I have blogged recently regarding the rise of automation and the likely impact of robots on business and customer service today. I was at the shops over the weekend and was fascinated to see how the sale of ‘drones’ is now commonplace. In every kid’s store was a variant on the theme – cheap plastic models ranging up to more expensive computerised versions featuring advanced rotor controls.
Drones are becoming mainstream and it is not difficult to see why. Take the insurance industry where claims-handling is a critical element of the service they provide. Where there are significant natural disasters – particularly where it is unsafe to access a damaged site or one engulfed in flames – the use of drones in the air is fast becoming a new innovation. Imagine how quickly a drone can access these sites, take aerial pictures, and help transmit back key claims-related information that would otherwise take days or weeks.
Quicker claims handling translates to quicker claims processing and ultimately a better customer experience. Further evidence of the rise of the drones lies in the policies that insurance companies are now developing to cover drone usage. Industrial-grade drones are likely to be expensive – in fact they are usually 25kg or more and are therefore more similar to small aircraft than toys. As their numbers increase in the skies, the potential for damage, accident, loss, can only increase so having your insurance company provide some level of coverage is a very necessary pre-requisite.
I think drones are here to stay. Amazon has been piloting drone-deliveries for some time – how long before we get used to seeing a drone arrive at our house to drop off our goods? Or consider the increased flexibility when you can communicate in real-time with the drone delivering your items to tell it to change delivery location or to leave the item in a particular safe place of your choice?
There has been much negative commentary about the impact of robots and automation on jobs but I think that much of this is misplaced. Everything requires regulation and each industry adopting this technology will need to work out their rules-of-engagement, but in my view the benefits outweigh the risks. If the net result is improved innovation, as well as reduced cost and a better experience for the consumer, then I believe this can only be a good thing.
What do you think about the increased use of drones and have you seen the use of drones affect customer service? Leave a comment here or get in touch via my LinkedIn.
Photo by Mauricio Lima licensed under Creative Commons.