When you think of the benefits of automation, you might think of saved time, streamlined processes and fewer admin tasks to deal with.
But the perks of automation go much further. When done well, automation benefits your customers as well as your business's bottom line. It offers a way to deliver more value, resolve problems, reduce churn and boost customer satisfaction.
Ultimately, automation can be your secret weapon to improve customer retention, which is no small thing: a 5% increase in customer retention can increase a company’s profitability by 75%.
We've compiled 8 ways that automation can improve customer satisfaction and retention – and tips for how you can reap the benefits of each one.
Benefits of automation for your customers
More regular face-time
What makes for bad customer experience? Unhelpful responses are right up there, but slow or non-existent communication can be even worse. 86% of buyers even say they will pay more for a better customer experience.
To ensure timely interactions, many CRMs let you track when you last reached out to a customer, how often you should reach out, and alert you when a check-in is due. You can also automate personalized emails with a link to book a time in your calendar.
Automation tip: Check if your CRM includes a "last contacted" property that can alert you when a customer is due a call or meeting, or automate a message to your customer.
No one likes generic messages – especially not paying customers who understandably want to be treated like a real person. If you send automated emails, make sure you're using personalization tokens to make each message as tailored as possible.
Your recipients shouldn't be able to tell that it's an automated message, especially if it's sent from their account manager or another individual on your team.
Automation tip: Send automated emails with clever personalization to make sure they're well-received instead of marked as spam.
High-def view of a customer's time with you
81% of consumers want brands to get to know them and understand when to approach them – and when to leave them alone.
With a CRM in place, you can compile useful data such as a customer's business requirements, communication preferences, and support tickets to build a high-definition view of your customers over time.
For the best results, collect data that helps you serve your customers in the most personalized way possible. Also, make sure to sync your tools to keep all customer data centralized and accessible across your key apps.
Automation tip: Create a two-way sync between your apps so all teams are looking at the same information.
Resolve problems with bots
48% of consumers don’t care whether a chatbot or a real human helps them. One thing's for sure: the future of automation is going to see a lot more bots in our businesses.
Bots can act as full-time agents – resolving problems, providing support, and helping customers to get the most value from your business – without anyone in your team needing to lift a finger beyond set-up and maintenance.
Automation tip: For your first bot, keep things simple. Tools like Drift and Intercom make it easy to set up live chat on your website or app, so you can incorporate straightforward but powerful bots. With your bot, you can achieve goals like lead generation, meeting scheduling or answering FAQs.
Streamlined handovers between departments
When a contact's lifecycle stage changes – such as from sales opportunity to customer – you can automatically pass a bundle of data to the relevant department. This means the right person instantly has the information they need at their fingertips – and it eliminates the potential for forgotten or shoddy handovers.
A streamlined handover benefits your customers, too. It removes the headache of dealing with yet another representative, as onboarding and account managers will know their background and they won't have to answer the same questions again.
Automation tip: Automate customer data handover when a customer is assigned to a new owner. You can also pin this data on their contact record for easy-access.
Quantify customer happiness – and act on it
Mention.com is just one company that has successfully used Net Promoter Score (NPS) automation and personalization to learn more about its customers’ happiness.
After collecting NPS scores, the social media tool segmented customers based on their scores and put some in touch with sales, some with support and others with helpful content. As a result, churn decreased by 50%.
Automation tip: Set up automated NPS feedback using a tool like Wootric and integrate it with your CRM. To act on this data, use automation to trigger actions and messages based on specific responses.
Anticipate their needs
“Customer experience beats price and product every time”, shared Tiffani Bova, Salesforce Customer Growth Evangelist, in 2017.
As you gather more data and notice trends in your customers' behavior, you can use automation to provide the content, answers and support a customer needs before they even ask you, or notify your team to reach out personally. This can provide a valuable customer experience boost.
Automation tip: Collect more customer insights based on behavior and data from tools like Clearbit, integrate the data with your CRM, and create workflows that trigger actions and messages based on certain criteria.
More time for your team to focus on your customers
When you reduce the admin and data entry that consume your service reps' time, you give them freedom to offer more one-to-one support and guidance to your customers.
Automation tip: Check where your service team is wasting the most time on manual work. What business processes can you automate with the tools you already have? And which apps could you add to your tech stack for more automated customer service processes?
You don't have to choose between profitability, productivity and happy customers. With an effective automation strategy, you can tick all three boxes. It's never been easier to use automation to improve customer retention, customer experience, and your service team's performance.
To benefit your customers with automation, make sure to:
- Start with simple uses of automation that maximize the SaaS tools you're already paying for.
- Continually gather customer data that allows you to automate personalized experiences using workflows and bots.
- Sync your customer data across tools so every team member is looking at the latest information and can offer the best service.