Business Process Automation (BPA) in Customer Communication
If we have learned anything during the recent pandemic, it’s that communication is the cornerstone of keeping things moving. Knowing what is going on in the world around us — locally and globally — has never been truer than it is today.
One of the key barriers to effective communication is manpower. Although it may seem strange to state that, it’s true. In order to have effective communication you need people to define the communication strategy, people to deliver the message in a consumable and relevant way, and people to engage with questions and concerns from the information consumers. These steps all require some level of human interaction that can create their own issues and concerns. This is where system automation can come into play.
Automation is Timely
Delivery of information is not always a simple matter, especially for larger organizations with lots of content reviews and approvals needed. After that, the information needs to be formatted, usually another round of proof-reading, and then delivered to the distribution channels which can release information differently. In some cases, there is a dependency on third-parties to deliver the information, which also increases delivery times.
Automated systems streamline the process. As soon as information is available, it can be disseminated by automating the system that houses and delivers that content. If edits are needed, they can be done immediately and deliver updates with little to no delay. By centralizing the information into a parent system, consumers — organizations, individuals, or other systems — information can be flagged with a timestamp and the most recent version can be available in an instant.
Automation is Efficient
Even when delivered to the appropriate group, there is still the time needed for individuals to read, consume, and work that information into their day-to-day work. It presumes that people have the time to read that information, especially if it is being updated on a regular basis. As people we need time to read, consume, digest, and understand the information before it is relayed to customers. These all take time, and for every person that is a different amount of time depending on the complexity and detail of the message.
Automated systems make the delivery of that information much more efficient. Updates that are made into an automated system are delivered to every system that utilizes that data in parallel. Systems that relate keyword intents to this information can be updated in real-time and make information available based on the customer’s request, even if there is a typo or misspelling on the keywords. This allows for the automated systems to understand the customer’s request and should a keyword not be assigned but should be, it will allow for that keyword to be added fairly quickly and related to the right content. Yes, this may still require some level of human interaction, but the updates are implemented quickly.
Automation is Consistent
Each one of us can ask the same question to 5 different people and receive different forms of the answer. Some may be vague, some may be more detailed; some may be incomplete, some may be wrong. This all comes down to the person’s understanding of the information and then their ability to relay it in the manner it was intended to be. Additionally, there are also the factor of tone when people are delivering messages. Accents, tone of voice, frustration, and even just a personal bias based on a name or a voice can drive some users to lose the message not matter its accuracy.
Automated systems can assist greatly with the delivery of messaging. An automated messaging bot, for example, would have a persona defined that represents the organization and can deliver messages and information that are in line with the brand. The same tone, the same information, the same messages, no matter who requests or how many times you ask, until the information is updated.
Is Automation For My Business?
The answer to this question is subjective to your business, but there are most likely certain elements where automation can help. It could be internal automation such as an HR system that answers questions about the benefit plan, holidays, or vacation availability. It could be customer service automation, taking the pain points out of a live agent’s hands to answer those factual information questions such as “When is your store open?” and “Do you have product X in stock?” It could be crisis automation, which we are all experiencing these days with COVID-19 and the ability to deliver clear information on policies, test results, etc. in as real-time and clear information as possible.
There is a level of automation that is right for any business. It’s up to each business to identify their pain points, determine where business process automation can help, and then implement that automation so as to free up their team for other tasks that are integral to the business. People are still needed, but now there are opportunities to let your team’s skills shine in other ways and push your business to its next level when you can remove some of the blockers to moving to the next step.
Originally published at https://masterofcode.com on May 5, 2020.