In this post we introduce CX automation and run through six examples of how automation can improve customer experience.
Customer Experience is an area which has almost entirely digitized, making it a perfect candidate for automation. Most customer experience-related activities include the processing and collection of data, which McKinsey have highlighted as top activities with highest automation potential, at 69% and 64% respectively.
Customer Experience (CX) automation refers to delegating predictable and repetitive tasks from white-collar workers to specialized software. Automating customer experience tasks involves the definition of a task, understanding the required input, output and method for processing data.
Customer experience in the digital space, such as for e-commerce, finance, or other online service providers, typically requires customers to self-serve a variety of activities, such as completing forms, registering for a service, payments, and requesting support. A self-service model means that the services must be available on-demand, meaning that the availability of human operators should not be relied upon or necessary.
CX Automation has so far been held back by the difficulty of stringing together multiple processes into a single end-to-end workflow. For example, digital forms have been around for many years, but their functionality comes to an abrupt end when the gathered data populates a spreadsheet and stays dormant until a person starts interpreting it. The challenge automation software has been addressing is creating a flow of data. Workflow automation is enabling customers to gather form data, have the inputs pushed into a customer satisfaction tool, which can continuously track metrics, and then send email notifications to management when a metric falls below a threshold.
Now that customer experience automation is a technically feasible exercise, businesses worldwide are employing it to achieve benefits such as:
Automating a single task can provide tangible benefits. For example, Forrester identified that the benefits of automating customer onboarding included a 90% faster onboarding time, 10% higher margin per customer, 5% incremental customer acquisition, and 2 fewer FTEs per booking center.
Achieving a fully automated customer experience is a process which will likely take a long time to define. However, we’ve seen how many benefits a business can gain with a single automated process. On your journey to a fully automated customer experience, we recommend implementing the following processes, which are typically low-hanging fruit for most businesses.
Asking customers to provide upon the completion of a service is a great way of keeping a pulse upon the quality of services you are offering and the experience they had. The forms can either be delivered via email, such that the customer can complete them when available, or the feedback can be requested via a pop-up screen. If you choose to request feedback via pop-up, we recommend asking for a single and simple metric, such as asking for a rating on a scale from 0 to 10, and then offering the option to provide further feedback.
Tools such as Grohawk and Retently have developed platforms that allow you to gather feedback from your customers and measure scores such as NPS and CSAT across long time frames.
You can automate emails to customers via a variety of platforms to send batch emails to subscription lists. These platforms enable you to create different categories and track how subscribers have interacted with previous emails to send more personalized messages at a large scale. Similarly, you can use automated emails to distribute vouchers and offers.
Leading tools in this area include Mailchimp and Sendgrid, who have developed a user-friendly method of creating subscriber lists and sending templated emails as defined by a wide range of parameters, such as categories, scheduled releases, and long-term campaigns.
Customer service has typically entailed agents to interact with clients to provide support, answer questions and solve queries. A first attempt at automating this type of support was automated phone service, where some predetermined answers try to answer common customer questions without the need of a human agent.
However, this approach can often be frustrating for customers who would prefer talking to a human agent such that they can explain in natural language what their issue is. Here is where chatbots have an inherent advantage. Most of today’s chatbots are AI-powered and can understand natural language, either providing direct answers to customers, linking to resources, processing basic tasks such as password resets, or connecting to human agents.
Hubspot and ServiceNow allow you to create automated chatbots using no-code builders. Users can also integrate with ticket management systems to automatically create and populate tickets to be reviewed by the customer support teams.
Onboarding is a process ripe for automation, where customers can be walked, step-by-step, through the registration and setup process. For example, once the customer creates an account, they can receive a welcome email message, be walked-through the product setup, call out any features with speech bubbles, provide any necessary documents, and be guided by interactive walk-throughs.
Customer onboarding is typically a subset of a wider set of features within an automation platform. In this case, tools such as Kofax or Workfusion are able to help you create workflows which support and guide new users through onboarding.
Customers can be categorized into different segments to maximize engagement and provide a more personalized experience. Segmentation can be started as early as the onboarding process, where the registration form can ask for details such as industry and job role.
You can also put customers into different buckets depending on priority by creating a matrix. You can plot value against risk to identify high-value high-risks, high-value low risks, low-value high risk, and low-value low-risk. For each of those, you can identify accounts which need to be expanded, maintained or retained, and approach the relationships accordingly.
Custify is a customer success software which is able to help you segment and prioritize customers based on a range of parameters and tags.
To identify customers at risk of churning, you need to be tracking specific behaviours, such as users not signing into their accounts, tracking login frequency, email engagement levels, purchase and billing history, or intent to unsubscribe from newsletters by navigating to the unsubscribe page.
It is important to understand that churning is not a binary element, but rather a spectrum. On one end, we can place customers who are heavily dissatisfied with the service and want to terminate their subscription, and on the other end we can place customers who are not actively using the platform despite now having any challenges with it. You can assign different severity levels to the churn intent to prevent customers with low churn intent from slipping further toward the high churn risk.
A great tool that can help you monitor user behaviour is Hotjar, which generates heatmaps depending on where website visitors interact with your webpage. Once you have determined the behaviours you are looking for, such as declining purchasing history, you can integrate with other applications in your stack to either automatically offer discount codes for next purchases, or notify account managers so that they are aware of the change in the customer’s orders.
An automation platform whose extensive capabilities can help you automate customer experience processes with an easy-to-understand visual workflow editor. With a comprehensive integrations portfolio, you can use our platform to connect to your CRM, marketing, sales and data analysis platforms and create end-to-end workflows. You can capture and categorize events by user to define extensive customer profiles and understand how to better nurture relationships, identify opportunities and address at-risk customers before they churn.