At the time of writing this article, more than 5,500 directly related scholarly papers surfaced on Google Scholar's SERP for the specific keyword "improve customer experience." A similar trend is rife in the non-academic domain, where companies like HubSpot are persistently pushing customer journey templates, customer satisfaction checklists, etc.
Accenture calls this inclination "experience renaissance" while also asserting that elevated customer experience (CX) is no longer a differentiator but a fundamental requirement. So, while the world is talking about understanding the importance and subsequently improving CX, one needs to narrow down to grasp what "actually" qualifies as a differentiator.
Is it the speed of service? Is it the high-ranking customer satisfaction score (CSAT)? Is it the frequent "warm and fuzzy" feedback? Is it the streamlined customer journey?
Owing to the market's dynamism, it's the combination of all these, and even more. And one technological facet that helps facilitate the same is automation, for it has the potential to impact literally every touchpoint in the customer journey.
But, can enterprises employ automation to the best effect to improve CX? Indeed, they can, and the following use cases show how.
Almost 88% of customers worldwide expect enterprises to provide self-service options on their portals. This explains why 24x7 active AI chatbots are rapidly being integrated into the CX playbook. These chatbots can automate a range of queries and resolve fundamental customer issues without the customer having to interact with a human agent. In case the issues escalate, they can route them to the backend team for further investigation.
In 2017, Juniper Research predicted that chatbots would save $8 billion in operational costs by 2022. Considering the fast-paced and multi-channel adoption of conversational AI chatbots by both B2C and B2B businesses, this estimate could prove to be conservative.
For enterprises, self-service offers the best of both worlds by automating a range of otherwise overwhelming workflow processes, enabling human agents to solicit real-time information from customers where it matters most and helping them resolve issues as required. In a nutshell, this ensures that the customers' journey is smooth and their needs are met early on.
Access to data is the backbone of automation's efficacy in CX management. Auto-crawling, auto-categorizing, auto-indexing, analysis, and modeling of these data help enterprises to have a clear-cut idea about their customers' mind space — their interests, preferences, requirements, etc.
As such, businesses can boost personalization to ease into the discussion based on their solid understanding of the consumer persona. Personalization can drive anything from sending a welcome email to the customer on activation to customizing the help-desk dashboard depending upon their cross-channel interactions.
The idea is to tailor the customer's experience to their behavior and seamlessly award them points for their loyalty. Thus, they can be incentivized to do what they do best, which is to engage.
Knowledge Discovery in data isn't limited to optimizing the internal interaction systems. It can also help enterprises tailor their outreach to suit the customer's needs, wants, and preferences on different media channels.
For instance, it can help target B2B customers by taking cues from past engagements and putting them in the CX purview. It could also segregate down-market leads from the prestigious ones based on the company size or industry relevance, helping companies deliver customized offers.
A deep dive into user behavior helps marketers build a picture of how the customer perceives their brand & how likely they are to buy from them. Not to mention the benefit of discreet follow-up that merges flawlessly with such practices. This translates to an enterprise's ability to leverage an automated follow-up model, wherein customers are pitched auto-generated content at the right place and when they need it most.
The retail sector, in particular, is notorious for the practically insurmountable task of maintaining compliance with the vast number of regulations and statutes. Naturally, the manual testing efforts are never enough because they:
And as such, these organizations run a higher risk of incurring penalty fines, lower sales, lower organizational productivity, and deteriorating customer experience and loyalty. As it stands, automation technologies like NLP and RPA can help enterprises to stay compliant effectively and easily.
For instance, companies can use AI to analyze their supply chain for assessing risks associated with various regulatory compliances like recalls, maintenance, parts alteration, etc. In this way, they can ensure that their channel partners are also compliant with related regulations. Not to forget that this tremendously reduces the time needed for manual compliance tasks, thus, helping elevate CX to new heights.
Not all products are made equal, and not all customers are equally enthusiastic about their end-to-end experience. However, that doesn't mean that one can't strive to realize a unified view of customer data and use it to drive the CX strategy.
With automation at the wheel, businesses can predict consumer needs, resolve issues in real-time and augment the customer lifecycle, providing an unparalleled experience all along. In essence, automation helps prevent the friction points and lays down a smooth journey for the customer, thereby paving the way for a successful enterprise CX strategy.
Also, stay tuned for more such insights and learnings on enterprise mobility and scalability.