This post is by Rhys John, Digital Marketing Executive at Thomas Design.

The future is here and robots are running everything.

Before you panic and start worrying about Skynet taking over, let me just explain that I don't mean judgement day is upon us, I simply mean that we've come to a stage where almost everything is automated.

You call up your gas and electric supplier and before you speak to a human you go through to an automated system to narrow down what you're looking for. When you order something online a robot tells another robot that you would like to buy said item, which then tells another robot to take the money from your bank while a separate robot tells a person (maybe) to ship the item to you.

Robots are everywhere, but should they be?

Now, I'm not going to get all philosophical here but do you really want a robot running everything?

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to say no, some things need a personal touch that only a human can offer. For example, think about the last time you had a customer complaining about your service or product – how do you think they'd have felt if they were answered with an automated reply and a generic response?

It wouldn't have been pretty, would it?

But at the same time, you can use robots or at least systems – Customer Relationship Management systems (CRM) – to give your customers a bespoke service and make things faster and easier.

CRM to improve service

Paying for a human to keep track of what customers are ordering and then providing recommendations and suggestions every time they come back would be far too labour intensive.

But customers like going online and seeing recommendations based on their previous shopping history, and businesses can give them what they want with a clever CRM. Not only do the customers like it, but companies like it too as it can open up a wide range of opportunities – like tracking buying trends and sending the customers reminders, ultimately increasing sales.

You can use a CRM to send personalised and targeted messages in a way that feels natural to the customer. This delivers a high quality of customer service to your entire customer base in an efficient manner, and that simply would not be possible without automation.

Automated with a touch of human

Some issues require nothing less than a human touch, while others have become so utterly complex and time consuming that they need to be automated in order to be achieved. This is where many companies have to strike a balance and decide how much of the day-to-day grind should be done by robots and how much should still be handled by humans.

How each business strikes that balance will depend on many factors. Some people will claim that they don't like the idea of everything being automated, while others wish they never had to deal with real people. There's no way of winning them all, but combining a clever CRM system with good old fashioned customer relations will help you to get close.