Too Much Cutting Edge Technology Can Dull the Customer Experience

Technology and Business

Every day we are inundated with news stories of the latest and greatest advances in technology. Tesla and its race to self-driving cars, energy efficiency, and space travel for the common man. You look on your Yahoo News or Google and every third or fourth story is about some new way that technology will make life easier, faster or better.

In the world of business, marketing and communication has gone the way of highly technical automation. Now you have CRM’s that manage every bit of information for the sales team to stay on top of sales leads in seconds. Long gone is the Rolodex on your desk with business cards and client information. It makes it possible to sift through massive amounts of data in milliseconds.

This type of automation helps to manage time, makes work more efficient, and streamlines the sales process. The negative side of this migration to hyper-automation comes at a cost; the loss of the human element.

Technology and Human Resources

In the world of Human Resources, the capital is the human being. HR Management is quite literally “the act of managing people.” However, you cannot manage humans using only technology. Even Artificial Intelligence is still a century removed from even being close to “human”, according to most experts. We deal with automation every day in life—cable  company, cell phone carrier, insurance, etc. In most cases, it practically takes an act of God to get a human being on the telephone, and when you do, they know nothing about you other than what pops up on their CRM as they speak with you.

In the above example the use of technology and automation made the service providers job easier, yet it does little to help the client company.   Who really wants to sit on the eternal abyss of hold listening to elevator music? That could be the definition of hell on earth!

To give another example, an executive from a current client called a major PEO provider in the industry. The result was over one hour on hold and then told in a minute, they could not help him, he needed to call his own company. This is how the big publicly held company lost in the sales process. It’s kind of like the TV show Cheers, “the place where everybody knows your name.” Plain and simple, people want to call and talk to a person who knows their account and cares about them!

The PEO Industry and Technology

The PEO industry can be explained by the companies that are in this realm by comparing it to those in the restaurant industry. There are the very large publicly held chains all the way down to the mom and pop family restaurants. On one end of the spectrum there are the very service conscious, small, independent players who have a strong personal touch but lack the infrastructure to compete on a large level of profitability. On the other end, you have the massive publicly held conglomerate that sacrifices service to be able to replicate the process over and over all over the country.

The monsters are what is called “PEO in a box.” They have a specific service platform that is run a very specific way out of necessity. They generally teach you how to utilize their propriety software, so you do their job for them. They tend to lack a human touch because they are built to serve the masses and therefore cannot excel in service. Expect long wait times to get answers, different people each time you contact them and premium administration fee’s often 25-40% higher than a mid-sized privately held organization.

Don’t Throw the Baby Out in the Bath Water!

How can a company ride the wave of technology, yet still get premium service? Searching to find the right size PEO who hangs its proverbial hat on superior service is a great start. What factors should someone consider in evaluating a PEO?

  1. Cutting edge technology. Cloud based HRIS system that handles HR related functions from A to Z.
  2. A true commitment to service. Talk to client companies of the PEO. Far too many PEO’s fail to deliver on service. Don’t find out later that their service is horrible.
  3. Deal with the right size PEO; big enough to have economies of scale at play, but small enough to still maintain a personal approach.
  4. Sincerely consider a privately held PEO. Publicly held corporations are beholden to shareholder profits and generally are top heavy with C suite salaries. All this leads to higher administration fee’s, often 25-40% higher than privately held PEO’s.
  5. Interview key personnel and find out points of contact. Be detailed and very thorough in this process. Will there be a person answering the calls or automation? Will it be a consistent point of contact? How are unusual situations handled?

Technology is great and a necessity for any business trying to thrive in the world of business. Sadly, in the race for automation, many have forgotten what truly matters….people! Ask any person on the street if they like all the teleprompts? The overwhelming majority would say no. They want to talk to a real human being. Don’t settle for substandard service in such an important relationship. America’s Back Office has a three-year average customer retention rate of 99.58%.  Ask about America’s Back Office.

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