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Are you engineering the customer experience of your company?

Automation. Robots. Technology takes our jobs. I challenge you to take a business magazine and avoid this topic – it will be there somewhere. However, there is another theme that you will not be able to avoid: the need to focus on the customer experience.

These two tendencies are in tension most of the time. They are not obligated, but because of the seemingly unavoidable need for most businesses to focus on themselves rather than on the customer, this is often the case.

I recently met a first example. I'll admit it: I eat fast food sometimes – I eat healthy at home, and I have to balance it from time to time. As a result, I noticed that the McDonald's local was closed for three weeks for remodeling. When he reopened, I visited him. As someone who pays attention to the customer experience, I was amazed – so much that I went back two weeks later to take notes.

So long, no. 4

Instead of a counter where your order was taken, there were four large touch screens, so discreetly placed that the workers behind the counters were in the lobby to direct their customers (and then offer them tips on how to use them).

The screens were about two feet wide and three and a half feet high – so big that you had to go back to see the whole surface. Even then, the interfaces were so badly designed that you had to scroll down on some screens (because 36 inches are not enough space, apparently).

To order what was a "No. 4", I had to hunt down the right icons and push buttons 11 times. Once to indicate if I ate or removed the food, once to select the chicken (for hamburgers, salads, etc.), once for the type of chicken, once for the size of the meal, once for the type of drink, once for the type of sauce, once for the other kind of sauce (?!?), once to confirm what I wanted, once to enter my table number, once for specify my payment type, and once to finalize the payment

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There was a payment card reader at the kiosk. If you wanted to pay in cash, you had to denigrate an employee and make yourself ring at the counter. You can remember the meter – that's where I could have asked a human for a "number 4, medium, for here," and was done ordering.

When the food was out, there was no drink – I did not realize that when I pushed the button for a coke, I should have gone back and grabbed a mug from the distributor behind me. I had to go get my drink after the woman who took care of the food showed it to me.

I understand that the idea here is to reduce the number of employees in order to have a positive impact on the bottom line – but this was not the case. There were people who helped the customers with the kiosks and the people who were distributing food at the tables – the same people who were behind the counter a month earlier.

All the interest of a restaurant of this nature, it is to enter there, order your food and eat as fast as possible. It's a trivial customer experience, certainly, but it sets expectations. The kiosks blew up my two-second command experience in a four-minute adventure to navigate a set of not-very-well-designed touch screens. Then the process was not well explained about the drink.

All about the old way of ordering is better. Will workforce savings be paying off if your customers stop coming?

Keep automation simple

The experience vaguely recalled the supermarket self-checkout, which was supposed to make the cashiers disappear, but that created a new position for them, as assistants for the self-checkouters who jostled themselves with a bad process. designed. (They also try to prevent smart customers from
exploiting machines for pleasure and profit.)

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Another aspect of this type of automation is that it takes the bat out of the hands of your employees. They can not add to the customer experience with a little of their own personality if the technology takes their place and allows them to participate only when the customer is frustrated.

The best automation, when it comes to preserving the customer experience, is designed to automate the simplest part of transactions. Think about airline check-in kiosks: they collect your flight information, print boarding cards and generate tags for your luggage, but you still need to show your ID card and hand in your luggage to the people behind the counter. number and wish you good luck on your flight. Your last contact with the airline before your arrival at the door is with a person, not with a terminal.

If you think you need to automate customer-oriented activities, determine them and determine which ones automation can do best, not to your advantage, but to the benefit of the customer experience. If you identify activities that are not suited to your machines, ask your employees to manage them – and think about the process, automation should be used to help your customer facing employees deliver better experiences and not to help them.

Chris Bucholtz is a columnist at ECT News Network since 2009. He focuses on CRM, sales and marketing software and the interface between people and technology. A noted speaker and author, Chris has covered the CRM space for 10 years.
Email Chris.

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