When customers think about machine learning, big data, and personalization of shopping experiences, they often draw back. A few examples of businesses who have gone too far in data collection – the classic example of Target knowing customers were pregnant before they did, or the more current concerns about data scraped from Facebook quizzes – have put many customers off the entire idea of interactions that are anything other than human to human.
But for companies, IT automation has the potential to dramatically improve the ways that a business can meet customer needs. These are just a few of the ways that automation has the potential to dramatically change the way a business interacts with its customers for the better.
Automation is changing the word and human touch is still an essential ingredient in automated software testing. Businesses are sometimes afraid of automation, fearing that their business will suffer because customers aren’t speaking to a “real live person.” But customers want quick, easy service even more than they want to speak to a person, especially for something simple.
Chatbots get a very bad and very unfair reputation. Poorly designed chatbots are as annoying to deal with as a bad voice command system at a call center, but high quality chatbots can solve a huge number of problems without making a customer deal with an agent directly. In the field of IT, for example, a huge number of the problems brought to the IT desk are simple to resolve.
Password resets, update notifications, and similar issues can be easily managed by a well-designed chatbot. Bots can answer simple queries and direct those which really need an answer to an agent who can assist. This saves time on both ends.
Monitoring and Response to Online Reviews
Online reviews present great opportunities to businesses, whether they are positive or negative. Managing an online profile, however, can be time consuming. It can also make someone prone to wandering off into other areas of social media, ruining productivity.
Using automation to monitor reviews generated on various platforms can leave companies with several options. With a positive review, they can thank the reviewer for their time and possibly offer some sort of loyalty bonus – a free item next time they’re in or order, for example.
With negative or neutral reviews, automation can allow the company to start the process of fixing the issue that led to the review. A generated response might ask the customer to contact a manager or customer service team for a resolution to their problem, for example.
When customers reach out to a business for support on a purchase, for example, they want to receive rapid service. It can often feel frustrating to send off a contact form or service request into the ether and have no idea if it is received.
One way to mitigate that concern is automated response to service requests. A simple message stating that the request has been received and the anticipate time for an agent to reply can do a lot to assuage customer worry. This can also take some of the weight off your service team, who can respond to requests instead of “did you get my request” questions.
Interactive Knowledge Base
More than ever before, customers expect to do a lot of their research before they talk to an agent in the company. In many ways, customers often walk themselves down the sales funnel. One important step in that chain is an interactive Knowledge Base.
This sort of interactive information access can help customers find the information they need when they need it, allowing them to overcome hurtles to their engagement before they become problems – and lead them to click away from your site or walk away from your product.
A great interactive knowledge base will suggest articles based on reading history and query ideas.
One of the great benefits of machine learning and big data in the moment is the ability to recommend products to a customer based on what they’re looking at right now. These can be add on purchases, upsells, and more. Customers sometimes think that they want to just get what they’re looking for and leave, but more often than not, customers like to see personalized recommendations.
The key is to make them just that: personal. This requires the kind of automation that can look through a customer’s history on the site and determine the best products to recommend to them based on their interests. When done properly, this can greatly increase the amount of money the customer ultimately spends.
By incorporating automation techniques that also connect customers to live representatives when appropriate, businesses get the best of both worlds.