You already know how important it is to provide a great customer experience. Great customer experience builds loyalty. Loyalty brings in more paying customers. More paying customers means an increase in revenue.
But if you want to scale these operations for a bigger customer base and at the same time cater to each of their needs without having to increase costs, automation holds the key.
However, before you start doing that, there are some things you need to do.
What to do before automating your customer experience
Remember that your customers are people and that you've employed automation to benefit them. So, first, understand your customer.
- Who is my customer?
- Why did they come to me for help?
- How can I understand their problem and offer them help?
When you’ve answered these questions, you need to anticipate their next actions:
- Will they check out my product/service page?
- If yes, do they want to start a free trial? Or do they need more reassurance?
Once you step into the shoes of your customer, the mystery will slowly unravel itself. For assistance, there are some great tools out there that give detailed insights on your customer behavior.
Pro tip: Before investing in any automated tools that promise to save you time, money and increase profits, think about the role they’ll play in your customers’ experience. Most tools provide short-term gains in efficiency, but if they hurt the experience, your customers will walk away.
How to automate your customer experience
When it comes to automating your customer experience, I've focused on three popular areas where you would interact with your customers the most: email marketing, social media, and customer support.
1. Email marketing
Consumers, nowadays, have come to expect relevant and personalized content. So, as a marketing professional, it's important to meet those demands.
In the context of email marketing, this means targeting an email campaign to a specific subscriber based on the information you have about them. But how do you make an email personalized? There are 3 elements to it:
- Make it relevant
- Make it timely
- Make it come from a human
The above email is a great example.
- It is relevant: it addresses John by his name, and from the copy in the email you can see that it knows John works in the creative department in an agency.
- It is timely: it understands what John needs during the holidays.
- It is sent by a human: John is more likely to trust the email as it was sent by another human.
Matthew was able to make his email personalized because he had the necessary information about John. You can do this too.
There are several ways to get the information you need from your customers. Use a lead generation form on your website (here are some form templates to get started quickly) to collect that information and send it straight to your email marketing platform. This helps you properly organize the information and pull it out any time you want to run a campaign. Another great source of customer information is your website analytics tool.
2. Social media
Social media shows the world who you are. It's a platform to show your brand personality and establish an identity. Can it be automated? Yes. But it's important to understand what you should automate on social media and what you shouldn’t.
Automation can be addictive. Once you use it in one area, it’s tempting to use it in another. However, it’s important to resist that temptation—not everything is meant to be automated. Even big brands have struggled with understanding that.
Do you have a content calendar that says you should post 5 tweets per day, 3 posts on Facebook, and 2 on LinkedIn at different times during the day? Go ahead and automate that. Did a user reply to your tweet or have they asked for help on social media? Leave it to real people to respond.
Here are a few more quick tips when it comes to social media automation:
- Find a posting schedule that works for your brand
- Don’t schedule too far in advance
- Set aside some time to engage with your users
- Tweak your messages based on the platform you’re on
- Be aware of the current events
- Be ready to hit the pause button
3. Customer support
Your customer support team will be in direct contact with your customers every single day and is responsible for retaining your customers and extracting more value from them. So, investing in quality customer support can’t be understated.
I would recommend using a customer support tool that comes with a chatbot. If you use one as a virtual assistant to address customer issues, start by keeping it simple, and treat each customer as an individual, not a ticket number.
Also, make your chatbot seem less scripted so that it asks your customers timely questions. Because we've seen them all—"Hi, how can we help you today?", "It's our policy to take down this information before we get started.", etc. These lines do more harm than good. They not only look robotic but sometimes they can upset your customers even more.
So, rewrite your scripted lines to something that seems more human and appropriate to the customer's response. Even though your lines still stay scripted, the language you use and the timing make a lot of difference.
Customer support rides on three core qualities:
Sure, you want to solve your customers' problems as fast as possible and move to the next customer, but you could take this opportunity to go further in the discussion. Program your chatbot to ask them if they need help with anything else or, if possible, ask them if they want to contribute to your next product development discussion. People love to be heard.
Even though it's a chatbot talking to them, your customers should feel like there’s an actual human being behind it who they can reach out to if they need to. By having a genuine conversation, your customers will realize that the relationship you’re building with them goes beyond helping to solve their problem.
Pro tip: Faster communication always improves response time—especially true for customer support teams. If there's an issue that needs a quick resolution, your customer support team can notify the right person or team about it in your company—this can be your development team, for example—to help address it faster. Your customers will love this!
Bonus: Now, this has less to do with automation, but more to do with providing instant help to your customers. Create a comprehensive knowledge base of all the possible FAQs, troubleshooting guides, etc. about using your product. This will reduce the burden on your support team and offer immediate help to your customers. In fact, a study revealed that 91% of customers love to help themselves.
It's important for you to understand where automation should end so that human interactions can take over. Most customers still value the human touch and such interactions are the key to building lasting relationships that'll accelerate the sales cycle and improve customer loyalty for your brand.
Remember—what’s best for your customers is best for your business.