Increasing quality and doing more with less is good business.
Quicker turn-around times; fewer people; less floor space; lighter inventory; pushing processing back onto the customer, e.g. self- checkouts; self-ordering; self-check-ins are part of today’s business world. This positively works on many fronts, but the area that it has the most significant potential for adverse impact is customer interaction.
I ate at a local hotel in Sydney last night and upon my order was given one of the buzzers that would alert me when my meal was ready – self-pickup. While I was ordering wine, the waitress engaged with me. She was real. She was friendly (despite her admission that she feels socially awkward which made the interaction even more significant). And even though there was an electronic process pushing back responsibility onto me the customer, there was a person there who was real and engaging.
And I think this is incredibly important for all organisations. Practice operational efficiency by all means. Reduce overheads wherever possible but never, lose sight of engaging with the customer.