Because nearly 90 percent of customers shop with businesses based on their customer service, improving customer experience (CX) is vital to the long-term success of any business.
In the United States, about $1.6 trillion is lost every year from bad customer service experience. Consumers have more choice today than they ever had in the past. This means it’s easier than ever for your customers to simply go to your competitor if your customer experience is poor.
Getting potential customers to your website, converting them to an email subscriber and ultimately into a paying customer is only the first part of creating a highly profitable business.
Simply selling is not enough in today’s marketplace. Businesses now need to nurture existing customers and cultivate these relationships, or customers will shop elsewhere. That is where automation strategies can help.
Here are four ways to improve your CX and meet customer demand through automation.
1. Automate Customer Communications
About 72 percent of customers only respond to business messages geared towards them. In addition, 91 percent of customers will not do repeat business with a company that makes them feel undervalued and ignored.
It is essential that your customers feel catered to, cared for, and valued. They want content that is personalized, relative to them and meets their particular needs.
While it is easy to think of automation as mass communication, the truth is automated responses for email and chat can build better customer experience. These automated, immediate emails can assist customers and resolve their issues while service representatives save time while monitoring incoming queries instead of answering one-one-one calls.
Common customer correspondence that can be automated include:
- Abandoned cart messages: About 63 percent of customers do not complete their orders. Sending a personalized email with the right products can add $80,000 for every $1 million in sales.
- Promotions, sales, and new product details: Customers love to hear about new deals and sales, and about 85 percent use coupons. Another 75 percent of customers expect business to send them deals and offers. Don’t forget to offer special discounts for repeat customers and again, make them personalized to what they regularly purchase.
- Blog articles and online content: Share content relevant to customers. Segment your content based on the information you already know about your customers. This could include previous products they’ve purchased, geography and demographics.
- Social Media: It is important to stay active on all forms of social media, including Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and others. Social media increases trust, retains clients, and fosters brand consistency. Even furthers, you may connect social media platforms to your dashboard to more consistently manage your connections and foster the success of your social media posts. You can also use social media content in email to show off your brand voice.
To help businesses personalize their communications, start automating the content you send them. Email automation tools allow businesses to automatically send emails to customers based on the actions that they take. For example, if customers regularly sent customer support emails about shipping, you could create a template that details the information. Then, when a customer emails support on this topic, the system can send the templated response automatically.
2. Automate Order Tracking
Gone are the days of simply emailing a tracking number to customers once an order ships. Customers like to stay in the loop about their order so automating inventory management is vital.
With automation, businesses can automate every aspect of their inventory and order tracking. This approach is helpful for forecasting, sales and data analysis. It’s also helpful for businesses that need to understand how seasonal or promotion items are affecting their bottom line.
Automating order tracking and inventory can let customers know:
- An order’s estimated shipping date versus when it ships
- Which carrier has the order and is delivering it
- When an order is en-route and what state it’s currently in
- If there is a delay in the order, what the nature of the delay is and for how long
- If an order is on back-order and recently became available
- If an item the customer purchased in the past is now on sale or is being discontinued
Communicating order details is a great way to keep customers informed and engaged with the brand. This personalized customer experience doesn’t have to be labor intensive though. Tools like StitchLabs automates the inventory management process to keep customers up-to-speed on product availability, orders and more.
Automated ticketing systems and a knowledge base can help you create a unified customer service system that is available at all times, so customers with questions about their order can always find answers. Another good knowledge base, an FAQ section, also represents a vital form of self-service for customers.
3. Automate Voice, Chat, Text and Email
Because more consumers are on smartphones, customer communication can come in many forms. Hence, providing on-site chatbots, text, email and voice calls can ensure there are seamless communications no matter the preferred customer communication channel.
Contact centers have to deal with all of these communication channels in today’s digital landscape, so automation becomes increasingly important. Tools like Avoxi automate the contact center communication routing to ensure customers are talking to the right support team through the right communication channel.
Chatbots have become an incredible gatekeeper for customer support teams to leverage. They help to provide immediate answers to customer questions, and they can separate a general query from a complaint in an automated way. This is incredibly effective at decreasing the number of times customer support reps need to actually talk with customers while giving the customer an instant answer to their question.
If a more complex problem arises, chatbots like ManyChat, can forward complaints to the right agents so the agent can provide immediate help customers need.
These smart experiences humanize the interaction between customer and automation experience. With it, you get a complete view of a customer’s history and past interactions with your company. With it, you may leverage these details into insights that then create a personalized customer experience for everyone that comes into contact with your product.
4. Automate Electronic Documents
Customers are sometimes in need of a copy of a document. They may need to have their service agreement, a sales order or contract. By using dynamic forms that can be filled in online, these can stay in the business’s database and the documents are viewable anytime. It’s also easier to send documents to multiple parties if they need to be signed off on by more than one person.
Automation can also be used to pre-fill in online forms. This can help to expedite the filling process and ensure there are no errors or missing sections on a form. Auto-fill forms simplify what can be a lengthy process depending on the document. It will save the customer time and improve their experience.
Automating customer communications can help to make your business more responsive to your customers’ needs and help a company thrive in many ways. It is the future of business and a must-have tool for brands that are moving forward. From chat, email, social media outreach, voice, and automating content, there are many ways to improve customer experiences and enhance how customers view the brand. As your business looks for ways to meet customer demand, you must ensure there are no gaps in the customer’s journey as you engineer a well-designed strategy to meet the needs that automation serves in an ever-changing marketplace.
Megan Wright is the Chief Editor for ChamberofCommerce.com. Chamber specializes in helping small businesses grow their business on the web while facilitating the connectivity between businesses and more than 7,000 local Chambers of Commerce worldwide.
As a small business expert, Megan specializes in reporting the latest business news, helpful tips, and reliable resources, as well as providing small business advice. She has significant experience with the topic of small business marketing and has spent several years exploring topics like email marketing, social media, and content marketing.