Why Even the Best Automation System Won’t Improve Your Efficiency
Your automation technology is a success. Yet your employee efficiency is flatlining.
How can both of these be true?
The answer is simple. You have the right automation system and the wrong mindset.
Automation technology has the power to revolutionize your business operations. By taking over mundane, routine tasks, your employees have more time and energy to focus on complex, high-touch work.
For example, by automatically sorting customer complaints according to categories, your customer support personnel can spend their time handling more complicated cases instead of doing this time-consuming work manually. Efficiency rises, customers are happy, and your employees are more engaged.
But too often, this isn’t the picture we’re seeing. Despite the potential to raise efficiency, companies are failing to achieve better outcomes.
The problem is having the wrong mindset. If you want to boost efficiency and productivity across the board, you can’t only focus on automation. You need to examine every digital process and platform. While not every digital task can or should be automated, each must be optimized for efficiency.
The wrong mindset can negate the benefits of your automation investment
Let’s take the example from above. You’ve implemented an advanced automation system to increase efficiency in your customer success department.
Supported by these new tools, your CS personnel are free from the monotonous but still important aspects of the role, like reading each support ticket, sorting them, and delegating them to the right person.
Instead, they’re able to spend their time actually solving customers’ problems, building stronger relationships, and ensuring a positive customer experience.
Yet, because of a myriad of other efficiency-inhibiting processes, it’s difficult to see the gains of your automation investment.
When identifying what can be automated, it’s essential to keep an eye on the whole picture. Your automation investment might improve efficiency on that one particular process, but if you don’t maintain this mindset of optimization across all employee processes, you’ll continue to feel the burden of time-consuming, inefficient processes.
“Fringe” software and poor training are to blame
Often, the software that ends up dragging down your employees’ efficiency are the platforms and systems that they only use once in a while.
For example, human resources systems are critical to the daily lives of those in your HR department. But for employees who only use HR apps for requesting time off, correcting a timesheet, or viewing their pay slips, building enough familiarity to gain proficiency is a challenge.
Lack of proficiency on a software platform is a major barrier to productivity and efficiency. When your employees need to spend three times as long completing a “fringe” task that’s not even critical to their role, it negates the benefits of improved efficiency due to automation technology.
Another symptom of the wrong mindset is poor software onboarding.
One of the most frustrating and time-consuming experiences employees have with technology is learning how to use unfamiliar platforms. Without an adequate approach to software onboarding and training, employees will struggle to navigate the interface and complete important processes.
Imagine you’ve just made two investments in technology. One is to automate your CS department’s system for sorting and handling tickets, and the other is a new expense management software. The automation system saves you time, but the unfamiliar, confusing new finance app is eating up all of your gains. Again — the wrong mindset is preventing optimization across the board.
Fix efficiency everywhere
Relying on investments like automation to solve all of your inefficiency problems is misguided. You’re not implementing automation everywhere, so identifying where other sources of inefficiency persist is critical.
Whether it’s fringe software, a poor approach to training, or any other factor, it’s important to understand what contributes to subpar efficiency levels. Simply ask employees for their feedback and ideas. If you have the capability, you can monitor usage on your software to see where the most friction occurs.
The most important thing is fixing the mindset. There’s no end-all solution to efficiency challenges. Automation can make a big difference in the processes it takes over, but it won’t solve your inefficiency problems everywhere.