How Automation Technology Can Humanize Your Customer Experience
Think about the most dreaded customer experience everyone can relate to: seeking help from a call center.
As a consumer, there are few things more painful than trying to reach customer support. For one, it’s almost always inefficient. Need to reach the call center? Might as well cancel your plans for the afternoon.
Inefficiency is the fastest way to sour the customer experience. In today’s competitive business landscape, a poor customer experience can kill retention and damage your brand image.
Automation technology offers you the opportunity to prevent this from happening. By assuming the low-touch aspects of customer interactions, automation frees your customer service staff to focus on the complex, high-touch elements.
It gives you the chance to maximize speed and efficiency while maintaining a strong human element — the ideal customer experience.
A far-too-common customer experience nightmare
Imagine you need to change something regarding your health insurance policy. Or your cable isn’t working. Or there’s an issue with you cell phone carrier.
In any of these situations, you first have to look up the customer support number. Then you wait on hold while the most irritating music imaginable (which will inevitably be seared into your brain for the next two days) plays on an endless loop.
Finally, someone answers. You begin to explain your issue. The representative cuts you off to ask a few identifying questions. You give them the answers, they locate your account, and you repeat the problem.
They listen, then ask you to hold. Minutes pass. Someone else answers. The new rep asks for all of the information again. He says that you need to speak to someone in a different department. He transfers you. The horrible music is back. You have only a faint recollection of the outside world. Someone picks up, and you explain the problem for the fourth time. The rep thanks you for your patience as your final stores of patience drain out of you.
When the interaction is finally over, you are tired and frustrated. At best, your issue is resolved. At worst, you have to call back another time and repeat the entire process.
Automation technology can mend a damaged customer experience
In the example above, not only did the company deliver a poor customer experience, but it also hurt your perception of its brand.
This interaction could have been simpler and more satisfactory with automation technology.
What if you could have simply talked to a chatbot online, who would then process your request automatically? What if as soon as you dialed customer support, an automated answering service took care of the basic issues? Shortly after, a customer service rep would call you back to take care of the final, more complex aspects.
No more waiting on hold, no more explaining the same thing over and over.
Beyond customer support, automation can increase efficiency and ease at every point in the customer journey — from navigating a website to locating a product to completing a purchase.
Using machine learning, AI, and natural language processing technology, automation can make you customer experience much more seamless, efficient, and human-centered.
Automation offers three main CX benefits
There are three ways in which automation can give your customer experience a serious boost.
1. Greater capacity to focus on high-touch customer interactions
Many tasks that your customer support personnel do manually, such as identifying the customer, retrieving account details, and logging the issue, are routine and require little thought. Unfortunately, these are the tasks that consume most of your employees’ time.
By automating these mundane tasks, your human workers have greater capacity to focus on the human side of customer support. Let the machine take over the simple parts of the job so your reps can really dig into the problem, understand what the customer wants, and provide the most thoughtful solution.
2. A simpler user experience
Customers want to do minimal work. After all, they’re paying you to deliver a product or service. Why should they have to exert any more effort?
Making sure your user experience is simple and straightforward is a good way to minimize customers’ efforts. Automation can help with this, too.
For example, instead of making visitors to your site search for something, a chatbot could pop up and ask them exactly what they’re looking for, then direct them to the right page. If they make purchases from your site on a regular basis, automation technology can deploy prompts to ask the user if they’d like to purchase the same item as last time.
These tools not only help you provide a seamless customer experience, they also reduce cart abandonment by making the checkout process as easy as possible.
3. Greater self-service
Your customers don’t want too many responsibilities when it comes to doing business with you. At the same time, self-service is often the most efficient way to solve a problem.
Take the call center nightmare example. Simply writing your issue to a chatbot on the company’s website is far easier than spending an hour on the phone. With automation, customers have instant access to tools that will enable them to solve problems painlessly and fast.
Self-service capabilities also serve your employees. There is nothing fulfilling about spending your time inputting data. By freeing up your staff to focus on the more complex aspects of their roles, they will be more engaged and experience less frustration.
Don’t pass up on automation
Adding automation technology to your customer experience strategy makes your service more human, as counterintuitive as it may seem.
Automation improves efficiency and workflow for your staff, and ease of use for customers. When implemented correctly, it’s a win-win.