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6 Ways to Improve the Customer Experience with Automation

In today’s hypercompetitive world, the customer experience determines business success. Try incorporating automation in these key areas for best results.

Did you know that most consumers are willing to spend more just to get an excellent customer experience? It’s true. Research from PWC shows 86% of buyers would pay more for a better experience, and one in three would turn to a competitor after a negative interaction. That’s why many businesses are making it their top priority to design the most unique, positive, and memorable customer experiences.

Since most activities in this vertical are digitized, automation is a no-brainer to leverage. Successfully combining automation to streamline your commerce workflow will allow you to deliver a consistent customer experience with higher production rates and eliminate bottlenecks.

Before taking a deep dive into automation, let’s revisit what customer experience is and why it matters to your business.

What is Customer Experience & Why Is it Important?

Customer experience is all about how the customers feel and perceive their experiences throughout their interaction with a business. Therefore, from first contact with a prospect, all encounters will affect the customers’ decision of whether or not to become a loyal advocate.

Successfully living up to your customers’ expectations provides tons of benefits to your business. It promotes sustainable growth, increases satisfaction, and gives you a competitive edge over your rivals, to name a few. Truth be told, there’s an 80% increase in revenue for businesses that improve their customer experience.

What Makes an Exceptional Customer Experience?

The essence of customer experience is making your customers feel special and satisfied. So clearly, there’s no magic formula to follow. But fear not: You can deliver an exceptional customer experience simply by listening to your customers’ feedback and concerns.

Some examples? You can use an online form to get an in-depth understanding of your customers’ needs and wants. Proactive messaging is also helpful, particularly when customers are researching a product. You can use it to educate them about your new products or features available on your website.

As a plus, proactive messaging comes in handy for reconciliation. You can offer a gift like a discount code to apologize for any inconveniences or to incentivize continuing the relationship after a small blunder. 

Why Automate Customer Experience?

Creating a seamless and consistent customer experience is essential. However, it requires a high level of collaboration between all departments in the organization. This is why many businesses choose to automate the entire workflow to save time and resources.

The most used function of automation is handling large volumes of repetitive and predictable tasks with little reliance on human aid. Let’s say you’re selling Impossible nutrition products online, for example. You can automate tasks such as:

  • Completing forms
  • Sending notifications to customers when items are back in stock
  • Displaying a product’s inventory levels (out of stock or low stock)

Automation can do so much more. If you are serious about improving your customer experience, keep on reading.

Six Effective Ways to Improve Customer Experience Using Automation

Partners

1. Automate Customer Service Processes

Building a long-term relationship starts with the first interaction. Make sure to give a lasting good first impression to increase customer satisfaction and retention. One way you can deliver this is by improving the experience for each customer service process.

Here are six of the popular customer service types that you can automate:

Live Chat

It’s no secret that today’s consumers love to receive an immediate response. That’s why most customers prefer brands that offer proactive live chat support. You can start by automating initial messages like ‘Hi, it’s good to have you here. How can I help you?’ to everyone.

Because automation uses artificial intelligence and machine learning, you can also provide relevant suggestions. All suggestions are based on the customer’s inquiry to ensure they will be redirected to the right specialist.

A business can receive thousands of live chat conversations in a day, so efficiency is key when organizing incoming messaging. With a CRM integration, you can easily automate processes like collecting and saving new information. 

It’s also wise to include the chat availability and standard response wait time to clarify what to expect. Don’t forget to give a personalized and polite closing at the end of each conversation.

Chatbots

An automated chatbot is an AI-powered application that can simulate conversations with customers like a human. Like live chat, you can provide relevant suggestions based on the customer’s inquiry. Their only difference is that chatbots direct customers to online resources that hold the answer to their questions.

Chatbots can also work alongside your lead generation. You can customize messages, and the chatbot will use them to engage with your prospects across multiple platforms. You can also automate the verification process of incoming leads and assign each to the right sales representative.

If you use modern chatbots, you can also enjoy their self-learning capabilities. These bots can learn previous customer behaviors and apply them accordingly to resolve complex issues.

Self-Help Resources

Self-help resources are the type of customer support that allows your users to find information or resolve problems on their own. It’s often in the form of a portal (help center, knowledge base, FAQ, and others). Deploying automation will help you optimize your support workflow and provide only the correct answer to the users.

