Customer support can often be a forgotten part of the sales cycle. However, it is critical to the long-term success of a company. With the increasing reliance on electronic communications, email automation is a must for companies – large and small – that want to keep their customers happy.
Leveraging email automation strategically can improve customer support while also streamlining communication with customers and reducing customer support demands. It is a win-win for the customer and the business.
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What exactly is email automation, and how does it help?
Email automation is a broad term that refers to any program, application, add-on, or system that leverages technology to improve the sending, retrieving, and storage of emails.
Email automation also uses the power of analytics to help companies pinpoint and fine-tune their marketing efforts. By looking at how prospects and customers react to emails – do they read them and actually click on the links within them? – companies can improve their electronic communications.
Contrary to what the term "automated" implies, automation of email marketing and communications does not mean that emails become cold and robotic. In practice (and when done properly), email automation should result in a more personalized experience for the customer.
The customer should feel that the emails they receive are relevant and interesting, instead of impersonal, cookie-cutter communications that don't speak to their needs or interests. Email automation can help with all of this.
5 email automation tips to enhance customer support
Fortunately, applying email automation to customer emails is easier than ever. Here are some tips on how to best use email automation technologies to make your customers happier:
1. Personalize outgoing emails automatically.
One of the most basic forms of email automation can be as simple as leveraging mail merge. Using data from customer relationship management (CRM) software such as Salesforce, you can automatically embed name and company information into an email.
But the possibilities of personalization go beyond just including a name in an email. You can also use information from the CRM to record information about what product features a potential client might be interested in. You could then use that information to start an automatic email flow that incorporates specific information about that feature in a series of personalized email missives.
2. Provide consistency with email templates.
When responding to support requests, support staff could potentially waste a lot of time and energy writing unique emails for each issue. Instead, use prewritten email templates to ensure every customer gets the same support answers. These email templates can also be customized for individual recipients to add that personalized touch.
3. Gather feedback with embedded polls and surveys.
Find out what your customers really think by embedding a poll or a survey into an email. Rather than outbound Net Promoter links, in-email polls can be a great way for customers to provide feedback. In-email surveys are a convenient and easy way for your customers to share their experience, enabling your business to collect voluntarily provided data to improve your product and your customer service.
4. Schedule emails to send later.
The ability to schedule emails to send later can be a huge benefit to salespeople, staff and business owners. Let's say you have a small business with a remote workforce that may work from home at various times of the day. However, you want to give the impression of a professional company with regular hours.
Scheduling emails to send later can help with this. Your employee, who may prefer to work at 10 p.m., can follow up on emails and have them scheduled to go out first thing in the morning.
Scheduling can be used for a lot of different applications as well. For example, you might schedule a follow-up email with a customer set for two weeks after your last response to them.
5. Integrate with other systems.
As already mentioned, integration with a CRM such as Salesforce can make your email communications that much more powerful.
Email can also integrate with other platforms and SaaS offerings, from Google Calendar to Dropbox, from Twitter to Github. Connect emails with tweets or include attachments from your preferred cloud storage provider. All of this makes email faster and more convenient – making your responses to customers timelier.
Leverage email automation to improve your customer support.
Make your customers happier by applying the best practices of email automation to your next online marketing campaign or customer follow-up time. By using technology improvements such as automated personalization, email templates, embedded polls and surveys, you can engage and entice your existing customer base. They will appreciate your business more, and you will save time and money in the process.