Automation is great, it really is. It can reduce cycle times and increase productivity. It can save money by replacing manual processes and can, in some instances, increase the consistency of output. But what’s good for a manufacturing plant or a customer service helpline may not suit all.

That’s certainly true in the world of customer referencing and, in particular, reference fulfillment. Aspects of automation can be useful – a notification to an account manager that their customer is being referenced or a back end report that is automatically processed each week – but the main selling point of any successful reference fulfillment function is something that can’t be automated, the human touch.

Consider the scenario – you’re a technology sales person, you’re working flat out on an opportunity with a large, potentially high value customer. The customer has asked you to provide references to back up everything great you’ve said about your product. Using an automated reference system, you fill out an online form, hit the submit button and sit patiently waiting for an automated response. The response comes through but unfortunately the references provided aren’t really a suitable match. They’re along the right lines but you wanted references that focused on the latest update to the software, version 2.1. Your deadline is fast approaching and you don’t really feel like your request is being treated with the same urgency.

Or, you could pick up the phone and have a chat with someone about what you need and when you need it by. Then wait for the right references to drop into your inbox.

A non-automated system doesn’t mean more paperwork for the sales person. In fact, it means less. No form filling, no box ticking. Just a ten minute chat and the sales person can get back to focusing on other aspects of their job. Safe in the knowledge that their request is being handled by someone who understands what they need.

In an age where it’s easy to look at what technological advancements can do to improve processes, it’s important to remember that sometimes all you need is that person at the end of the phone who gets you. And that’s something that can’t be automated.

Please get in touch if you would like to find out more about our reference fulfillment services.