Artificial intelligence (AI) and automation continue to develop as a method of providing the best possible experience and service to customers. Recruiting experts Hays shares its advice on how it utilised the technology to improve its insights and ultimately provide a better and a more personalised service to customers. 
Jacky Carter, Hays Group Digital Engagement Director, says the value of automation and AI to a business is becoming increasingly important as the world becomes more digitalised. Using Hays’ own digital journey as an example, Jacky shares her advice with business leaders on how they can ensure they are asking the right questions at the right time and always putting the customer at the centre of their strategy. 
Hays has successfully harnessed millions of data points from its customer base, using the information to adopt a targeted approach and using automation to increase engagement with its customers. For example, rather than relying on job advertising to identify and connect with the right candidates, Hays has used its Find & Engage strategy to focus on finding the best ways to engage with the people it already knows.
Jacky explains, “The best possible customer experience for a jobseeker is one where we contact them at the right time, with the right message – whether that is providing them with content that we’ve created to support their career development to enhance their skills or to put a relevant job opportunity in front of them. Using automation here also enhances the experience for our consultants, it gives them more time to focus on building personal relationships, increasing their job satisfaction and having technology work for them.”
Using the lessons learnt from Hays’ experience, Jacky recently shared her advice on how businesses can ensure they are using the technology to its potential. 
1.    Ask for the right information at the right time

Exploring how the use of AI and automation can deliver an enhanced customer experience, Jacky comments there’s often a trade-off. By collecting more data, each customer’s overall experience can be personalised, but businesses must be careful as asking for the wrong data at the wrong time can completely negate the benefits of those potential outcomes. 
Jacky explains, “What you don’t want to do is bombard someone with questions at the first encounter – so what is it that might prompt them to be open to sharing more? Is it as a result of receiving something that is useful to them in terms of advice, be it one to one or via content? This is where understanding the customer view is so critical, and of course when you do ask for that data, being clear about how it will be used, stored and managed is critical to establishing trust with your organisation.”
2.    Be customer centric

Understanding the perspective of a user in any digital environment can only really be achieved by monitoring their experience of each part of the process and taking time to understand what’s working well and what could be better. 
Jacky comments, “Doing that is time consuming but so incredibly useful and gives a totally different perspective on the way people are interacting with your environment. Taking those insights and building them in to the design of a product is paramount to its adoption and success, which is what any product designer wants to see.”
3.    Map out each customer journey 

Most businesses have a range of customers, which means a multitude of touchpoints and interactions across a huge variety of separately built products and processes – such as websites, email responses, application and compliance processes, engagement marketing and in-person contact. 
Jacky says, “Understanding how each of these fit together, from the customer’s perspective, is important to give you a baseline for any future changes as well as the benchmark from which to measure improvements. It’s a complex project to undertake but once you have done it, the review and adjustment is much easier to do and with clearer outcomes and results.”
4.    Use tools to help you continually evaluate the customer journey

Although already well established as part of the process in many companies, AB testing remains an effective way of finding out what works and what doesn’t between designs.  
Jacky explains, “Seeing how people actually use your website for example, testing out new designs and seeing what response you get can be incredibly useful. Especially when supplemented by tools like Hotjar which can give you an instant reading on the zeitgeist of how people feel about what you’re offering or asking them to do.”
Jacky offered further advice to businesses considering bringing AI and automation into their technology stack, such working out what the problem is that is trying to be solved; looking at the process through a customer’s eyes; considering redesigning the part of the process you want to improve while understanding what the implications of making changes are on each of the stakeholders; thinking about how easily you can explain it to customers and whether it aligns with your organisations’ commitments and values; and lastly have a customer advocate in every project, making it their job to be the voice of the customer.
Jacky concludes by saying, “If done properly, automation should never negatively impact the customer experience – for every customer – it should only enhance it.”
This content originally appeared on Viewpoint, Hays’ Career and Leadership Advice blog. 
About Hays Hong Kong SAR
Hays Specialist Recruitment Hong Kong is the one of the leading specialist recruitment companies in Hong Kong SAR in recruiting qualified, professional and skilled people across a wide range of industries and professions.
Hays has been in Hong Kong SAR for over a decade and boasts a track record of success and growth. At Hays in Hong Kong SAR, we operate across the private and public sector, dealing in permanent, temporary and contracting positions in the following specialisms: Accountancy & Finance, Banking & Financial Services, Construction, Digital Technology, Engineering, Finance Technology, Human Resources, Information Technology, Insurance, Legal, Life Sciences, Marketing & Digital, Office Professionals, Property, Procurement, Supply Chain and Sales. Hays Hong Kong SAR has been awarded the “Best Workplace for Women™” and one of the ‘Best Workplaces™ in Greater China 2019’ by Great Place to Work®.
About Hays
Hays plc (the "Group") is a leading global professional recruiting group. The Group is the expert at recruiting qualified, professional and skilled people worldwide, being the market leader in the UK and Asia Pacific and one of the market leaders in Continental Europe and Latin America. The Group operates across the private and public sectors, dealing in permanent positions, contract roles and temporary assignments. As at 31 December 2019 the Group employed 11,600 staff operating from 266 offices in 33 countries across 20 specialisms. For the year ended 30 June 2019:
– the Group reported net fees of £1,129.7 million and operating profit (pre-exceptional items) of £248.8 million;
– the Group placed around 81,000 candidates into permanent jobs and around 254,000 people into temporary assignments;
– 18% of Group net fees were generated in Australia & New Zealand, 27% in Germany, 23% in United Kingdom & Ireland and 32% in Rest of World (RoW);
– the temporary placement business represented 57% of net fees and the permanent placement business represented 43% of net fees;
– Hays operates in the following countries: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Colombia, Chile, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Hungary, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, UAE, the UK and the USA

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