Striking the workforce automation balance

The communication conundrum

Finding the sweet spot between humans and supporting applications can be a tricky problem to address. Too little communication and your client will feel abandoned – an abundance of automated communication (e.g. ‘we are working on it’) and your client won’t believe they are receiving the priority they deserve.

You want to create a pleasant, enjoyable working relationship with your client, so they remain clients for years to come.

Whether you’re managing a new client, an existing client with new requirements or where assistance is needed, they will require:

  • Momentum – Their needs are met efficiently and given attention.
  • Transparency – They are communicated with and can see their needs.
  • Priority – They can manage and share what is important to them as clients.
  • Honesty – Those commitments they are given are followed through to completion on time.

Asmorphic helps you achieve a scalable, consistent, robust set of procedures through workforce automation, which is complemented by taking full advantage of your software solutions. We call this Configurely.

configurely, your path to workforce engagement optimisation

Understanding the challenge

When a company works with clients, they want to make sure they communicate with them in the right way. It’s finding the right balance between using computers to talk to clients and having real people talk to them. If they use too much workforce automation, it can feel impersonal, and if they don’t use enough, the clients may feel ignored.

The company wants to have a good relationship with its clients so they will keep coming back. To do this, they need to make sure they meet the client’s needs efficiently, keep them informed about what’s happening, give them the ability to say what’s important to them, and follow through on their promises.

Sometimes, some problems can make the clients unhappy. For example, if the company doesn’t give any updates or feedback, the clients may think nobody is working on their issue. On the other hand, if they get too many automated messages or unhelpful updates, it can be annoying.

The company also needs to make sure its employees communicate well and coordinate with each other, so the clients don’t get confused or frustrated. When some employees leave or go on vacation, it’s important to pass on their work to someone else properly, or, even better, have sufficient information tracked so a handover is not needed.

If this doesn’t happen, it can cause problems and make the clients upset. The new person may not know what to do, and the clients may have to repeat themselves or feel like their problem isn’t being taken seriously.

Communications Pain

What creates (or prevents) a memorable client experience?

Radio Silence

  • Auto-Responses that lie – “We have your request and we’re working on it!”
  • All the communication is internal. Won’t somebody think of the client!?
  • The client wants an update and gets no answer.
  • The steps you take in your process are never communicated back to the client, leaving them in the dark.

Too much jargon!

  • Sending an alert to satisfy an SLA that is rushed overly technical and confusing
  • Informing the client about the internal processes they don’t care about (“Gary is working on it”)
  • Committing to actions that are unachievable – In a hurry, it may feel better to give a fake date, but not meeting an expectation sours a relationship.

Too much noise!

  • Automation is enabled, but the updates are too granular
  • The updates are overly technical, which the client does not understand
  • Regular updates merely say that the issue is still being worked on but no actual movement. No expectations were set.
  • The auto-close procedure, a warning of impending ticket action, but nothing the client has control over.


Issue Management

  • Issue status tracking is not kept up to date, so the client cannot rely on it.
  • Staff go on vacation or leave and the new resource has to make the client repeat themselves
  • No transparency or visibility for the client to see the issue and what your business understands about it.
  • No consistency in the company process between staff.
client experience

Thinking differently

In the past, when a company sold something to a client, the salesperson (and a few others) would handle everything from negotiating the deal to delivering the product. If a resource leaves the business, falls ill or even goes on vacation, momentum can suffer.

You need a system that ensures any task can be picked up by someone else and taken over and completed.

In reality, delivery, whether it be selling a product, or building software for a client draws on expertise from many areas of your business and to scale and grow, they must be able to excel in their patch while seamlessly transitioning work in and out of their department.

We can implement system-guided workforce automation in the background to create a consistent and reproducible process and prevent work from slipping through the cracks. We can empower resources to communicate with the client to provide feedback, rather than always relying on a single spokesperson.

Some food for thought

While you’re growing and learning how best to function as a business and a team, decisions and processes are more fluid because you’re able to be hands-on.

As your company matures and you scale, you need to rely on consistency, teamwork, trust and processes as guardrails so your team can flourish.

Sometimes, it’s never as simple as…

sample simple workflow

Accurate information

  • As an issue transitions between states, ensure you enforce the collection of relevant information. Customise screens to prompt your resource to provide this information.
  • Make sure the issue status is always correct. As a driver for automation and customer visibility, apart from the text you provide your client, the underlying state is the birds-eye view they rely on.
  • The more emphasis placed on making sure an issue is as complete as possible, the less reliance you have on a specific resource being needed to drive it. You need to be comfortable that anyone can pickup an issue and run with it, negating the need for last-minute handovers.

Right system, Right job

  • Too many times do we see people trying to find a one-size-fits-all piece of software for their front-line and back-end processes. Accept this isn’t the case – use the best tool for the right job.
  • Use automation and integration between systems to automatically pass vital information between them to keep teams up to date.
  • Try as best as possible to reduce the number of systems and resources to use when addressing this challenge. Salesforce for sales and account management, Jira Service Management and Jira Software for Operational and Development outcomes, for example.

Make ownership clear

  • It must be evident to the client when an action requires their input. It may be further clarification around an issue, or it could be a review and approval of a specification or quote. It should never require ‘digging around’ to identify where their input is needed.
  • Reminders should be used, with care, and in balance to prompt internal and external resources when needed. The procedure should dictate that these notifications are not to be ignored. Governance around this is vital to create a culture of communication and transparency.
  • When a task can be taken over by a pool of resources and no longer a specific person, it should be managed as such with prioritised queues.

Ensure Accountability

  • Rather than having to contact their manager, resources should be able to pass the information on via the process of requesting approval and accepting feedback on issues. By adopting this principle, there is strict governance and accountability through the issue chain.
  • Using system-based client approval phases – you provide a communication path with the client, but also a tracked method of knowing that they have approved your team to move forward.
  • Because the approval system is electronically enforced rather than done strictly through human contact, you are able to implement additional governance tools, such as contract signing and acceptance authority.

Concept to Clarity

An example of a sales concept or request arriving in the platform through to a deliverable being handed back to the client. It demonstrates in reality the amount of transitions an issue or sales opportunity can go through.

Specification Building

An example of one level deeper than top-level. This shows some of the mechanisms that can occur within a major section of the main workflow. There could be responsibilities for both the client and your team. There could be provisions in your design that allow the client to take control of some aspects to save cost.