The ROI of Automation

Michael-2

Written by - Michael Fisher, VP of Product and Operations at Ushur

When people think of automation, and in particular the ROI of automation, they typically think that the return part of that equation is driven primarily by savings realized by cutting costs or faster processing times.

But really there is so much more. Cutting costs is only part of the story.

What people often miss when evaluating automation is its ability to drive customer loyalty. And what is overlooked completely is its impact on employee engagement. The true ROI of automation lies in creating an environment where employees are enabled to think outside the box to better meet customers’ wants and needs. What Customer Experience Automation™ truly delivers is satisfied customers who are more likely to remain loyal and employees who are more satisfied with their job and, therefore, less likely to leave.

Early in my career, I had the opportunity to manage a 250-seat contact center for a big telecom company. We had all the modern tools, including a brand new IVR and phone system, and the best trained professionals for our team.

But we still had a big problem. Despite paying very competitive hourly wages, we had high (voluntary) employee turnover.

44% to be precise.

Out of 250 agents, 110 chose to leave within a year.

We recruited terrific people who genuinely wanted to help our customers. But in exit-interview after exit-interview, we heard the same reasons for leaving; high call volume and rote, routine call types that led to frustrated customers and exasperated staff.

  • Out of 250 agents
    0%
    chose to leave within a year

What if?

It had me wondering: what if organizations could provide ways to address customer issues and questions (both complex and simple) easily, even proactively?

What if we could reserve the interactions between front-line staff and customers to focus on high-value and truly service-oriented work? What if we could let our employees support customers and just automate the rest?

Fast forward to the present where I currently serve as VP of Product and Operations at Ushur, offering automation solutions that reduce costs and speed up processes but, more importantly, also improve customer and employee experiences. And what I’ve seen in practice is that the employee experience reflects and affects your customer experience.

Think about automation differently.

When people think of automation in organizations, they often think it only applies to back-office work. Technologies like robotic processing automation (RPA) are commonly used in the accounting or finance departments to simplify the automated copy/paste of routine tasks. Those tasks could be anything: like processing invoice information, such as payee and amount, to establishing due date and moving into a separate payment system. However, these are just the better-known use cases and benefits. They are not the only ones.

Actually, the ROI of intelligent automation, which goes way beyond RPA’s capabilities, is not just doing administrative work faster. With Customer Experience Automation™, you are delighting your customer because you meet their needs faster and you free up your people so that they aren’t burdened with the routine work that can be automated effectively.

Given my background in running contact centers, I not only value the ability to automate work that happens within the walls of big companies, but also the ability to automate the interaction between enterprises and their customers. I like to tell people that at Ushur we automate the communication between our customers and their customers. This is the next frontier for enterprises which can unlock huge value.

Customer Experience Automation™ (CXA) isn’t just leveraging technology for technology’s sake. It’s not just inserting technology into back office processes. CXA leverages technology to create better experiences for your employees, promote their day-to-day work, and as a result, it creates better experiences for your customers. Employees have less repetitive work, are able to get things done faster, and can convey their job satisfaction by delighting your customers.

Service-Oriented Work

Some people are passionate about providing the best customer service T, and by minimizing their routine work, they don’t have to compromise on their passions. While any large organization faces problems scaling their processes to address claims, sales, or customer service issues, automation means the people you choose for service-oriented work aren’t the ones who need to struggle. As a consequence, you don’t have to compromise in choosing your talent from the broader talent pool. You can eliminate churn caused by the dissatisfaction of employees’ time being consumed by repetitive and manual tasks. You can encourage service-oriented employees to do what they do best. You can boost end-to-end satisfaction for all parties.

By automating basic calls for information, you give your employees time to focus on the personal touch of working with customers who need the time and attention. When as much as 42% of your calls are automated, your employee experience improves. And satisfied, enabled employees provide excellent customer care.1

ushur-monitor-with-LISA-and-phone

Interested in learning more about what Ushur can automate for your company?

The Human Touch, A Success Story

Let’s face it, automating repetitive processes and straightforward tasks frees valuable employees from manual roles. It gives the people who know the most about your product or service an opportunity to connect meaningfully with your customer.

Of course, this doesn’t mean removing that human touch from the process. Just the opposite-- automation lets you build and retain a better, more fulfilled talent force. It gives your people a chance to shine with the customer without bogging them down.2

One customer we worked with started using automation in their sales department with great results, and yet their best results happened when they automated their information gathering process for disability claims.

Originally, they were calling members over and over trying to get information. As the case study describes, by automating the process, not only was the client able to get the information they needed in minutes instead of days or weeks, but their customers also responded positively and requested more of the same type of automation in different areas of information gathering.

And the smaller percentage of customers who needed to speak to an actual human were able to receive the time and attention to answer their questions and improve their customer experience, too.

Employee satisfaction

Dissatisfied, unhappy employees are more likely to leave. As I mentioned before, 44% of our call center employees left because of high call volumes and routine work that took away from their ability to help customers.Woman working at desk

I can say without a doubt from personal experience, automation can help reduce these types of tasks and studies show that when you reduce these tasks, employee satisfaction grows.

Customer engagement automation decreases the repetitive work for front line employees and frees them to focus on more complex activities and person-to-person interactions.3 When your employees feel like they are working towards a higher purpose, they are more satisfied.4 And according to The Smart Guide to Conversational AI for Insurers, employees who spend more time solving meaningful problems for customers and less time completing routine tasks are happier employees.

According to a McKinsey study, 60% of employees who are extremely satisfied with their job and company intend to remain at their job.5 And those are the employees who are experienced and happy to delight customers with their service and care.

Customer experiences for your front-line employees aren’t going to get simpler. But retaining a workforce that is not only knowledgeable but also happy to be there will only please your customers and give your company a better reputation.

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About Ushur

Ushur delivers the world’s first AI-powered Customer Experience Automation™ platform that has been purpose-built, from the ground up, to intelligently automate entire customer journeys, end to end. Designed to deliver delightful, hyper-personalized customer experiences through rapid issue resolution and unified, omnichannel engagement, Ushur is the first-of-its-kind system of intelligence. It combines Conversational Automation and Knowledge Work Automation in a No-Code, Cloud-native, SaaS platform to digitally transform every step of the complete enterprise customer experience – from Micro-engagements™ to entire customer journeys.

Backed by leading investors including Third Point Ventures, 8VC, Pentland Ventures, Aflac Ventures and Iron Pillar, Ushur’s Customer Experience Automation™ solutions are currently in production at some of the leading insurance providers across the globe including Irish Life, Unum, Aetna, Cigna and Tower Insurance.

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