Companies Must Recognize the Power and Limitations of Automation and Cognitive Technologies for Customer Experience. An interview with Peter Ryan of Ryan Strategic Advisory.

Companies Must Recognize the Power and Limitations of Automation and Cognitive Technology for Customer Experience

How are modern technologies, including robotic process automation, artificial intelligence, and cognitive-focused software, actually impacting the evolution of customer experience?

Peter Ryan, analyst at Ryan Strategic Advisory and one of the leading experts on this topic in the contact center and business process outsourcing (BPO) realm, says the impact has been vast. But he warns companies to not confuse helpful innovation for a panacea.

“There’s a lot of hype out there,” acknowledges Ryan.

At the same time, he highlights that there has long been history of real-world changes that pre-date such technologies making their way into the mainstream business world as they are today. “Let’s be perfectly frank: This has existed in the contact center domain since the early- to mid-1990s.”

He recalls the early days of the industry’s automation journey, beginning with the interactive voice response (IVR) platforms deployed by countless call centers and companies to be the first point of contact whenever a customer picked up the phone. While programming a recorded voice to say Press 1 to Check Your Account Balance pales in comparison to the power of automation today, “there have been a steady stream of new solutions that have come out over the past 10 to 15 years that have facilitated more automation,” said Ryan

Tech like chatbots and social media are now moving the needle. And they can be very powerful tools for companies to leverage if they want to add efficiency, speed, and even quality to their customer service.

So Ryan definitely thinks all companies should consider what automation can do for them. But he also believes it is key to remember that organizations cannot just set it and forget it; they must use the technology to aid their overall customer experience strategy — not assume automation can replace it.

“If we’re talking about automation, it is certainly essential that any organization — whether it’s an enterprise or an outsourcer — look at this,” said Ryan. “I would also say it’s essential to recognize that any technology at any place in time has its limits. And I would caution any organization that is trying to over-invest in these technologies to think very closely about what they are putting in front of the customer.”

More than anything, the technology must be right for the company and accepted by the customer. “You can’t push ‘cool’ technology to consumers,” said Ryan. “The consumer has to be ready for the technology. And more importantly, the technology has to be ready for the consumer.”

To hear more of Peter Ryan’s thoughts on how automation and cognitive technologies are impacting the customer experience space, watch the full interview below.

For more insights from Peter Ryan, also listen to his comments about the nearshore BPO space at Finance TnT.

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