Using Automation to Improve Customer Experience
Customer experience is an oft-ignored aspect in most businesses. As malls, airports and even fast food outlets replace their manual counters with self-checking kiosks, the customers frequently get overwhelmed by the new technology to be able to use it appropriately. To add to this, these kiosks might not be fully adapted to fit customer requirements and end up making the process more complicated for the customer instead of simplifying it. As the staff who previously manned the counter now struggles to aid the customers in using the kiosk, they might come to the realization that manual billing actually took up less time.
When manual ordering is simpler for both the customer and the staff, will the lure of using a self-service kiosk trump the inconvenience caused sufficiently to ensure the customer’s return?
When the process of improving the customer experience is taken out of the hands of the staff of an establishment, assuring that that automation enhances the same becomes important. The easiest way of doing this is to automate the simplest part of transactions while leaving the rest to be handled manually. In self-service kiosks in the airport, for example, there is a healthy balance between automation and human interaction. While the kiosk retrieves flight information, provides baggage tags and prints the boarding pass, the staff checks the customer ID and handles their baggage, while also pointing them in the direction of the gate for boarding. The customer, whose last interaction is with a human rather than a machine, tends to leave more satisfied.
Automating customer-facing activities might become essential at some point, but the trick is to make sure that it improves customer experience, failing which, the customer-facing employees can be left to handle the same and deliver better customer experience.