As digital transformation takes place worldwide, staying up-to-date on the latest technologies is essential for your business to thrive in a crowded market. If your company doesn’t already have a digital strategy in place, now’s the time to consider automation’s potential impact on customer relations and to form a vision for tech tool integration.
Before jumping in, evaluate which tools best align with your company’s digital vision and how the software could improve customer care. “One size fits all” doesn’t necessarily apply to the plethora of available options. What works great for one business might not be best for another company’s size or structural makeup.
Increasingly popular chatbots can be found across the web, available to respond to customers’ inquiries 24/7. Out of 800 sales and marketing managers surveyed by Oracle, 80 percent said they are already using or plan to use chatbots by 2020. Through natural language processing, chatbot software analyzes questions posed by customers and responds in a human-like manner according to pre-programmed data.
Chatbots are best applied for answering easily predictable, repetitive questions. Accenture Interactive’s study of chatbots under good design and implementation revealed more than 80 percent of customer’s queries were resolved by chatbots without human supervision. Since response time is critical for customer satisfaction, chatbots are an excellent solution for supplying an immediate response to every inquiry regardless of the time of day. Even if the bot only collects initial information to pass onto a live agent, customers can appreciate that they have been acknowledged.
Customer Relationship Management
A Customer Relations Management (CRM) system enables businesses to manage each customer’s data and track their relationship from start to finish, providing valuable insight to improve service and bring new customers on board. Rather than fishing through emails to find past correspondence, all history and contact information is stored in detail on a centralized system and is easily accessible through an intuitive dashboard. When inquiries or issues arise, they are routed through the CRM system and promptly resolved instead of lost in voicemail or email inboxes.
CRM systems are integrable with other software applications for signing documents, managing customer billing, and more. Through CRM’s social media activity tracking, businesses discover customers’ preferences and gain a better understanding of why new customers are drawn in, enabling a clearer strategy for attracting more clientele. According to a Salesforce survey, CRM systems can improve customer satisfaction by 35%. Customers receiving consistently excellent service are more likely to stick around and spread the word.
Business Process Automation
Similar to the way CRM systems efficiently manage customer data and communication, Business Process Automation (BPA) systems efficiently manage internal operations and communication. Finance and Human Resources departments are replete with mundane, repetitive processes such as expense requests/approvals and employee onboarding. With BPA, data is collected from employees in customizable forms before being sent on a pre-charted course within a centralized system, avoiding manual data entry errors and miscommunication while raising request and approval rates. Reports and analytics provide additional insight into areas needing improvement.
Some BPA providers offer services on the cloud at low monthly fees through a no-code platform, requiring minimal IT know-how. Workflows can also be integrated with accounting software, CRM systems, spreadsheets, and other programs for seamless data transfers. When employees spend less time performing data entry, more time is available for product innovation and strengthening consumer service. According to Forrester, 73% of online adults say valuing their time is the most important thing a company can do when providing online services. By building online self-service forms that trigger automated workflows, businesses can accelerate response times for dealing with customer/client concerns and requests.
Robotic Process Automation
Taking BPA one step further, Robotic Process Automation can manipulate data on a pre-defined track under a given set of parameters to process the data entirely by itself, improving the speed of processes and reducing risk and costs of human effort. RPA programs can open emails, analyze data, move through a series of checks, transfer data, and recognize if any information is missing—all automatically. Applications can be found in Finance, IT, HR, Customer Care, and Operations departments. Examples of optimal processes for RPA are payment processing, invoice management, reporting, account management, and reconciliation. When manual copy-and-paste errors are eliminated, and employees are freed of tedious data management, productivity soars. Workers are relieved to use creativity to solve problems or find new business opportunities.
When data is not dependent upon manual check marks during business hours, customer services such as bank withdrawal approvals, credit account creations, and insurance claim payments can be completed in a manner of minutes rather than days—ensuring happier customers who are more likely to return to such prompt service. A top Japanese executive commented in a 2018 Deloitte survey, “Robotics is not about cost reduction. It’s about maintaining the business.”
The time, effort, and planning involved in rolling out and implementing a digital strategy will pay off in the long run. Forrester states in their 2018 Predictions, “20% of CEOs will fail to act on digital transformation and put their firms at risk.” Keeping up with the latest trends can be challenging, but remember the benefits: improved internal operations, increased customer service quality, and new marketing opportunities for a successful future.