Professional Services Still Need Talent to Drive Intelligence, Automation

At the many staff training sessions we held across Tricor’s 47 global offices in 21 countries/territories, a frequent question from my colleagues is, “Will we get replaced by robots?” Even in the age of digital transformation, the answer to this question is a resounding “no.”

Even though we are rebuilding our services from the ground up in an automated model, our philosophy is to take a holistic approach and look at what our clients truly need to thrive in today’s increasingly competitive global marketplace.

Inevitably, we always determine that human capital is still crucial to us servicing our clients effectively and delivering a superior customer experience (CX) well into the future. Where we want to differentiate ourselves is to use the technology as an enabler to provide that CX with the economies of scale we need to support our growth.

During our staff training sessions, we always begin with an infamous statistic: A Bain Research report found that 80% of CEOs believed their brand provided a superior customer experience, while only 8% of customers agreed. Also, a recent Salesforce.com report found that by 2020, 75% of business buyers expected that the companies they worked with would be able to anticipate their needs and offer relevant suggestions before a conversation is started. Meanwhile, 73% expected that products and solutions would self-diagnose issues and automatically order replacement parts or service.

To close these gaps and meet rising customer expectations, professional services companies will need to modernize their CX. We believe that a company must hire top talent who understands and can work with the right technologies to build a CX that aptly responds to customers' needs.

The Role of Automation and Intelligence

A common set of technologies usually dominates the digitalization conversation, whether they be robotic process automation (RPA), artificial intelligence (AI), intelligent optical character recognition (iOCR), or data analytics.

At its core, the conversation is about transforming our value at every customer touchpoint. Motivated and talented employees, process improvements, and, most importantly, an innovative culture, are the key ingredients to a successful transformation.

Technology, while necessary for streamlining and improving business processes, is only a tool for putting a company's innovative mindset into action. Therefore, a professional services company's digital strategy should prioritize building talent, enhancing processes, and fostering an innovative culture.

With the right talent and culture in place, companies can then use the technology to offer clients an enhanced, digitalized customer experience with meaningful results. 

Digital Leadership Required

The 2019 World Economic Forum Annual Meeting identified four leading advantages for digital leadership: vision, management, agility, and empathy for the end-user.

During our internal training sessions on CX, we asked our people to step into the shoes of customers. This helped our people to ascertain what a successful outcome looked like and prepared them to respond to customers' needs proactively. 

The goal of this exercise is to reimagine the CX from the customer’s perspective, ensure we add value at every touchpoint, and then put technology in place to effectively deliver the customer needs.

By pairing cutting-edge technologies with top minds, implementing an outside-in design to CX will enable customer expectations to be better understood. This model can help personalize the CX and deliver more value-added services for our customers — whose evolving demands are the only constant in keeping us innovative and future-proof.

Tim Hurman, group transformation director and Peter H. Lam, group chief information officer at Tricor Group contributed this article.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of HR&DigitalTrends.