Transform your customer service with an automation first strategy
Marketing automation is a software that allows organisations to optimise their marketing staff, efficiency and customer relationships. For small businesses, it is a game-changer.
With the rise of e-commerce, digital banking, and other online services, AI has become a standard part of many customer service strategies and the need for continuous improvements in customer experience will be a key priority for many business owners. However, just because AI is being used it doesn’t automatically mean that customers are satisfied or that businesses will see quantifiable results.
A massive 80% of companies believe they deliver a superior customer service experience but only 8% of customers agree (Hyken, 2018; Forbes), showing an enormous disconnect. The expectations of customers is likely to continue to force companies to review and fundamentally change how they engage, manage, and deliver support.
A good customer relationship management (CRM) software will have a marketing automation feature included with it. CRM is often the linchpin of a sales and marketing team. It’s where all the information goes regarding all customers and leads. That, in conjunction with a marketing automation feature, is a very effective sales tool.
There are many reasons some organisations don’t fully embrace marketing automation nor understand the potential behind it when coupled with their CRM. For instance, some don’t realise how to automate their marketing processes and so continue doing some of them manually. Others fail to provide the appropriate training so, even though they have attempted to automate their processes, they don’t know how to use them effectively.
Customer Expectations Have Changed
Almost two-thirds of customers will not wait more than two minutes for support, and 63% of customers will leave a company after one bad experience.
Customers expect to be serviced on their terms, tailor-fitted to their specific needs and timeframes. It’s not acceptable to have one point of contact for customer support; customers now expect multichannel service, and businesses must be able to meet their customers’ expectations through their website, mobile apps, social media, email, live chat and SMS, all of which recognise the user, and their history and habits with a company.
Multichannel customer service emphasises not just where the customer can access support, but when. Customers want to know they have access to 24/7 customer service, and not restricted to standard business hours. Companies must allow customers to bypass rigid call centre hours as the only means for support, and allow them access to assistance on their terms if they want to retain loyalty and create advocates.
Armed with an automation-first strategy, companies can support customers on their terms through the channel of their choosing.
Customers Want More From a Self-Service Solution
While the usage of chatbots in customer service is expanding, do not be fooled. The days of the knowledge base, FAQ-chatbot are long behind us. Generic responses, despite their ease-of-access won’t make the cut in satisfying customer needs and maintaining retention. Seventy-two percent of customers want service channels to know their detailed history with the company when they begin their support query (Microsoft, 2017).
Using an AI-powered chatbot, companies can offer personalised experiences to their users when they seek support. Automated on the front end, customers can seamlessly be transferred to a live agent to handle more complex matters that require human assistance. Used appropriately, an automation-first strategy is akin to customers heading to their favourite restaurant, where the server knows their name and what they like to order. Like all the best experiences these days, personalisation is an invaluable asset to customer experience management.
5 tips to take marketing automation to a new level
- Automate repetitive tasks
By automating repetitive marketing tasks businesses can realise huge increases in productivity. Automatic contact segmentation, marketing workflows, autoresponders, newsletters, social media marketing are all able to be automated.
Automating these tasks saves considerable time and frustration and has consistently positive results for both marketing and sales teams and their customers.
- Insightful reports
Salesforce’s effective report generation allows you to track your engagements and plan your sales pipeline and therefore, makes a huge difference in determining the progress of your marketing and sales teams.
The customised reports give you insight into lead conversions and sales activity by department, team member or product, allowing you to flag issues and determine strengths.
You can also generate reports for each of your marketing campaigns to see which of your contacts are in what campaign and all the ways you intend to reach out to them and how they have interacted with those touch points.
- Customised email drip campaigns
Salesforce’s email drip campaigns will help you target those prospects most likely to respond and have a plan for when they do.
The system also gives you the ability to create your whole drip campaign from email creation through lead scoring and qualification to send automated email sequences to prospects in your campaign. It will also tell you who is opening the emails and what actions they are taking when they do. You’ll never have to wonder if a potential customer is interacting with your messaging again!
Tagging your contacts within your CRM system allows you to group them any way you choose in order to market to them effectively. You could categorise your contacts by location, job title, interests, social media channels, age, gender, etc in order to suit your business type.
In doing this, you’ll be able to personalise your marketing when you tag your contacts, categorising them in ways that will be useful to your organisation and your customers specific needs.
- Effectively nurturing leads
Imagine being able to effectively nurture leads, without even having to put too much thought into it. Marketing automation allows you to do just that, continue working with leads to keep them warm and ultimately convert prospects into customers.
Taking the time that you need to in order to nurture your leads will greatly increase your chance of a sale. Automating your lead nurturing will allow even the smallest sales team to nurture many different leads at once, consistently every time.
An Automation-First Strategy Will Have Measurable Impact on Your Organisation
Deploying an automation-first strategy in customer service will not only revolutionise the experience for your customers, but for your business too.
Integrating your marketing automation into your CRM system will allow you to streamline many sales processes and increase the productivity of your entire team as well as raising the consistency and transparency of your processes. For instance, instead of exporting contacts from your CRM to your marketing automation software in order to create campaigns and send email sequences, you’ll be able to do so directly from the same tool.
An automation-first approach ensures that your customer service agents will be equipped for enhanced customer engagement. Thanks to AI, customer service reps will have quicker access to more precise and up-to-date customer information. Additionally, AI will automate repetitive tasks, leaving agents to focus on the most pressing, mission-critical work, thus providing a better return on investment.
Not only does an automation-first strategy reduce costs, but it also drives revenue for small businesses. An integrated CRM system supports discussions with customers to offer opportunities for upselling, or long-term customer retention. In addition to streamlining the selling process, AI allows agents to suggest the right promotions to the right customers at the right time, and use analytics to customise the upsell opportunity based on the customer’s unique history and interests with the company.
75% of executives believe AI will make a substantial impact on their business in the next few years (Davenport, 2018; HBR). Empowered with an AI-approach, businesses can take customer service reps out of the boredom of repetitive tasks and into the excitement and engagement of a truly value-added role.