Whether or not they know it, consumers demand automation in their everyday interactions with businesses. That’s because they’ve come to expect the convenience, speed and quality of service that only certain types of automation can deliver.
From faster, more accurate ecommerce deliveries and faster foodservice to streamlined checkout processes, automation is making it possible. In fact, companies that don’t get on board will find it increasingly difficult to keep up with consumer experience demands.
How automation can help
Automation—whether obvious or hidden—is helping businesses in all industries deliver more positive customer experiences. In fact, automation can even help with employee satisfaction—a key piece of the puzzle when it comes to stellar service. Best of all, the solutions are as varied and dynamic as the industries that employ them.
Solution 1: Bring on the service robots
For years, the jury was out on whether or not consumers would want—or accept—robotic automation in retail, foodservice, healthcare, hospitality and a variety of other industries. Some experts predicted that service robots could cause unease or frustration in these situations; but, despite (or perhaps because of) the increasing prevalence of these technologies, that doesn’t seem to be the case.
Recent research found that customers enjoyed interacting with robots in a hotel environment. In fact, 60% of hotel consumers surveyed said they felt “joy” when dealing with robots in a customer service role. Other emotions included surprise and even love (according to 20% of respondents).
Look for robotic service solutions that are both fun and functional: robotic “servers” in foodservice and delivery or cleaning robots that make employees’ jobs more enjoyable, for example. With today’s sophisticated vision and motion control technologies—paired with stronger and more targeted network solutions—these solutions are safer and more effective than ever.
Solution 2: Level up with vision technology
Some of the most wow-worthy consumer automation solutions are only possible thanks to a combination of the latest vision and AI technologies. New image sensor technology has enabled greater sophistication and big reductions in cost. This goes hand in hand with better processing, analysis and AI technologies, not only helping automated systems see, but also interpret and solve.
This can mean a variety of things for customer experience—among them, an exceptional checkout experience. New self-checkout kiosks let customers place all of their items on a table and get a nearly instantaneous total. Other more sophisticated applications allow them to skip the checkout altogether, as with the Amazon Go retail concept. ABI predicts that in-store automations like these will be an $8.4 billion business by 2030.
Solution 3: Deliver the goods—safely and accurately
From delivery apps to lightning-fast fulfillment, today’s consumers expect near-instant gratification. Retailers and restaurants need to keep up—and so do the food, beverage and consumers goods companies that supply them.
On the manufacturing side, deep-learning is allowing vision systems to classify, segment and detect abnormalities to a degree that once seemed impossible. From flagging foreign objects in bulk raw ingredients to identifying bad apples (literally), food and beverage manufacturers can speed time to market, safely.
When it comes to fulfillment and delivery, automation technologies continue to be a game-changer. Robotics have been par for the course for years, but advances in vision and AI are further increasing speed and efficiency. From optical character recognition (OCR) technology for barcode troubleshooting to robot bin pickers that can “see” and grasp faster and more accurately, warehouse automation is more in reach, even for smaller operations. The end result: Consumers get the goods faster and companies save money in the process.
See these solutions, and more, at Automate
If you’re in the market for a new way to improve customer experience, Automate is the best place to explore the latest and greatest automation breakthroughs for businesses big and small. Register for free and join us May 22–25, 2023, in Detroit, Michigan. And get a sneak peek of all the technology in our Automate Preview Series.
« View All Blogs