Providing accessible self-service resources is often used for highly technical topics, such as a how-to guide about a repricing tool for Amazon sellers. All directions provided give the customers a complete knowledge of what to expect on the topic or services offered.

Email

Email is the primary—and preferred—mode of communication that businesses use to reach their customers. In fact, Hubspot research shows 78% of organizations recognize email as crucial for company success, and four in five marketers would rather give up social media than email marketing. But not just any emails. Personalization is essential to ensure all email campaign content is relatable and relevant to the customers’ interests. It will also help your email campaigns avoid spam filters.

Unsurprisingly, this type of marketing is primed for automation. For content delivery, simply upload a contact or subscription list, and it will automatically send batch emails. You can also include discount vouchers and promotional offers to increase conversion and engagement.

Automation helps you eliminate duplication and human error when correctly set up.

Customer Feedback

Customer feedback is an effective method to completely understand how your customers feel about your products and brand, and you can collect it using surveys. Currently, there are three primary types of survey you can use:

  • Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT): Enable customer to score experience from 0 to 100
  • Customer Effort Score (CES): Enable customers to scale their experience as “very difficult” or “very easy”
  • Net Promoter Score (NPS): Ask customers to measure their satisfaction on a scale from 0 to 10

The primary role of automation here is to collect and store all the customers’ feedback in one centralized place. This enables everyone in your company to access the feedback, including the attached files. You can integrate other web applications to automatically add tags and categorize each feedback based on the customers’ responses.

Customer feedback may display in different forms. Here are a few ideas you can use:

  • Email
  • Pop-up form
  • Live chat for instant feedback
  • Polls on social media channels

Helpdesk Ticketing System

A helpdesk ticketing system, popularly known as a support ticket, lets customers create a ticket that documents their issues. Once completed, they can submit the ticket, and it will go to the queue until a representative works on the issue.

Automation will optimize the turnaround time from there. You can start by choosing how you want to process the support tickets:

  • First-come-first-served basis: Create a logic-based rule to instantly display the support tickets, starting with the old ones.
  • Assign tickets based on roles: Automatically add role-based attributes to ensure the right department will handle the problem.
  • Priority support: Prioritize support tickets created by paid users.

You can also automate workflows to determine their priority level. You must set each level with allotted time to respond and resolve the problem. For example, a representative must respond to a critical ticket within an hour and fix it in no more than three hours, otherwise receive a violation. Other tasks you can automate are listed as follows:

  • Overdue support ticket
  • No update was made for a specific timeframe (e.g. 10 hours after receipt)
  • Support ticket comes from a particular company or user
  • Escalate support tickets to managers (for irate customers)

2. Automate the Omnichannel Customer Experience

The modern consumer shops on multiple channels, so online businesses need to implement omnichannel commerce experiences to keep up with the competition. (Here’s a refresher: Omnichannel commerce unifies all available channels to create a seamless and integrated shopping experience for customers in real-time.)

Manually tracking customer interactions over multiple channels is complex and time-consuming. Automation can make it simpler, and you still get the same key insights. 

Automating customer experience usually requires hard work and a lot of custom coding. But with today’s technology, a wide variety of tools are accessible for everyone from small businesses to enterprises. LinkedIn automation, as an example, automatically runs personalized campaigns, collects data, and sends follow-up messages. This can show you the customer journey as it relates to your social media efforts, and you can establish a brand voice on one platform that carries over to the others.   

The omnichannel customer experience comprises consistent messaging across channels, which makes marketing a key function, but an arguably more important aspect is the relationship building. Personalization and data collection are effective tactics, but if you aren’t taking the time to get to know your customers and their pain points, you won’t be equipped to provide a solution—and your bottom line will show it. 

Retailers and brands can automate their most tedious commerce workflows like accounting and bookkeeping, inventory management, and analytics reporting. By letting technology handle the data, there are more hours in the day to develop a seamless experience across channels.  

Manually entering data

3. Automate Content Operations

Producing and delivering high-quality content every day isn’t an easy feat. That’s why you need a dependable Content Operation to ensure you can deliver content on time.

