Auto-tech series - Persistent Systems: Employee experience differentiators
This is a guest post for the Computer Weekly Developer Network written by Preetpal Singh in his role as senior vice president for intelligent automation at Persistent Systems.
Singh’s full title for this commentary is: The Unforgettable Differentiator: Why You Can’t Leave Employee Experience Behind in the Quest for Excellent Customer Service… and he writes from this point forwards.
Tolerance for subpar customer service is dwindling and excellence in personalised, timely customer service is a differentiator in today’s crowded market. However, as organisations invest in improving their customer experience (CX), they often forget the critical role that employee experience plays in delivering great service to the end customer.
Companies that neglect their employees’ needs may miss out on opportunities to enhance CX and maximise customer lifetime value (CLV). This is where intelligent automation comes into play, offering a path toward superior customer service that centers on both customers and employees.
Intelligent automation goes beyond standard automation by incorporating artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) to enable end-to-end process automation. This technology leverages robotic process automation (RPA), cognitive automation and advanced analytics to drive better decision-making, enhance customer interactions and streamline processes. The result is a faster, more efficient and more personalised experience for both customers and employees.
Where to start
To really gain the benefits of intelligent automation, businesses must first understand customers’ preferences and the unique challenges they are trying to solve.
Smart innovators start by establishing customer personas, or fictional representations of ideal customers, based on analysis of other customer data. When you put your target personas at the centre of your digital transformation efforts, it is clear which initiatives should be prioritised because they directly impact those personas that businesses want to influence first.
If a business is new to persona creation, HubSpot recommends starting with the data that already exists—like purchase history or marketing engagement—and then investing in surveys or external research to fill in the gaps. Your personas should represent your existing customers as accurately as possible.
For your employees
On any given day, employees are looking for an easier way to manage their work, stay connected to their teams in a hybrid or remote environment and make progress on all of their tasks and projects. They need tools to help streamline priorities and drive efficiency. Organisations can take responsibility on these points by prioritising employee experience (EX) as a central aspect of their digital transformation initiatives.
According to a report by IDC, 85% of business professionals surveyed agree that improved EX benefits the end customer’s experience. Furthermore, organisations that prioritise EX can see a significant increase in employee engagement, leading to higher productivity and retention.
Intelligent automation is key to improving EX because it reduces the burden of repetitive, time-consuming tasks. By automating these processes, employees can focus on more high-value tasks that require human intervention, leading to increased job satisfaction. By providing employees with the right tools and resources to perform their jobs efficiently, organisations can improve overall EX.
Intelligent contact centers are a great example of how intelligent automation can bridge EX and CX. Using a combination of chatbots and virtual assistants to handle routine inquiries and intuitive data workflows that present the customer journey to the service employee in a single interface, employees can spend more time on complex customer issues that require human intervention faster, while meeting the customer’s desire for a deeply personalised experience. Not only does such an intuitive interface improve employee satisfaction but also ensures that customers receive faster and more accurate responses to their queries, leading to better customer satisfaction (CSAT) scores.
In the industry
In practice, intelligent automation looks different depending on the industry and unique business case. Banks, for example, continue to reinforce customer trust by innovating how they communicate with their customers.
To improve CX and increase CLV immediately, banks (and all businesses) need to focus on innovating customer-facing processes first. These processes—better known as edge processes—include everything that touches a new customer, from how to expedite the processes to limit KYC time, to executing on a task such as loan origination, ensuring quick decision-making.
The quality-of-service financial institutions provide to their customers largely relies on the quality of their data. The products that institutions employ and the materials used to enable the sales team should exist in a centralised, intuitive location.
Things to keep in mind
Despite any organisation’s best efforts to improve EX and CX, progress cannot be made if the innovation exists in a silo. Improving CX and EX is not just an IT issue. It requires a cross-organisational effort to ensure all departments are aligned and working toward the same goal.
IT, marketing, sales and customer service all have a role to play in delivering superior CX. The infrastructure front is also critical for arming employees with the right information, at the right time, to keep business moving forward. Every organisation needs to consider how they will bring in cross-organisational decision makers to act as champions for digital transformation and advocate for their employees.
When organisations cater to employees’ needs, they in turn create an environment that is better positioned to serve new and existing customers. By leveraging AI, machine learning and advanced analytics, intelligent automation can drive better decision-making, enhance customer interactions and streamline processes, ultimately creating more personalised experiences for customers and more satisfying work for employees.