Clients, both existing and prospective, will be more demanding than ever in 2019. They have the resources of the world at their fingertips, and they want it all with every transaction – smart functional efficiency wrapped up in a warm, fluffy blanket of experiential empathy. The way for your brand to deliver both is through tech, and it’s easier than it sounds.
Process automation already liberates humans from trillions of “tier-1” support requests, those routine, repetitive admin tasks that multiply errors and delays. And newer aspects of machine learning offer customer self-service enablement options so pain points are often addressed before they become complaints. In this way, tech supports the “Empathy Economy” where the emotional qualities of the customer relationship play an essential role in business decision-making.
To build customer satisfaction and company profitability, Watson, IBM’s suite of artificial intelligence services, applications, and tooling, predicts that by the year 2020, 85 percent of all customer interactions will be handled without a human agent. On a typical 6-minute customer service call today, 75 percent of that time is devoted to agents doing manual research. This leaves only 25 percent of the call for higher-level service interactions like problem-solving, upselling, and cross-selling, a percentage at which profits decline for many companies.
In order to meet and exceed expectations in 2019 and beyond, your business must adapt and automate. Here are seven ways that automation can impress your clients and build retention, while making your company smarter and more nimble in the process:
Make Everything Easier
This is general advice with a myriad of specific illustrations. One that hits close to home (for anyone who has ever been reduced to tears of frustration over a particle-board bookcase) is IKEA’s acquisition of the odd-jobs app TaskRabbit, which sends a skilled Tasker to a customer to assemble the brand’s DIY-furniture.
For your own business, be sure that your customer loyalty program in particular is easy to use. Customers often report that they don’t use miles, points, and perks they’ve earned, simply because calculating and redeeming them gets too complicated. Automating these basic math functions can make your rewards program truly valuable, and reduces the volume of frustrated calls to your help-desk.
Cut Downtime System-Wide
Today’s digital clientele expects immediate gratification, whether it’s an acknowledgement of an email they’ve sent, the answer to a question, or that overnight delivery of their new yoga togs. When you make customers wait, they often move on.
More efficient web hosting is a prime example. The goal: to never, ever again have to tell a customer, “I’m sorry, but our server is down.” Superior site uptime has been recognized as a key factor in customer retention for 2019. Automation offers businesses a brave new world of opportunities where constant, invisible maintenance keeps the site infrastructure on point for unbroken access, sleek navigation, and reliably fast transactions.
Create an Interface That Always Remembers Your Customers
Your customer doesn’t want to keep a directory of user names, passwords, account numbers, and other IDs to view their own data or place an order — the goal is to make the customer feel like a welcomed friend, not a sketchy stranger in town. Smart software retains, summons, and logs in their needed credentials, so your customer has instant access to their account information and can immediately get into the transaction.
Offer Your Customers Self-Service Tools
Master Your Internal Traffic
Auto Schedule & Confirm Meetings
Simplify Your Invoicing
Software can send routine invoice reminders to clients, preventing gaps and those uncomfortable conversations about late payments. When a payment is received early, send an especially warm, handwritten thank you note – a charming process which, incidentally, can now be automated.