By Damian Suski

Preface Journey 

As I sit here on a flight to India, listening to the most popular Khan hits, I’m filled with an overwhelming sense of excitement at visiting such a culturally magnificent country.  Yet, within me still rests a powerful irritation at having my flight rescheduled five times and consequently missing the layover.  Not to mention, the dread that my baggage may or may not be on the same flight (Spoiler – it wasn’t). 

Even though my flight is a lot more of a physical journey than what I usually work with, it’s still an important, longitudinal series of interactions.  Some of them in person, some of them automated.  

I can trace the start back to calling my bank to ensure my credit card would not be flagged in India.  Upon speaking with a representative, I distinctly remember how excited he got when I told him I was actually flying to where he was located.  He immediately let me know of all the best local spots, what to expect with the weather and what to look out for.  That kind of impromptu, human experience is essentially impossible to replicate.  

But human experiences aren’t always that great either.  Hanging around at the Newark airport I had to deal with an incredibly frustrated (to put it mildly) staff who, not only were of minimal assistance, but were also incredibly obtuse in understanding that I was suddenly stranded overnight, and my luggage was missing.  Granted, due to weather, many other flights were delayed.  In this instance, the human interaction caused the journey to seem far worse. 

While these in-the-moment instances are from a highly specific flight journey, all journeys have commonalities, be it an education, employee, health, or any other of the countless journeys in daily life.  There is a lot to learn regarding how these journeys are carried out and how they can be improved. 

Automation 

What comes to mind when I say automation?  It’s a loaded word nowadays synonymous with benevolent things like progress in the twenty-first century, cost saving, online shopping…and some darker words like layoffs and robot uprisings. 

Yet how many people miss switchboard operators?  Technology moves forward and with it comes a plethora of opportunities that are not limited to simply cost saving measures, but also improvement in speed of service and quality of life.  People are able to create journeys in order to reach out and help others, or in turn, request help, easier than ever before.  The technology is there, it now comes down to facilitating it in a non-overwhelming manner. 

As a product scientist at JourneyLabs, all I eat, sleep and think about are journeys.  How they work, how they can be improved and how we can support them.  One of the key pieces of information that I’ve learned through this process is that sometimes a human just needs to reach out to another human.  Take the suicide prevention studies we are supporting or the healthcare journeys we enable; those are augmented by automatic tools to keep recovery on track in a convenient way.  But when someone is having an emergency and needs their primary care provider, the last thing we want to do is let technology stand in the way of interacting with a real person. 

And that is the key really, striking that balance of handling as many people as you possibly can without sacrificing the ability to help any particular user in need. And even though JourneyLabs gives you the tools to maintain this balance, it is best accomplished through an informed, strategic approach. 

Starting the Automation Journey 

Having an automated, friendly journey will let you scale, assist, and succeed like never before.  It brings an entire extra dimension to your goals and helps enable your vision. I’ll be using JourneyLabs’ own Journey Management Platform to talk about all the components we’ve tirelessly built in and how they serve to enrich the journeys of participants.  As I go in depth about how automation can be a massive boon, know that I will be focusing just as much on where it belongs as I will on where it doesn’t. 

We must never forget that at the heart of every journey is the person undertaking it. Their experience must always be central to the vision.  Because as cliché as it sounds, life is all about the journey. And I very much want to help you enrich your journey for as many people as we can. 

I’m happy to say that I did arrive at my destination, and thanks to fantastic customer support from Air India, my bags arrived to me in perfect condition a couple days later. I hope to see all of you in the next segment: The Onboarding Waterfall Condundrum.   

 

Damian Suski leverages his lifelong fascination with software and his UCF Computer Science degree as a product scientist. On the side, he codes mobile, web, and desktop apps and is in the process of publishing his first novel.

 

 

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