Content operation is the combination of people, technology, and processes. Together, they work seamlessly to manage, automate, and scale content strategically. Focusing more on automation, you can expect to do any of the following:

Workflow Automation

Using rule-based logic, you can launch tasks quickly without human intervention. A few of the workflow you can automate are listed as follows:

  • Set up reminders
  • Organize documents
  • Accounting processes
  • Lead management

Smart Content Tagging

Every content piece contains tags to make it easier for search engines to crawl and index the piece. When using an automation tool, it’s ideal to choose one that includes machine learning and natural language processing technologies. When set correctly, these technologies will generate relevant and context-aware tags automatically.

Cross-Application Integrations

As the old commercial goes, “there’s an app” for everything. To fully automate your content operations, you simply need a connector between your production and delivery systems. Zapier is widely used and integrates with thousands of solutions, but plenty of online tools can automatically personalize content and deliver it to the right customers. It can also sync and perform any workflows from your existing application automatically.

Promotions

4. Automate Notifications to Prevent Customer Churn

Customer churn is the percentage rate of customers that no longer interact with (or stop making purchases from) your business. Clearly, this is a metric to pay close attention to, so it’s worth identifying and understanding customers’ behaviors. These can help you discover its root cause. You can use two proven methods to track churn: cohort analysis and churn by behavior.

After successfully identifying the cause, you can set an automation for each behavior. The behavior will trigger a notification, which can alert you in a timely manner at the location of your choosing like a messaging app or email. Some will enable you to populate a Trello board automatically. From there? Have the customer success team step in before it’s too late. 

Map out the customer journey

5. Automate Onboarding Processes

For online retailers who sell subscription boxes or services, onboarding is a key step of the customer journey. Capturing their interest is the first step, but afterward is easier with automation. There are plenty of tools that can streamline all onboarding-related workflows.

One example is giving your customers a step-by-step guide during the registration process. This is beneficial because customers have different levels of expertise in using online platforms. You can integrate your CRM system to automatically store all the customers’ essential details filled in the form.

Once the customer is done with the registration, you can send them an automated email with a personalized welcome message.

Online store metrics

6. Automate Order Processing

Most ecommerce businesses integrate their online store with their social channels. Manually handling all orders can lead to frustration and prone to errors. With the help of automation, you can fulfill orders accurately and quickly.

You can start by automating the verification process. As soon as the orders are placed, your system will update the inventory status and send a notification to customers as proof of successful transaction. You can integrate your existing business systems to automate various tasks, using tools such as these:

  • Payment system: Allow customers to settle the payment in their preferred payment method (credit cards, mobile payment, electronic bank transfer, etc.)
  • CRM software: Collect customer contact information
  • Order management software: Manage order lifecycle from data entry to after-sales service
  • Product information management: Collect and manage your product information and distribute it effectively to your sales and eCommerce channels
Automation

7. Automate browser testing for optimal customer experience

Internet browsers evolve fast to consistently keep up with users’ demands and needs. And most of the time, the new updates are automatically installed. This can pose a risk to your existing automation.

The good news? You can use automation to perform browser tests. Set it up, and it will test every new change that happens into the user interface. You will receive reports when the new update breaks your existing automated functions.

There are many tools available you can use—TestComplete, Selenium, and dozens of others are ripe for the picking. Choose the best one that suits your needs.

How to Get Started

Automation is not a new concept, but it has become increasingly valuable and can solve a wide variety of pain points. Introducing it into your customer experience will undeniably level up your interactions and eliminate frictions. Because automation tools handle tons of information simultaneously, getting the most secure location to manage and store all your organizational data is a must. Businesses can choose between on-premise, cloud-based, and outsourced hosting, but cloud-based platforms are ideal for accessibility and database scalability.

The next step is to choose what you can automate. Not all parts of your customer experience require automation. It’s wise to identify the areas and processes that benefit the most from automation to save you time and effort during planning.

Assign the right team for each job. Some business leaders believe that automation relies heavily on the IT team. But the truth is, it varies on the automated tasks—customer service, marketers, software developers, and more.

Lastly, test the effectiveness of your customer experience automation. A/B testing is the go-to method of most marketers and business owners. It works by evaluating the design and efficacy of the calls to action, landing pages, on-site forms, and more. Multivariate testing is recommended if you want to uncover more information about how each variable interacts with the others. 

Automation plays a vital role in the success of customer experience. So, make sure you do it right.


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The Webgility Team

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