Automation technologies such as messaging bots and AI (Artificial Intelligence) are all good, however, they can’t help your company if you aren’t using them to give consumers what they want. If you think it is all about making things simpler, think again.
Simple is not enough anymore. Automation is old news and when it comes to building a personal connection with your customers, you are leaving the door open for someone else to attract your customers with a more helpful and engaging approach. As consumer expectations rise, it is the businesses that use automation as one element of better customer experience that will stand out from the crowd, earning their loyalty
Automating For The Right Purposes
People think of automation as a way to reduce costs. Yes, that is one reason to do it, however, it is not the only one. It is important to make sure you are giving customers what they want, with a remarkable experience that will keep them coming back.
The ATM is one of the first purposes of self-service. ATM allows customers to access cash and additional services without having to go inside the bank or near one. It is a simple experience that allows them to complete their needs quickly and efficiently. Mobile banking apps today go even further, allowing customers to transfer funds, check balances, and deposit checks from anywhere.
The self-service checkout lines at grocery stores, on the other hand, have a more questionable value proposition. Is it really simple to look up your own produce codes, look for your UPC (Universal Product Code), bag your products and run your card?
You have to be in store, but you have to do everything yourself without the assistance you once had. Store owners might say that it allows you to skip long lines, but couldn’t they open registers instead. There are customers who prefer it, however, many find it impersonal and awkward – a business cutting costs at the expense of the customer.
IVR systems or Interactive Voice Response Systems are already the stuff of standup comedy habits – a source of annoyance and frustration imposed by businesses that would do anything to avoid talking with a customer. Is this reduction really worth it? Even if it threatens customer loyalty and the brand image?
As you think about automation and its advantages, it is as important to look for ways to satisfy the customer needs and improve the customer experience at the same time. Smart businesses reinvest their budget just to find new ways to satisfy customers.
The Right Type of Self-Service
Self-service isn’t a bad thing, as the ATM shows. It is bad when it is done inadequately and it gets you a poor reputation.
One bad experience can be enough for the customer to say “I’m never using that product again”. The key is to understand who your customers are and who self-service is right for. Remember, it is not a one-size-fits-all approach. Knowing how and when to deliver it in a way that improves customer experience is everything.
You already know more than enough about each customer to understand their needs and desires. That can help you discover new opportunities to add value. This strategy is common in the form of recommendations based on the shopping session of the customer, their shopping history, etc.
Recommendations are a win-win – the business captures new selling opportunities and the customer is exposed to offerings or something they will be interested in.
You have just filled your shopping cart with your favorite products and you are about to check out to complete the purchase. Your coupon code doesn’t work. Perhaps it has expired or you are typing it in wrong. It doesn’t matter, because you are not in the mood and you are about to abandon your shopping cart. Because you are a loyal customer (based on your purchasing history), the website decides you to give you a new code to use. You complete the transaction and you feel satisfied along the way. The retailer completes the sale and has a happy customer at the same time.
Each step of the way, you are using data to improve the experience by offering solutions and helpful information – making sure the customer does everything right, uses the right channel, etc. This will certainly ensure the best outcome.
Raise the Bar for a Better Customer Experience
Nobody was asking for the banking industry to come up with ATMs, but once ATMs started to appear, it becomes a make-or-break customer expectation that every bank had to have. The same applies to new business innovations from auto-fill form fields to stored payment details.
As more and more customers receive a personalized customer experience, low-value and traditional service will appear indifferent and cold in comparison.
Businesses that use automation for one purpose only – to lower their costs, are avoiding big opportunities at the expense of solid and long-term relationships. Through automation, invest your savings to stay one step ahead of customers’ expectations so you can accomplish better results for both your business and your customers.
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