The “worst customer experience ever” and how automation could have saved it

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Customer experience automationWhen it comes to automation buzz, people talk a lot about the broad effects, such as time and cost savings. You can quickly hire the right talent, deliver the right customer experience, and so on. There’s also fear (or enthusiasm) about how automation will negatively (or positively) impact jobs and the future of society.

People talk less about the individual’s experience of automation. Yes, there’s discussion about automation and personalizing customer experience (CX), but they’re distant effects, more often than not. I’d like to bring it closer to home by sharing a recent “worst customer experience” story and how the company could’ve flipped the script using currently available automation technologies.


If you’ve ever bought a house, you know how excruciating the process can be. The underwriting process itself is enough to make you lose your mind. Buyers have to prove over and over again that they have money in the bank, good credit and a solid work history.

Imagine if the loan process were automated, perhaps using blockchain to automatically verify income and savings from the pre-approval process. Suppose that information from blockchain automatically fed into the lender’s system so it could auto-draft your first payment, manage your property taxes and even establish your homeowners’ insurance policy without one piece of paper or one DocuSign document tossed in your direction.

I know many people who choose not to buy because the process is such a hassle. Not only would automation take the stress out of buying a home for consumers, but I’m guessing home sales would go through the roof.

Employment and hiring

Do you remember what hiring employees used to look like? A company would post a job somewhere on a job board and get hundreds of applications and resumes for an open position. Then someone in the company — it was me at one point — had to sift through the resumes and find the candidates that had the qualifications they’re looking for. It took forever.

Now, companies get to automate at least part of the process if they use an applicant tracking system (ATS). A program can scan resumes for keywords and quickly eliminate candidates that don’t meet certain criteria, whittling the stack of resumes down to make it easier to review.

Technology is even improving to the point where a system can reach out to the candidate and schedule or conduct interviews. I recently wrote about Alorca, which is conducting about 35 percent of its interviews via chatbot. Now, HR departments are free to focus on higher-level tasks that require more thought. It won’t be long before these automations completely transform HR and the hiring process.

Customer experience

Most buyers don’t have to think very hard to remember a time when a bad customer experience caused us stress, frustration, anger, tears or even lots of money. My most recent frustration has been with a major online retailer, and I know I’m not alone with this one. Have you ever ordered something expecting it in two days, but it never shows up, even though the company says it’s been delivered?

The retailer has rolled out a feature by which you can track where the mail truck that’s carrying your package. Someone scans a barcode, and the package location is automatically updated as it moves closer to you. This simple automation and collaboration with the shipping companies is making a huge impact on customer experience. I’m sure it’s only a matter of time before this process is used by every e-commerce company.

The truth is, many of these experiences are already happening, thanks to some forward-thinking companies at the head of digital transformation. The important part for customers is to call them out by sharing their stories and raise the bar on how good personal experience with automation can be.

Author’s note: I was provided a fee in return for this post. All thoughts and opinions expressed here are my own and not influenced by the developing company or its affiliates.

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