Startup Check-In

The Dollars And Sense Of Automation

Many organizations have recognized the value of automation for delivering cost savings, but not all of them have realized that it also creates opportunities for profits — both financial and social. Mariam Dombrovskaja, Chargehound, says there’s considerable potential for both.

“Anybody who sells anything online – physical goods, digital goods, or services – they’re looking for opportunities to improve margins, which are thin,” Dombrovskaja said. “There’s a lot of opportunity to eliminate manual processes across the organization and shift valuable resources away from simple tasks to more value-added services.”

With this 2017 McKinsey report predicting that automation could replace 30 percent of jobs by 2030 (and affect fully half of all jobs by then), it’s time for organizations to start looking for that silver lining and prepare themselves to make the most of the emerging industry paradigm, said Dombrovskaja.

She said there are four types of tasks that organizations should consider automating. First, those which are repeatable or recurring and need consistency across iterations. Second, those which are easy and require no human reasoning, such as data entry. And third, those which are measurable, so that the effects of automation can be observed.

Finally, there is what Dombrovskaja calls “soul-crushing” activity — tasks that require little interaction or engagement from employees. These tasks deliver little job satisfaction, and that is reflected in the high turnover rates in such positions. These employees (and the company) would be better served adding value elsewhere, she said.

Dombrovskaja and Chargehound feel that disputing chargebacks fits more than one of those categories, and that’s why the startup set out to automate this laborious and repetitive process.

Of course, not everything should be automated just because it can be. Some organizations, for instance, feel that loyal customers should never get an automated response, but should always hear back from a live representative if they encounter and report an issue.

After all, if they make 12 orders a year and issue a single chargeback, the odds are pretty low that they’re committing friendly fraud. It’s much more likely, said Dombrovskaja, that they truly have been victims of fraudulent activity, and the company should handle that quickly and personally.

McKinsey notes that automation will touch almost every occupation, even those it does not fully replace (which represent only about 5 percent of today’s jobs, based on today’s technology). Around 60 percent of occupations have roughly 30 percent of activities that are technically automatable based on existing technologies, the report said.

In other news, Chargehound will have a booth at the CNP Expo in Orlando, Florida next week and will be demonstrating its chargeback automation software on Tuesday (May 15) in the demo theater.



The How We Shop Report, a PYMNTS collaboration with PayPal, aims to understand how consumers of all ages and incomes are shifting to shopping and paying online in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Our research builds on a series of studies conducted since March, surveying more than 16,000 consumers on how their shopping habits and payments preferences are changing as the crisis continues. This report focuses on our latest survey of 2,163 respondents and examines how their increased appetite for online commerce and digital touchless methods, such as QR codes, contactless cards and digital wallets, is poised to shape the post-pandemic economy.