done well however, AI and automation can complement and enhance relationships organisations have with their customers, rather than eliminating them completely.

“Often a key differentiator for a lot of businesses is the addition of personality to the technology. Some companies have done this really well. Google Home, Siri and Alexa are great at answering questions but often what makes them unique is ‘how’ they respond. Google doesn’t just say something like “the timer has commenced”, it says, “Okay! Setting the timer, starting…now!”

People like doing business with people, and this has to be reflected in technology. This will help to convert customers into loyal consumers who are more likely to come back for more.

“While today’s disruptive technology has the potential to bring unrivalled levels of convenience to discovering and buying products, it will not spell the end for human interaction completely. In fact, technology will be most effective when it is used as a means of supporting and boosting the connection between customers and a business.

Woolnough concluded: “It is critical that organisations understand their audience and the value they place on human interaction. Consumers want to feel special and if brands can use data and personalised technology to support this, it will help to grow loyalty amongst customers.”