Did you know that 86% of customers are willing to pay more for better customer experience (CX), and 73% consider CX an important factor that affects their purchasing decisions?
Meanwhile, U.S. companies lose approximately $1.6 trillion annually due to poor CX that causes customers to switch to competitors.
In a recent survey, 22% of companies identified customer experience as the most exciting business opportunity and creating an outstanding CX is the key to boosting customer acquisition and retention.
However, delivering a consistent customer experience at scale can be quite a challenge. While personal interactions are important for building relationships with customers, the lack of standardized processes can lead to inefficiency and inconsistency that will create a frustrating experience.
Thankfully, with today's automation technologies, you can standardize workflows and automate many customer-facing processes to deliver a streamlined and consistent CX so customers can get the most relevant content, offers, and assistance when they need it.
How to use automation technologies to streamline the customer experience
From sending the right content to the right people at the right time to eliminating cumbersome paperwork that could lead to errors and delays, automation can help you deliver a streamlined and outstanding CX. Here's how:
Deliver personalized communications at scale
Today's shoppers expect content and offers targeted to their needs and preferences.
Ninety-one percent of consumers are more likely to buy from brands that offer relevant information and recommendations, 80% are more likely to purchase from a brand that personalizes their customer experience, and 72% only engage with targeted marketing messages.
Automation allows you to implement complex workflows and business logic so you can cater to individual customers' needs based on their order history, preferences, browsing behaviors, and real-time interactions with your brand.
It can also help you deliver these messages using the most appropriate channels, such as email, text, chatbots, website content, social media posts and more. Here's how to use automation to implement personalization strategies.
- Automate data collection and analytics on all touch points to segment your customer list, so you can deliver the most relevant content and offers to the right people in the right place and at the right time.
- Use automated workflows in your email marketing to deliver highly targeted content, product recommendations or offers based on each customer's real-time interactions with the brand. Some of these emails include cart abandonment messages, follow-up on support calls, new product announcement and relevant blog articles.
- Deliver highly personalized content and product recommendations on your website or via social media to drive engagement, build loyalty, and increase sales.
Streamline inventory management and order tracking
Simply sending customers an email saying that their orders are "on the way" no longer cuts it. Automating your inventory management, warehousing and fulfillment processes will allow you to keep your customers in the loop about the orders' status cost-efficiently.
Also, automating inventory management allows you to use real-time data analytics to spot market trends and forecast demand. You'll be able to stock the right products so customers can get the items they want when they want them.
You can use automation in inventory management and order tracking to:
- Set data-driven rules for reordering to prevent items from running out of stock and use real-time analytics to anticipate market demand so you can have the right stock at the right time to meet customer demands.
- Track item availability in real time and display the number of items left in stock so customers won't be disappointed when they order an item only to find out later that it's sold out. This also adds urgency to help increase conversions.
- Send automated email alerts to customers when items left in their carts are low in stock.
- Provide delivery time, order status, and carrier information to customers on-demand.
- Send notifications if there's a delay in shipment and provide an updated delivery time.
Provide real-time customer support with chatbots
With 56% of consumers preferring to contact a brand via messaging apps or chat rather than phone, chatbots can streamline customer support workflows while delivering a relevant experience in real time, thanks to AI-powered and automation technologies.
Chatbots can handle many routine support inquiries with no wait time, freeing up human agents to focus on more complex issues and build customer relationships.
Here's how you can leverage chatbots to optimize CX:
- Provide customers with answers to common questions right away. For example, you can use an automated workflow to sync up a chatbot application with your shipping providers' system to offer real-time updates regarding shipment and delivery.
- Screen inquiries and send customers that need additional assistance to the right agent using advanced routing strategies to ensure that they are getting the appropriate support. This helps improve your support team's call resolution rate and customer satisfaction score.
- Distinguish general inquiries from customer complaints, which can be escalated appropriately to improve customer satisfaction.
- Gather necessary information about a customer (e.g., purchase history, past communication, reason for contact) before the inquiry is routed to an agent so you can streamline the interaction, deliver a personalized experience, and improve cost-efficiency.
Facilitate processes with electronic forms
If you need customers to fill out a form, sign an agreement, or process a purchase order, you can use online dynamic forms to eliminate cumbersome paperwork and streamline the customer experience.
The information can be synced up with your systems automatically and be accessible at any time. It also eliminates the time-consuming process of rekeying the information manually to minimize errors and delays.
Here's how you can use automation to facilitate form processing and approval:
- Automate form workflows, especially for B2B ordering, which often requires getting approval from multiple stakeholders. This will eliminate bottlenecks so orders can be processed faster.
- Populate or auto-fill form fields using customers' information from your database to streamline the purchasing experience and save time while reducing errors or missing information.
- Facilitate collaboration among various internal departments to accommodate customers' requests by routing them to the right team promptly.
Improve customer experience with real-time analytics
Automation technologies can help cleanse, compile, and analyze a large amount of customer data (e.g., purchasing history, browsing behaviors) to enhance real-time decision-making and streamline the customer experience.
Collate customer feedback to uncover patterns and trends, then share the information across various business units. For example, marketing can turn popular search terms into website content, and the procurement department can improve demand forecasting to ensure customers can get the items they want.
Generate insights from analytics and create reports for distribution across the entire organization so all decision-makers have access to the latest customer insights to make accurate data-driven decisions that will help enhance the customer experience.
Automation can help your organization become more responsive to customers' needs and meet today's fast-evolving consumer expectations by delivering the most relevant information and helpful services in real time.
Besides streamlining customer interactions, automation also helps breakdown internal silos so you can build a customer-centric organization.
Meanwhile, it's important to identify where automation should end so human interactions can take over to build meaningful customer relationships. Most consumers still value the human touch and such interactions are the key to building last relationships that'll accelerate the sales cycle and improve customer loyalty for your brand.