9 Ways Automation Will Improve Customer Experience

Customer experience is the key to business success. Today, customer service is on its way to overtaking product and price as the determining factor for which brands customers choose. Already, they are placing more value on customer service reviews and the ability to choose from multiple channels for customer service to accommodate their individual preferences and situational needs.

Customers are looking for four key elements from their brand experiences that will ultimately deliver a positive experience.

  • Speed– customers expect quick response – that means real or near real-time, which is why email is falling behind many of the other channels, particularly with digitally savvy customers
  • Accuracy– they expect the responses and resolutions to their questions and problems to be accurate, so they don’t have to make repeated inquiries, which leads to frustration and churn
  • Choice– They expect to be able to contact brands using whichever digital channel is most convenient at the time. That still includes voice. Despite the emergence of digital channels, customers still recognize the value of voice, especially when it comes to more complex issues.
  • Information– customers expect support teams to have ALL information at their disposal. That includes knowing who they are, what their customer history is, understanding the brand experience that has brought them to seek assistance, and even being able to know why they are contacting the brand.

With customer expectations increasing – most say their expectations for service are higher today than even a year ago – brands need ways to deliver better and faster service. Automation and artificial intelligence can help them reach those goals. In fact, Gartner predicts that, by 2020, 85% of all customer interactions will happen without human interaction. Here are 8 ways how these new technologies are driving better customer experiences.

24/7 Availability

Automated services make customer service available at all time, regardless of location, allowing customers to get information and solve problems easily and conveniently without having to wait for hours when contact centers are operating. For support teams that provide live 24/7 coverage, automation can reduce the staffing requirement for overnight hours, reducing costs and increasing employee satisfaction.

Consistency of experience

Automated platforms can collect customer data across all engagement channels, giving agents as much information about customers as possible. This allows them to more effectively serve customers’ needs, regardless of the journey that led them to a live interaction.

Self Service

Customers demand automated self service options and expect to have these options available at the ready. In fact, the majority of customers report trying self service as the first customer service option. Solving their own problems gives them a feeling of control and empowerment, and allows them to do it on their own terms, without having to wait for live agent. Many self service options, from knowledge bases to interactive chat can be automated.

Messaging

Globally, more than 8 trillion text messages are sent every year and, Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp account for about 22 trillion. There’s no question messaging is a dominant channel, and one that’s become a preferred digital channel for customer service as a result. Chatbots offer a convenient and non-disruptive way for customers to engage and get answers, while other automation automated messaging engines can drive proactive communications giving customers much needed information about products, appointments, payments, and more.

Interactive Voice Response

IVR remains a key customer service tool, as customers tend to use the channel that is most convenient for them at the time. In fact, voice assistants like Siri, Alexa, and Cortana are teaching customers to leverage automated speech-driven services. Speech recognition engines and Natural Language Processing capabilities allow IVR to behave almost like live agents, delivering accurate, contextual information and answers quickly. In addition, advanced IVR services, like Visual IVR and IVR2Text, combine voice services with other digital capabilities for more effective resolution.

Time

Customers value their time. Automation helps them get information and find solutions faster, allowing them to move on to their other activities faster, while giving them a positive experience.

Personalization

Customers are increasingly looking for personalized interactions. They know that brands collect massive amounts of data from their ongoing interactions across channels and expect that information to be used to create messaging and opportunities specific to their preferences. That can mean product recommendations, product updates or upgrades, or even online experiences tailored to browsing habits, and certainly includes live representatives having complete customer history available.

Scale

AI engines and other automated systems are designed for scale as businesses grow. Once automated processes have been defined, they are extended to new products and customers without increasing demands on employees, while delivering the same high-quality experience.

Cost Savings and Revenue

Leveraging automation allows live agents to focus on those customers that have more complex issues or simply prefer live engagements, helping address those needs more efficiently. Engaging in more meaningful interactions, in turn, gives agents a higher sense of satisfaction and is likely to lead to lower turnover rates, saving on time and costs of on- and offboarding, as well as reducing customer churn. In addition, it’s expected that customers will be more likely to spend more with businesses that leverage AI due to the speed and quality of interactions.

AI and automation present an effective way for businesses to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of customer engagements. They enable the delivery of more accurate and timely information while letting customers engage across whichever channels they prefer. In addition, because live support teams are able to more effectively serve those customers that require their help, satisfaction will increase across the board, driving loyalty and revenue.

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