There comes a time in every industry’s life cycle when it can no longer avoid grappling with the influence and impact of technology on the core of its operations.
While digital-first marketing has become the standard for most brands (there will always be few catalog holdouts!), automation-first CX is not yet as well ingrained. Brands may dabble with on-site webchat or post-purchase order tracking, but stop short of committing to fully embracing automation as the foundation of their customer engagement, which means that they’re missing out on the myriad competitive benefits that come from building a forward-thinking automation-first strategy instead of settling for a sub-optimal piecemeal approach.
Here’s why automation-first is the smarter choice:
When it comes to CX automation, we’re talking about scale on two dimensions–the volume of customer interactions that automation supports and the breadth of channels that it spans. In the first case, automation offers a clear advantage over human agents and manual processes. After all, there are only so many calls, chats or emails a single customer care agent can handle in a given shift, no matter how efficient they are. As well, there is a hard ceiling to how much a retailer can grow its human customer care workforce before the associated overhead costs become untenable. For most retailers, CX automation offers the ability to provide streamlined, customized experiences at a scale that human agents can’t match.
Assuming you work with a forward-thinking, innovative solution provider, CX automation can also allow you to rapidly scale to new channels in tandem with ever-changing customer behavior, adding new functionalities and skills as needed, without the need to expand your CX tech stack with yet another narrow, single-channel solution.
Alignment with customer expectations
Customer expectations around CX have been growing year over year and they show no signs of slowing down. Customers expect responses to their inquiries in real time on the channel of their choice. They expect end-to-end order tracking and a fully automated return process. They expect brands to be responsive, intuitive, personalized and unobtrusive in their communications. CX automation, with its always-on ability to leverage customer data and past behavior to create seamless cross-channel interactions delivers on these expectations.
Increased customer satisfaction (CSAT)
Customers, both happy and unhappy, talk. Research conducted by HubSpot last year indicates that 89% of customer care professionals believe that customers are more likely than ever before to share their positive and negative experiences with a brand. In a climate like this, where millions of potential customers can be influenced by a single tweet or post, it becomes more crucial than ever to ensure that a customer leaves each interaction with your brand satisfied. There’s no room for customer support emails that languish in a queue, precious minutes spent on hold, tracking numbers that don’t work and clunky multi-step return processes that leave shoppers regretting ever ordering in the first place. An integrated automation-first CX strategy allows you to meet the growing expectations of customers seamlessly and in real-time, creating personalized, customer-led experiences that result in much greater satisfaction.
Lower costs and higher revenue
Customer care costs are top-of-mind for retailers, with over half of retailers reporting they’ve experienced an uptick in spending in this area in recent years. Controlling these costs is a constant battle, with every brand looking for ways to gain even the smallest of edges. An automation-first CX strategy provides the opportunity to do just that, while also boosting bottom-line revenue. A robust cross-channel CX automation platform can handle up to 70% of routine customer inquiries, meaning that you deploy your limited customer care agents more effectively to handle only the most complicated cases. An integrated cross-functional approach to automation also promotes process streamlining and cuts down on costly redundancy among operating units.
The best case scenario for your brand, of course, is combining reduced costs with increased revenue, which automation is also able to provide. And better CX gets you there–almost 90% of customers are willing to pay a premium for outstanding CX.
By improving CX across channels, you also improve customer retention, driving additional customer lifetime value. Smart automation also allows you to leverage customers’ buying histories to identify valuable opportunities to cross-sell and upsell with personalized product recommendations, which also increases shoppers’ desire to spend, and to convert returns into exchanges with suggestions of comparable products or variations on the original purchase (another size or color) that may fit the shopper’s needs.
If you are interested in learning more about CX Automation and specifically, how you can quickly implement an easy to use conversational AI experience as part of your CX strategy, tailored to your brand, please visit our website to learn more.
You can download our Complete Guide to Building a CX Automation Strategy or Book a Demo