Industry Commentary

Automation Must Keep Pace with CX Business Continuity Needs

By August 19, 2021February 14th, 2024No Comments

Automation technology has certainly improved peoples’ daily lives in recent decades.  This applies equally in the domain of CX, where both captive and outsourced operators use these offerings in a wide variety of applications to facilitate customer management.  However, as more organizations embark on digitally-driven CX strategies, automated solutions must be as watertight as possible.  Automation has come a long way in the past twenty years, but its evolution needs to continue in a manner that is coherent and ensures maximum resilience to disruption.

No one should doubt that automation has made advances in supporting end-users.  Granted, legacy perceptions still linger from frustrating IVR trees that drove consumers bonkers, through to images of antiquated robots with voices from vintage Battlestar Galactica Cylons repeating pre-scripted responses to questions. But these sci-fi notions are being forgotten as automation makes the lives of support-hungry consumers easier. Still, providers of these offerings cannot be complacent.  As the CX world changes, so too must automation.

Notably, among the 628 enterprise CX decision-makers who were sounded in the 2021 Ryan Strategic Advisory Front-Office BPO Omnibus Survey, roughly 40% indicated that they did not anticipate increased demand for automation in their departments this year.  While this may denote that many organizations feel they have already made the needed investments in this technology to meet current requirements, suppliers of automation need to continually push the boundaries to ensure that their offerings are pertinent to how enterprises deliver CX.  With more consumers choosing to interact via a whole host of digital channels alongside voice, the challenge has never been tougher.

To remain top-of-mind, a priority needs to be ensuring automated solutions’ maximum resiliency. To that end, the Front Office Omnibus Survey indicated that in 2021 there is significant interest among enterprises in working with CX providers that can ensure business continuity, and this needs to apply to automated deployments.  How can an organization’s customer management function protect itself against a breakdown in this increasingly important customer-facing technology?

This is a crucial question, equally as important as how best to prevent cyber-hacks or the best way to mitigate against offshore delivery point disruption.  The reality is that bots are as subject to breakdowns as automobiles, major appliances or coffee makers.  With ongoing use, different operating conditions, and changes to concurrent CX processes, these bots can find themselves on the wrong side of a consumer very quickly.  And, while this is a scenario no enterprise wants to face, it invariably happens.

This is where innovation comes into play.  Realizing there is a problem with a bot, then fixing it can take time, and during this period consumer loyalty is tested.  With end-users increasingly impatient to tolerate poor experiences, being able to resolve a bot problem straightaway is imperative. From a more strategic perspective, the ongoing pressure to recruit/retain developers and analysts that have the needed skill set to identify and repair automation issues remains part of the broader CX labor availability challenge.  Fortunately, innovation in this regard is becoming more prevalent.

A notable example of this automation business continuity dynamic comes from technology provider ChoiceWORX. It has developed the technology offerings needed to automatically detect and pinpoint bot issues. In some cases, these problems can be fixed using their own automated solutions; other, more complex issues require a human touch.  But the key in this discussion is the approach that ChoiceWORX uses to drive business continuity in a domain that is susceptible to disruption.  CX leaders should be aware not only of the risk of not looking for the solutions needed to ensure seamless bot delivery, but they also have to seek out offerings that can drive automation resilience.