By Hand or Machine

RECIPE 3 – By Hand or Machine

Cook: Continuously
Serves All of Your Clients!

In cookery, some tasks, typically those that are more dependent on touch and sensitivity such as kneading dough, folding flour into batter, or adding icing to a cake, are most effectively carried out by hand, while others like blending soups, whisking egg whites, or roasting meats are best done in an automated fashion. The most successful recipes tend to strike a happy medium between the two: a formula for success that also applies to most contact centre operations.

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  • Self-service for simple tasks
  • Proactive engagement to resolve
  • Humans for more complex issues
  • Getting the balance right


  1. Simple tasks in the contact centre are often best done through automation backed self-service. Add in Interactive Voice Response (IVR) channels to handle routine jobs such as taking meter readings, or managing address changes. Mix in chatbots to kick-start customer conversations and provide basic answers quickly and easily. Set up FAQs or forums that allow your customers to find answers quickly and reduce their need to contact you directly.
  2. Use self-service to be proactive and help call avoidance, for example – send reminders text messages, emails on renewals, payments or appointments. This not only helps reduce call traffic but also increases revenues and allows customer resolve enquiries them. In return, empowering customers to reduce cancellation of policy or appointments. Remember though to make sure you offer a call-back or speak to agent option to ensure that you are covering all scenerios.
  3. Don’t forget to add the human touch into your customer engagement recipe. Humans are great at dealing with those exceptional items that can’t be automated. They are good at assimilating variables: information and facts that might not have been seen in a particular pattern before – and crucially they are good at showing empathy. That makes them a vital ingredient in any contact centre recipe.
  4. Make sure you get the balance right.  Don’t just add them randomly into the mix though, place them carefully. All contact centres need to appreciate it does not just about understand that a problem is best solved by a human, it’s just as much about knowing who within the organisation is best placed to resolve it in terms of skillset and experience.

It’s clear then that the key to a well-balanced contact centre operation is getting the right mix of human and automated engagement. Getting the right ingredients in place and following the above recipe will help you achieve that goal.

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