Advances in information technology have created a surge of automation in recent years and the trend shows no signs of slowing. From self-driving cars to self-checkouts, automation is changing the way we live and work. There are a lot of advantages to automation but there are certain things you should keep in mind when you’re automating client processes. There’s an important distinction between client processes and industrial automation because your clients will be interacting in some capacity with the role that has been automated, rather than with a person.
The Personal Touch
Not everyone is an extrovert, and for many people, self-checkouts are a great alternative to cashiers in the same way that some prefer going online rather than visiting in person or phoning. That said, you should be wary of over automating, especially if you’re in an industry where the client experience is particularly important (think restaurants). Your clients aren’t always looking for efficiency alone; many people are looking for a special experience and often, that’s something only a human can provide.
Getting Your Clients On Board
Inertia is a powerful law. You may think that once a process is automated, your business will run more efficiently. That may well be the case, but if you don’t get buy-in from your clients, you’ll have spent a lot of time, effort, and money for nothing. The biggest barrier to automation is when the process is less efficient for clients than interacting with a human. This is especially true if the automated process has a steep learning curve. Make sure anything you automate has your clients’ needs at the forefront: a friendly user interface, helpful instructions and tips, and simple ways of going backwards in the process and cancelling transactions if necessary.
Getting Your Employees On Board
Getting your clients to buy into the automation process can be hard enough as it is, but if your employees don’t believe in the process, it becomes next to impossible. Employees can have a number of concerns when they see automation. The most pressing is that they may worry about their own job security. You should be open and honest with your employees about how automation might affect their prospects, describe your overall vision for how automation will improve the company, and explain what their new roles in the automated workplace may be. You must also train your employees adequately to incorporate automation into their workflow. Inertia affects work processes too, so lots of training may be necessary.
Automating client processes doesn’t always go right the first time and it’s important to constantly evaluate your costs. That includes obvious expenses (implementation, etc.) and the not so obvious expenses (calls from clients to a support team when the automated process isn’t working, etc.). Get in touch with a CPA accountant in Winnipeg; we can help you track expenses and find out whether or not automation is working for your business.