Since mankind first discovered work, we’ve looked for ways to make work easier. At times, it’s simple laziness, but other times it just makes sense. Work just as hard to get more done.
In customer service and support, the essential question is how many licks does it take to get the center of a Tootsie Pop? Or, how many steps do you perform from taking the customer contact through to resolution?
Undoubtedly, there is some white space in these processes; some steps you could automate to move the process along more efficiently and effectively. The key here is to automate with purpose, not just because you can.
The Aesthetic Outburst
In the 2003 documentary Searching for the Wrong-eyed Jesus, two British filmmakers tour the American South led by Jim White, a Southern Goth musician. To put it plainly, the film is haunting. It's a study of a place where music, art, and religion intersect in the very strangest of ways.
In one scene, Mr. White describes a tree decorated with, literally, hundreds of milk of magnesia bottles. He called it an "aesthetic outburst," an apparently common occurence for Mr. White.
Workflow Automation #FAIL
In a similar vein, the modified van appearing in the adjacent photograph appears to be little more than an aesthetic outburst at hands of a van owner with a few extra barrels laying around. Alas, the truth is far more interesting.
While this particular outburst makes me wonder what I could get done if I had A LOT MORE free time, it's an obviously flawed solution to making applesauce. Aside from skinning the apples, sanitation stands out as a major red flag. And, quite honestly, I'm not sure how work you're saving in the end.The anonymous van owner, having come into an abundance of apples sought an outlet for simplifying the work around making applesauce. If you look closely, the van is, in fact, a DIY applesauce maker.
I imagine the output of van-based applesauce making is both apple sauce and a gigantic mess.
A Better Recipe for Automation
With the right customer service and support software on your side, it's quite possible to automate some steps between opening and closing a customer ticket to gain efficiency, reduce cost, and improve customer satisfaction.
Incident management, alerts, monitoring, and reporting are a just a few of the steps that are simpler and more efficient with automation. Duplication of effort, slow responses, poor or lost documentation, and inconsistent escalation procedures are failures of the system that cost time, money, and customers
A single bad customer service experience can result in a lost customer as it’s now extremely easy for customers to change providers.
When that customer's fate is on the line, don't rely on aesthetic outbursts to ensure success. While there may be a fine line between lunacy and innovation, it's often best to steer clear of the lunatic fringes.