I am of the school that the things you do in your business should start manually and worked repeatedly before automation should be applied. Automating business processes prematurely can create problems from the rigidity of mechanistic systems. You are stuck in the automation without having done the hard head (and heart) work of figuring out all the nuances of how something should work.
Automation with customers, especially, has to consider the human experience side. How a communication feels or a specific touchpoint at the right time will matter in the perception of the customer. We hate hearing the phone recording telling us repeatedly how much a company cares while they keep us on hold for 20 minutes. Why not automate further and request a call back number that automatically dials on behalf of the operator instead of holding the customer hostage?
Or what about the salesperson that has so many fields to fill out in her CRM that selling becomes highly demotivating. They feel like they are working for an analyst rather than for their customers.
Or how about the lack of communication after a sale is made? Making the customer feel like their purchase was appreciated and work is under way may not change anything in reality, but it sure goes a long way in building trust.
Your business processes mature through the daily grind of getting work done. You can see what goes faster with a bit more creativity and business systems designed around your well-defined requirements. The requirements are so defined because you worked out the kinks and can appreciate the costs of being impersonal or missing by ten degrees.
The tasks, communications and customer experience have to be managed well within your automation framework to make it better than experiencing the manual side of things instead. Ensure the fidelity is as high as you can get it before you automate. It will make it worthwhile for everyone involved.
If you automate slowly one part of the business at a time, it will keep you from having to address broken parts of the business process from lack of attention or insight.
So what part of your process do you need to work through before automating?