Striving to improvise the customer experience isn't just a good idea. It's good for business.
There are a few things that are true about every business. One is that every company has customers. The second is that customer satisfaction is crucial whether you are a B2C or a B2B business.
Striving to improvise the customer experience isn't just a good idea. It's good for business. However, it can be challenging to do that with the issues facing organizations today. Increased competition, the acceleration of business, disruptors, and even labor shortages plague companies, large and small.
One tool businesses have available to overcome these challenges is digital process automation. Digital process automation, or DPA, extends your workforce, makes outcomes consistent, and speeds the customer service process.
Automation is a fairly common word in business today, and references can get overwhelming because different types of automation are available.
For instance, business process automation (BPA) is about automating, end-to-end, across an entire process. Robotic process automation (RPA) is about automation and element of a user’s experience.
In contrast to BPA, DPA automated a portion of a process. DPA streamlines a process by letting machines handle repetitive tasks while retaining human empathy and ingenuity for other parts. This is the best of both worlds when it comes to customer satisfaction.
While the media discusses the "Great Resignation," it's businesses that are dealing with the shortage of staff. With some older workers retiring early and many others switching jobs, companies are having problems filling all roles, including customer service.
A stretched workforce, of course, means less time with customers. It can also result in higher frustration levels for customer service and experienced staff. It's difficult to provide exceptional customer care when faced with an unending line of calls. It's worse when having to dig for customer information to help those reaching out for assistance.
When some of the tasks in a customer service process are automated, customer success and service teams can spend more time helping. For instance, a solution like Salesforce Service Cloud will automatically add customer historical information to the service agent's portal, giving them more time with the customer and less time putting people on hold. Plus, with a single windowpane of customer information, agents spend less time surfacing client data to provide the best possible service.
Self-service isn't a nice-to-have option anymore - it's now table stakes for businesses. Seventy percent of consumers expect a company’s website to have a self-service application.
Initial troubleshooting of a problem or customer service issues like returns or checking an order requires standardized, repeatable steps. Only when a problem gets complicated is human intervention truly needed. Waiting for a technician or a customer service agent isn't productive and is frustrating.
DPA can step a customer through account lookups or troubleshooting steps and only forward them to a human agent if their issue or question requires deeper investigation or more creative problem-solving. Concerns are solved faster and can be handled at any time, day or night - even when no one at the company is available.
Automated processes have a lot to offer field services. DPA, for instance, can help triage a customer an appointment or issue before a sales team member or technician leaves the office.
The triage process can query customers for the core of the problem or what the customer is looking to buy while also gathering information about appointment preferences and so on. Using the information gathered, other automated processes can create materials lists that the employee should bring with them and even recommend the skills or knowledge the agent making the call should have. Data can be routed to the field service agent's mobile device, dispatch, and be added to the customer's file simultaneously and without concerns about who has what information. Being prepared for the service or sales call ahead of time reduces the likelihood of a return visit to finish the work or deal.
For example, imagine a return customer calls needing a repair to a home system they purchased from your company, like a furnace. If your sales team is using Salesforce, the make and model of the furnace is stored in the customer account. That information can be automatically provided to Salesforce's Service Cloud so that dispatch can choose a technician with the right experience.
When the appointment time arrives, the technician will already understand the problem and will have the right tools and parts in the truck with them. The system automatically texts the customer that the technician is on the way, including their picture, providing peace of mind and security. Once there, the service call can be done faster because the problem has already been narrowed down, thus lowering the cost to the customer. When finished, Service Cloud can send a satisfaction survey immediately to ensure the customer received what they had expected.
Several years ago, Gartner’s Customer Experience Survey found that those problems which led to higher customer satisfaction ratings typically involved more than one department to solve. Process and information silos slow the customer experience. Servicing customers better means lowering the barrier to information sharing.
DPA creates a pathway for this kind of collaboration. It breaks down silos by crossing departmental boundaries and ensures that artifacts, like documents, aren’t lost between groups.
Even our previous example illustrates this. Not only does triage help facilitate a better customer experience, but process automation sends information across departmental lines, from sales (what kind of furnace was purchased) to dispatch (what experience and equipment are needed for the repair) to service technicians (what can they expect from the call), and even back to dispatch (updating the client on who the technician is and when they will arrive). Service Cloud automates much of this with triggers in the system so that, for instance, dispatch teams don't need to send an arrival alert manually - instead, when the technician closes out one ticket, it can trigger notifications for the next.
Customer satisfaction is the lifeblood of a business. In this high communication day and age, unhappy customers don't just leave a company; they also make sure that others know their experiences. Streamlining customer care, offering deep self-service options, and ensuring that everyone dealing with customers is well informed and prepared will separate your business from your competitors.
If you’re looking for ways to integrate automation into your customer touchpoints, Six Consulting can help. We’ve helped healthcare providers, manufacturers, and businesses in many other industries up their customer satisfaction ratings with digital solutions, like DPA. Contact us.
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