How to automate customer experience and keep both clients and stakeholders happy
by Deneys Minne
A better customer experience and increased business efficiency: can you have both?
Picture the following scenario: An organisation has chosen to automate some aspect of the customer experience to reduce costs and improve business efficiency, however, the newly introduced technology does not translate into a better customer experience.
On the contrary, while the business has increased its efficiency, customers find it more difficult to engage with its products/services.
The question arises: can you deliver both an amazing customer experience and reduce costs? In other words, can you keep both your demanding clients and even more demanding stakeholders, happy?
The benefits of an automated customer experience are two-fold: satisfied customers and a better utilisation of company resources, saving precious time and money.
Automation often translates into improved customer service, reduced inventory costs and better asset distribution, especially in the case of mass manufacturing.
What happens when automation doesn't work flawlessly for the customer? Too often, even slight reductions in costs can come at a hefty price: the loss of customer experience overall quality. Therefore, automation should have the customer's point of view in mind.
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An ideal automated customer experience should have the following attributes:
* Frictionless. The customers should not go to any extra trouble to buy into the experience. They should not need to repeat steps or fix anything. The experience must be stress-free.
* Valuable. Value-for-money is a two-way street. Customers want to feel they are getting a good deal, especially when the company reduces its costs and automates its processes. Automation should reduce costs for both clients and business. It means no additional charges for the improved customer experience.
* Trustworthy. Customers expect companies to act in their interests and anticipate their needs. Automation can cement trusted relationships with customers, providing that extra care. Consider processes like refunds and credits, and how automation can eliminate the need for call-ins and troubleshooting.
* Reliable. Customers like to deal with products and services that work. An automated system like a self-service channel is preferable as it provides a straightforward and timely service, as long as the experience of using the system is user-friendly, which sadly is not always the case.
* Relevant. An automated customer experience should be relevant to each customer. An automated customer experience solution such as chat and call-me-back features reduces company costs, but it won't always address the customer's topical issues if the customer has to explain and repeat himself/herself to get to the solution.
In conclusion, an automated customer experience should narrow the gap between short-term company cost benefits and long-term value for customers, by involving system efficiency and strategic planning and resource allocation.
A comprehensive CRM system is essential to make this transition to better automated customer experiences.