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Achieving a Competitive Advantage with Business Process Automation

By Amy Crossin

Everyone knows that providing high levels of customer service leads to happy, repeat customers, positive review and referrals. Why then is there an epidemic of customer service mediocrity?

What if your team could address every customer issue, on the phone or through social media – as it happens? Is this possible? Yes, when you achieve sales and customer service business process automation (BPA) with systems of engagement.

The Missing Link

One reason for mediocre customer service is that sales and customer-reps are usually working with a lack of business information when engaging with prospects and customers – even if they have a customer relationship management (CRM) system in place. What’s missing includes applications, correspondence, contracts, purchase orders, invoices, drawings, etc. This equates to an inability to provide timely answers in the moment, from a few hours to a few weeks, which leads to poor quality service, unhappy customers and lost business.

No More Digging

Many companies on-board and service clients in the same way: sale reps have customers fill out a ream of paperwork, which is then manually routed through the organization for approvals that can take days, weeks or even months. Some information is manually entered, often multiple times, with varying degrees of accuracy.

When customers call in, during the new account on-boarding process or afterwards, customer service reps often have only partial information. They have to dig through filing cabinets, bankers boxes and/or recall documents from offsite storage to find answers – this can take hours, days or weeks. In addition to poor quality customer service, these paper documents take up valuable real estate and/or can cost a fortune to pull them out of box storage mines and mountains. Sometimes this information is scanned into a shared drive, which is unsecure and siloed from CRM, ERP and other back-end systems.

Achieving BPA

To achieve business process automation (BPA) for sales on-boarding and customer service, a real-time system of engagement is needed. It starts by scanning incoming paper documents where and when they are received by the organization: internally in the mailroom or outsourced to a virtual mailroom/PO box scanning provider. Even better: capturing all customer information electronically with mobile devices or via web form capture.

Once scanned, workflow automation software automatically routes each document for the appropriate processing based an auto-classification and business rules. Today’s best workflow automation software helps ensure that every step of the process is completed once every document is captured, with automatic alerts sent out if things are missing or are taking too long.

Instant Information Retrieval & Compliance

Once these documents are fully processed, they are archived in a document management system that makes all information contained within them instantly searchable – when customers call in. The best document management systems integrate with industry-leading CRM and ERP systems like Salesforce, SAP and Oracle. Instant information retrieval also helps ensure you are compliant with all legal/industry requirements when the auditors stop by, including HIPAA and document retention schedules.

Competitive Advantage Achieved

With all of your information captured in real-time with e-forms and document scanning, processed efficiently with workflow automation and made instantly available with document management, customer service reps can have all business intelligence at their fingertips to address customer questions and issues – as they occur – without having to dig or be blindsided. The resulting elevation of customer service can lead to industry leadership and a competitive advantage. Bonus: reclaiming office space, reduced offsite storage needs and happy customer service reps.

Amy Crossin is the author of this article on New Account On-Boarding. Find more information, about Document Scanning here

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Article Citation
MLA Style Citation:
Crossin, Amy "Achieving a Competitive Advantage with Business Process Automation." Achieving a Competitive Advantage with Business Process Automation. 11 Apr. 2014. 16 Sep 2014 <>.

APA Style Citation:
Crossin, A (2014, April 11). Achieving a Competitive Advantage with Business Process Automation. Retrieved September 16, 2014, from

Chicago Style Citation:
Crossin, Amy "Achieving a Competitive Advantage with Business Process Automation"

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