You know what I can’t stand? The thing that turns me into a “get off my lawn you rotten kids!” gasbag in .03 seconds? Electronic restaurant kiosks. You know those little touch screens that sit at the edge of your table at (pick your favorite chain restaurant) that you can use to reorder drinks and play trivia games and pay your tab? Yeah. Those. I spent five years in the food service industry, and I remember the first time I saw one of those little boxes. I was fresh out of the industry, and I thought to myself, “I am so glad I’m not about to be replaced by a machine.” Four years later, even McDonald's has started implementing self-service touch screens. It's official: the service industry is being overtaken by robots.
Now this begs the question: Can we stop the Robot Apocalypse from taking over the CAM Industry?
Long-ish answer: Still no, sort of. For better or worse, the future is now, and just about everything can be automated. But automation doesn't have to mean replacing existing people.
For example, you’re probably in a fierce love-hate relationship with your telephone. Homeowners always seem to be calling in for standard account information, which clogs your phone lines and siphons away time you could be devoting to more time-sensitive issues. As a result, many companies have resorted to automated phone systems—you know the ones. “For account information, please press 1.” And those are great when you’re using them for business! They help reduce some of the stress that bombarding phone calls can cause and let you really take back your work day. But, at the same time, you’ve no doubt been on the other end of that line, listening to a monotonous robot rattle off a list of options that you don't want to hear, just so you can finally, after three whole minutes of useless button pressing, finally speak to a real person.And that leaves us with what? Two terrible options that put stress on at least half of the people involved.
The trick to automation is not to automate everything, it’s to automate the RIGHT things.
So if the robot takeover is inevitable, how do you make it work for you? The trick to automation is not to automate everything, it's to automate the RIGHT things. How do you stop time-consuming phone calls from homeowners, where 90% of the help they’re in need of is simple account information, without implementing a terrible human replacement? Approach the problem from a different direction. Why automate the response when you can instead automate accesstothe information? Making consistent, unchanging information easily accessible to homeowners is a way to make your job easier without compromising the happiness of your owners. This way, no one wastes their time on a phone call that neither party wants to be on, and no one has to deal with an auto-response machine.
Automation should not be taking your job away, it should be making your job easier, and making your client's lives easier as well. Automation that only betters half of the equation isn’t successful automation.