Every company faces the challenge of production support. In order to scale, companies need to provide quality support for their customers. With the increasing number of channels and hardware that modern products touch, it becomes difficult for a company to develop human expertise in all these areas and provide speedy response times.
Some companies solve this problem by farming out work to third-party vendors or partners, while others rely on automated solutions that provide some level of scalability and automation.
The former option often has drawbacks such as losing ownership over core customer relationships, while the latter can be expensive with mixed success rates in terms of responsiveness and reliability.
What Is Automation In Production Support
Automation in Production Support (APS) is a new emerging field and the term is used to describe the use of automated support solutions like ticketing systems, chatbots or even artificial intelligence programs to provide better support.
With the increasing complexity of modern technology, APS solutions can help companies solve various problems such as communication between various channels and hardware, as well as providing valuable feedback on customers’ satisfaction.
Automation in sales increases departmental productivity by 14.5% while lowering marketing expenses by 12.2%.
Automation increases productivity and enables faster response times to customers. No longer are phone operators expected to handle customer issues – now any business technology can be automated through many different channels, automatically escalating it for human involvement in case of an issue.
Importance Of Automation In Production Support
While automation is an important part of support, it is equally important that engineers should not neglect their tasks for the sake of automation. And, automation becomes meaningless if software bugs continue to repeat.
The scenario of having a fully automated night watchmen monitoring building or home security and eventually going off work with no backup due to some minor problem seems pretty scary.
86% of the workers surveyed think automation will enable them to work more productively and grow their businesses.
Automation in production support helps in identifying repetitive issues and reduce the man hours required to fix them and also classify critical issues before they escalate to major problems. It is also responsible for increased productivity and quality assurance which can be achieved with automated solutions through regression testing, static code analysis etc.
Benefits Of Automation In Production Support
Robotic process automation (RPA) is an emerging technology that has the potential to transform business process outsourcing (BPO). RPA automates existing manual tasks and can be used to support a wide range of applications, from customer service to order processing.
RPA bots are typically deployed as software robots or “bots” that can mimic human users to interact with systems and complete tasks.
1. Increase Customer Satisfaction
According to the McKinsey Institute, automating various processes can increase productivity growth by 1.4% annually.
Automation, when used right, has the power to provide an exceptional experience to customers. Through automation, it is possible to improve response time and provide a consistent experience by recognizing patterns in customer behavior.
2. Reduce Operational Costs
Automation helps reduce operational costs through its ability to handle repetitive tasks like provisioning of hardware or even responding to routine questions related to a stale order.
With automation, companies can save money on labor costs and focus on other more valuable human aspects of support like research and development or providing additional value-added services that customers want.
3. Improve Knowledge Management
Support agents can use the information provided by automation solutions to improve their knowledge and provide better solutions for customers.
Machine learning enables the solutions to understand customer behavior and assist with problem identification and resolution.
This enables support agents to provide a better experience to customers as they are armed with faster and more reliable information, improving their knowledge management capabilities.
4. Leverage Speed Of Cloud-Based Systems
Cloud based systems have evolved over time to become fast, scalable and reliable. Cloud based solutions can be used to not only scale support but also handle peak load times, when support traffic spikes due to product launches or promotions. This allows companies to better manage capacity while providing a consistent user experience.
5. Provide Customer Satisfaction
A big reason why companies plan to invest in APS solutions is that they provide improved service to customers. Human capabilities often have their limitations and CAPEX investments can be too costly for most. By shifting support over to automation, companies can provide better support at a lower cost and ensure consistent customer satisfaction.
6. Improve Efficiency
Automation can improve efficiency by reducing the amount of time it takes for an order to be fulfilled or a ticket to be handled. With automation, a company can improve its bottom line as it enables easier scale with reduced costs and improved efficiency from fewer resources.
This allows companies to scale faster without worrying about adding more human resources as well as providing additional value-added services.
7. Better Knowledge Sharing
According to a different research, 57% of businesses seek to automate mostly to increase employee productivity.
Automation solutions can help improve the communication between members of a support team by providing faster data integration, allowing better decision making ability and improved knowledge sharing. This enables better collaboration and provides a speedier resolution to customer issues.
8. Provide Better Customer Insights
Automation solutions provide insights into customer behavior, allowing companies to understand the pain points of their customers and how they can be resolved.
Information provided by solutions such as support tickets, chat logs, etc., combined with information gained through apps tracking user behavior on a website or application can provide companies valuable insight into user needs – something that is difficult to track manually.
Risks Of Automation In Production Support
Over a decade of treasured human efforts in application deployment and support have led to automated processes that provide an enhanced customer experience. By automating application support, we free up valuable time and resources that can be used to create new features and functionality, or to improve the overall customer experience.
Only 24% of businesses said that cutting operating expenses is the major justification for automating their company.
Faster resolution of time consuming activities can lead to increased productivity and creativity, while also reducing the high cost associated with these activities. By streamlining these processes, organizations can save time and money while also improving their output.
1. Initial Investment
Because APS solutions are a newer field, there is usually no industry standard for how to implement them. This can also mean that some companies invest heavily in automated systems only to find that they aren’t compatible with the products they use.
For this reason, it’s best to conduct trials with different vendors and understand their capabilities before investing in an automation solution.
2. Investing In The Wrong Solution
Companies need to make sure that the automation system is aligned with the purpose of their support activities. This means that the system should be able to handle the specific needs of a company and also ensure consistency across all channels.
3. Lack Of Monitoring
Automation systems are based on algorithms to respond to customer needs, which means they don’t always know when a problem has been resolved or that the information they are providing is accurate.
Moreover, there is no way to track whether customers have viewed these automated solutions or if they have read through the provided messages. This can result in poor customer satisfaction if information isn’t provided consistently and in a timely manner.
4. Lack Of Training
By 2023, 40% of big enterprise I and O teams will embrace AI-augmented automation, boosting efficiency and scalability in IT departments.
Companies need to make sure that their staff are trained on the technology used for automation. This involves helping them adapt to new ways of working and providing additional support through the training period.
5. Lack Of Planning
Automation solutions can cause a lot of changes in a company, requiring planning and careful integration with other services and applications. This means that companies should ensure they have a strategy in place that clearly defines how they want to use automation, which is aligned with their business goals and vision.
Companies need to identify the key areas they want to automate, and the time it will take to achieve that.
6. Security Risks
APS solutions have the potential to have a great impact on security within a company as they can connect with internal systems and third party services.
Companies should ensure that their APS solutions are secure enough to handle sensitive information like account credentials or credit card information.
Moreover, companies should make sure that they understand all of the authorization levels required by their solution and map them with existing or new roles across the organization.
7. Low Customer Satisfaction
Automated solutions tend to be impersonal compared to human interactions, resulting in low customer satisfaction if not used correctly. This is because customers like to interact with human agents and if these agents are replaced by automation, the human component of support is missing.
8. Deficiency Of Skills
Automation is still new and skills in this area are rare. Companies should be aware that skills in APS aren’t widespread and may have to outsource more jobs which will result in higher costs. In addition, companies may need to re-train their employees on how they can use automation effectively within their business processes.
As companies work to improve efficiency and reduce costs, they are increasingly investing in automation solutions.
At the same time, customers are becoming less tolerant of errors and ever more demanding of support which means companies need to ensure that they have a plan in place for how they will support their customers.
APS is the next big thing in customer service and it is here to stay – the right approach can result in huge benefits for both customer and company alike, but it’s important that you understand the risks involved.