Automation Anonymous: A Support Group for Balancing Human and Machine in CS!
Whether we like it or not, automation plays a significant role in every business. The situation is no different when it comes to the areas of CS and CX. Automation has been a game-changer in Customer Success, streamlining repetitive tasks and allowing teams to focus on meaningful engagements with valued customers.
But as in a symphony, where the harmony of different instruments creates a beautiful melody, finding the right balance between automation and the human touch in customer interactions is critical to creating a delightful customer experience. In today’s article, we’ll explore where automatisation can make the most significant impact, what are benefits of implementing it and where to start.
Automating Customer Success
"67% of organizations have accelerated their deployment of AI and automation during Covid-19"
Automation has found its place in several areas of customer success, transforming how companies engage with their customers. Let's look at some key areas that can benefit most from driving automation.
Customer Onboarding: Automating the initial onboarding process can significantly reduce the time and effort required to get customers up and running. Automated welcome emails, interactive tutorials, and guided walkthroughs can help customers familiarise themselves with the product at their own pace.
Data Collection and Analysis: Gathering and analysing customer data to identify patterns and trends is essential in providing personalised experiences. Automation can not only enchant your data-collecting abilities but can orchestrate collection from various sources and streamline it into a single tool that gives you deeper insights into your user’s behaviour and preferences.
Proactive Customer Support: The use of chatbots and self-service portals is one of the fundamentals of automatisation. Those can empower customers to find solutions to common issues on their own. Additionally, automated alerts can notify your CS teams of potential problems, allowing them to address concerns before they escalate.
Renewal and Upsell Notifications: The role of any successful CS team shouldn’t be to maintain only to keep the current portfolio but actively investigate ways how to expand it. Automating renewal and upsell notifications ensures that customers receive timely reminders about their subscriptions or available upgrades, helping businesses increase customer retention and revenue.
The bright and dark sides of going automated
" More than 70% of executives and managers stated that when they're choosing between two candidates, they’ll pick the one with experience in automation and AI — even if the job description for the role doesn’t list those skills as a necessity."
You can probably think of many benefits of automating your CS and CX processes. Even in this article alone, I provided some examples of how you can enhance your business. Looking more holistically at broader client-company interaction, three areas would enormously benefit from embracing automation:
24/7 Availability: With automation handling routine tasks, customers can access support and information round-the-clock, providing them with greater flexibility and convenience.
Consistency: Automated processes ensure that every customer receives the same level of service and attention, reducing the risk of human errors and inconsistencies.
Faster Response Times: Automated systems can respond to customer queries instantly, reducing wait times and improving overall customer satisfaction.
While clearly automation can push you over the top in certain areas and give that extra spark to delight both businesses and customers, over-reliance on it can lead to some downsides in customer interactions:
Lack of Personalization: Customers value personalised interactions, and excessive automation may lead to a robotic and detached experience, making them feel like just another number in the system.
Complex Issues Require Human Touch: Some customer issues are complex and require a human touch to empathise, understand, and resolve effectively. Over-automation might lead to frustration when customers cannot reach a real person to address their concerns.
Loss of Emotional Connection: Human interactions build emotional connections, fostering customer loyalty. An overly automated approach can disconnect customers from the brand, leading to decreased engagement and loyalty.
Speaking of the dark side and automation, I need to mention AI bias.
" Machine learning bias, also sometimes called algorithm bias or AI bias, is a phenomenon that occurs when an algorithm produces results that are systemically prejudiced due to erroneous assumptions in the machine learning process."
Four key areas that can be impacted by it are:
Lack of Transparency
If you want to learn more about how AI bias can impact your CS and CX and how to prevent it read our recent article.
Tips for Balancing Automation and Human Touch
"It’s essential to strike the right balance between digital automation and the human touch to maximise customer loyalty over time."
As you can see, Finding the right balance between automation and the human touch is the key to creating exceptional customer experiences. While I don’t have a one-size-fits-them-all solution, and CS leaders should play a pivotal role in setting the path onward, there are some tips and trick you can consider along the way.
Segmentation is Key: To identify tasks that can be automated without compromising the customer experience, it is essential to distinguish between routine and repetitive tasks (which are excellent candidates for automation) and complex and emotional interactions (which should be handled by humans).
Personalisation in Automation: To make automated communications feel less generic and more human, consider incorporating personalisation elements such as the customer's name, past interactions, or product preferences.
Empower Customers: Provide self-service options while giving customers a clear pathway to reach a human agent when necessary. Empowering customers to solve their problems should enhance their overall experience.
Train and Empower Your Team: Even the best technology won’t do much without people knowing how to use it effectively. This new reality may be challenging at the beginning for your users, but for sure will be for your CS team. Empower them to experiment, learn new ways, and find better use cases for automation. Invest in continuous training for your team to equip them with the knowledge and authority to resolve potential issues efficiently and explore new areas.
"By 2022, 72% of interactions will involve an emerging technology such as machine learning, chatbots or mobile messaging - up from 11% in 2017."
Imagine your CS and CX interaction as a grand ballroom where your team and your customers come to interact with one another. On your centre stage, the dance of automation and human touch elegantly unfolds. By delicately balancing the two, businesses can create an unforgettable experience that leaves customers twirling with delight. Automation streamlines operations, leading to greater efficiency, while the human touch fosters genuine connections and loyalty.
Without a doubt, users will be mesmerised by the beauty of the unparalleled glide of automation's prowess, and if you add the allure of the human touch, the efficiency of your CS team could only be matched by the satisfaction of your customers.
Your dance partners, automation and human touch, will lead your company to achieve customer success like never before, leaving a lasting memory of delight and satisfaction in the hearts of your customers.
So, shall you dance?
Here are some additional resources for those who want to dive deeper into the topic:
Video: ”The Future of Customer Experience: Balancing Automation and Human Touch” by McKinsey & Company is a video that discusses how companies can balance automation and human touch in customer experience.
Book: ”The Effortless Experience: Conquering the New Battleground for Customer Loyalty” by Matthew Dixon, Nick Toman, and Rick DeLisi is a book that provides insights on how to create an effortless and memorable customer experience.
Article: ”The Road To Maturity: Why It’s Finally Time For AI In CX To Grow Up” by James Freeze on Forbes Communications Council is an article that discusses why it’s time for AI in customer experience to grow up.
Online Training: ”Automation Is Key to Delivering Consistent Customer Experiences” by CMSWire is an online training that provides insights on how automation can help deliver consistent customer experiences.