Automation for boosting customer experience

Automation As A Strategy For Boosting Customer Experience

Customer Experience: Personalization is the key

The way firms deliver CX (customer experience) is fast-evolving and the focus now is to provide a customized service to each individual customer. For example, in contact centers when agents interact with customers, they have access to the entire history of each customer, possibly including persona types and behavioral patterns of the customer. In real-time customer data is updated, thus enabling the agents to stay updated with the latest requests and actions of the customer. With the advent of cloud analytics and sophisticated omnichannel CRM solutions, the technology exists that can enable modern-day contact centers to deliver high standards of customer satisfaction. 

However, the adoption of these modern technologies in contact centers is still in its infancy. This gap can be attributed to the fact that automation is still not an integral part of the growth strategy of many firms even today. However, the pandemic has forced many firms to start viewing automation as more of an essential rather than a desirable attribute in the organization. Traditionally, automation solutions were associated with high licensing costs, however, with the widespread acceptance of the SaaS model in the last decade, the cost has been equalized and is no longer an entry barrier.

Perhaps a bigger bottleneck for firms to adopt modern-day SaaS-based CRM solutions is the vacuum in their internal IT infrastructure as well as the lack of clear vision for automation. For automation solutions to deliver full impact, all business units such as product, sales, marketing, support etc. need to be aligned & integrated with the software solution. Firms need to acknowledge that for them to survive and compete tomorrow, they need to go digital at an enterprise-level today. This would potentially allow for organization-wide transparency and pave the way for big data analytics to play a strategic role in the long-term growth of the firm.

It may not be easy for many firms, especially incumbents to make the transition from a conventional, decentralized and often manual mode of operations to a sophisticated centralized mode of conducting business. The inertia to move towards automation may be a dampener initially both logistically & financially for many organizations. However, the firm’s leadership needs to see the long-term return of the invested time, energy & money for successfully migrating into a customer-first brand, enabled by automation. The short-term benefits come from cost savings, but strategically the long-term benefits lie in delivering a remarkable customer experience. 

According to a survey by Mckinsey, many firms (around two-thirds of the respondents) are already pursuing automation at some level. For firms with over one billion dollars in annual revenues, that are leading the automation adoption curve, three fundamental similarities were observed – 

  • The automation strategy is aligned with the enterprise-level strategy by the leadership
  • Strong focus on enhancing skills of the workforce to match the technology
  • Create a scalable model for the adoption of automation across the organization

Aiming for a Smarter, Better, Faster customer experience

A smart, tech-enabled and automated contact center that is calibrated for a higher FCR and CSAT is bound to win customers better & faster. This boosts customer retention and even attracts new customers through referrals by existing delighted customers.

The trend for firms to achieve operational efficiency in their contact centers by adopting the latest automation solutions is gaining momentum. While it may give a competitive edge in the short-term, in the long-term it is likely to get ingrained in the core business strategy for most firms. There exists sufficient data to prove the strategic & financial benefits for pursuing the goal of personalized service to the customers. Some of the key benefits are – 

  • Long-term customer retention 
  • Lean & agile processes in contact centers
  • Lower Costs

Economics of scale

To delight customers consistently and at scale, while keeping a strong focus on delivering personalized service to each customer, investments, as well as enterprise-wide visibility to build a detailed profile of each customer’s journey, are required. To achieve this, close and timely coordination across business units is a must, especially when today a customer can have different touchpoints with the organization across multiple channels such as social media, e-mail, contact center, chat, etc. 

There is a requirement for cloud analytics to track and analyze each and every customer irrespective of the size of the customer base. However, once the infrastructure is in place, the incremental cost of adding a new customer is negligible. Further, with time big data analytics is expected to become less expensive and more capable.

Most customer support setups are reactive, but going forward as firms develop and track each customer’s journey, they need to be able to anticipate each customer’s requirements. This would require ubiquitous access to customer data to achieve real-time data-driven decision-making. Unfortunately, for most firms, easy access to structured customer data is still gated by inefficient legacy processes that lead to duplication and fragmentation across various layers in the organization.

However, given the capabilities of cloud-based CRM systems today, this challenge can be met provided firms acknowledge the strategic need to have an omnichannel data integration process in their workflow. Many firms today which have successfully created such sophisticated ecosystems benefit from studying customer behavior and effectively converting cross-selling opportunities. The opportunity cost associated with delaying automation is huge, and the trend towards complete automation in customer experience is inevitable. Firms need to manage change efficiently & aggressively to achieve long-term sustainable growth by ensuring they have the right systems in place to keep their customers satisfied.
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About the Author

Nimit Kumar
Ashish Mittal

VP of Customer Success

Ashish Mittal is the Vice President of Customer Success at Kapture CRM, Bangalore India. A seasoned professional with over 15 years of experience, he has worked for Silicon Valley startups as well as Fortune 500 companies.
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