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How Customer Experience Induces Management to Launch Process Automation

Dmitry Koplovich, 22 September 2016

As an outcome of a project aimed to introduce a business processes automation system, company executives always expect to see a tangible result: satisfied clients who spend more. But this is by no means always the case, and a considerable part of the automation projects eventually fails. Let’s talk about why this happens and how such an unfortunate ending can be prevented.

Problem: the management doesn’t want automation

There are special systems for business processes automation. For instance, Order Management Systems are used to organize the work with orders, and Business Process Management tools are used for business processes general description. Quite frequently such systems turn out to be expensive and hard to introduce. So, according to the common sense, the company executives decide to optimize these business processes before introducing them. This is reasonable because it is better to take care of a mess first and then launch an optimization, instead of creating an automated mess.

It is exactly at this moment when everything stops going as planned. If the company’s processes don’t produce value for a client, it would be really hard for the management to believe that introducing complicated and expensive automation software is actually necessary. The managers can be understood here: they consider the savings on the cost optimization during the processes implementation to be insignificant and insufficient to cover the expenses on the BPM and OMS introduction.

To change this situation it is possible to shift focus towards the improvement of the customer experience. The significance of the optimization increases immediately whenever something is getting better for a client. New features and pleasant differences from competitors make a client more loyal, and he would bring more money through direct purchases or recommendations.

Solution: client should be a top priority

There are both simple and more complicated ways to make the improvements for the final consumer. Talking about an easier way we should start from end-to-end business processes automation: from getting an order to the feedback on its fulfillment. It all can be set in order to inform a client about his order as much as possible, for example through e-mail, text message or by calling him shortly and on time – ideally within a few minutes. Calling a client after the order fulfillment to ask for his opinion about the service would be a good practice – it can increase the client’s satisfaction and bring an invaluable feedback on which a incentive scheme may be based.

A more complicated (but also more rewarding) way is to reduce the time of the order fulfillment by decreasing the number of the tasks performed by the employees. The key point here is to give a customer an impression that the company predicts his wishes. This is only possible as a result of a thoroughly designed process. This is not to forget that a process has not only to be thought out, but it also has to be introduced.

It gets much harder in terms of organization if we are talking about a “manual” process, especially a complex one that involves many employees not to mention external suppliers and contractors. Any updates in it will require re-training of all affected participants. Even the most elaborate process can be sabotaged by the employees. In a system with an automated process it is much harder to fake off and deceive the employer.

How it actually works

Now we had enough theoretical ideas, let’s look at a real example. Since we’ve not only created an open source Hydra OMS software, but have also developed a billing system for service providers of the same name, we will provide an example from the field of telecom that is familiar to us.

One of our clients is a major service provider with a few hundred thousand customers. This company outsources about 50 installation crews which, on average, make 200 visits to the clients a day. Until they introduced the automation, the service provider had to prepare a whole set of documents before every visit including:

The department that managed the work of the installation crews included six employees and a manager. Here is what the preparation process for a client visit looked like:

Thus, there was a whole department performing a kind of work that was not too complicated, and most employees of this department could be easily replaced by software.

After the OMS introduction the process of a customer connection changed dramatically. Here is a brief list of innovations:

  1. The documents now are not to be printed beforehand. They are filled on-site, the installation crews deliver them to the office once a week after which the papers go to the archive right away.
  2. The installation crews no more have to call to the office except for the uncommon situations which make up no more than 5% of all visits to the customers. The calls flow to the office got 20 times less. This freed roughly 75% of two office employees working time. The average time of connecting a new customer also decreased by 10%.
  3. The activation of the customers was fully automated.
  4. The installation crews no more go to the office every morning to get the work orders: it saves their working time and reduces the fuel costs.
  5. The telephone operator at the office knows the whereabouts of all the installers and can immediately assign an emergency order to the closest installation crew without calling all of them one after another (our Planado field management system is used for this purpose)
  6. The quality of the service increased — there is a checklist option in Planado that includes all the necessary stages of the work. Aside from that, one of the installers of the crew has to prepare a photo report using Planado’s mobile application and send it to the office: this allows the management to see all the defects on the site and quickly point them out to the installer.
  7. The waiting time for customers was decreased threefold.
  8. The system of taking penalties for the low quality work was mentioned in the agreement between the service provider and the installing services contractor. The introduction of the automation tools gave a chance to finally see the cases of low-quality service and start to demand the compensation according to the SLA. Suddenly the consciousness of the contractor grew and the number of the protracted work orders fell 10 times.

We should particularly mention the innovations that helped to improve the customer experience:

  1. The SMS notifications were introduced. Now the clients get a message that their purchase order was received and a reminder in the day of the installation with time of the installer’s arrival, as well as a notification that he finished the previous order. The installer’s name and cell phone number are included into the SMS so that a client could get in touch with him.
  2. The feedback after the installation was introduced: the call center operator phones a new client and finds out if he was satisfied by the installer’s visit. The incentive program for the installation crews was based on the survey’s results.
  3. The solutions mentioned above allowed to decrease the waiting time.

In such case the benefits for the customers are obvious: they don’t have to wait long to be connected, to call the office and the installer many times, not to mention the reduction of the problems probability creating a situation that “the installer left but my TV never started working”. The relation of the installation crew’s bonuses with the customer’s satisfaction made contractor’s employees much more friendly and ready to help.


In the highly competitive markets such as telecom the companies have to fight for clients because there are almost no unreached people. That means that the service quality becomes a top priority. According to statistics the chances of losing a new customer, if he wasn’t connected in the same day or the next day after the application, grow many times: a client can change his mind or go to the competitors. In a big city the connecting on the third day after the application reduces the new clients conversion by 15-30% which results in big losses for the business.

In such conditions the benefits of introducing of the business processes automation tools are immediately obvious, so it is much easier to decide on starting such project and finish it, then if you don’t have such incentives.

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