Business process automation provides companies with excellent opportunities. First of all, they help to improve customer experience which happens to be one of the biggest recent business challenges. According to the report of McKinsey, 30% of tasks in the majority of occupations can be automated with the existing technology — and customer service is not an exception. So, how to effectively improve customer experience with business process automation?
What is business process automation?
Business Process Automation (BPA) means nothing but using modern technologies to automate repeatable business-related tasks. Such a digital transformation based on replacing human work with intelligent tools and machines provides companies with multiple benefits. To name just a few of them, automation helps to:
- Save time and money. 57% of IT leaders claim that technology helps them to save between 10 and 50% on costs of completing former manual processes. 73% of them claim the same regarding the time.
- Eliminate human errors in the workflow. More than 50% of all organizations agree on this fact.
- Reduce tedious manual work. This leads to an increase in efficiency and satisfaction of employees.
Customer service as a business process
Customer service, as any other business process, can also be supported with modern technical solutions. However, what’s special about this one is that it affects not only the quality of internal work. Customer service is first of all about the clients’ satisfaction, so considering their perspective is simply crucial to succeed.
There are at least a few touching points between the company and its customers, for example:
- phone calls
- social media
- customer surveys
- handling complaints and returns.
All the elements above create Customer Experience (CX) which means the overall satisfaction that the client gains from interactions with the company at all stages of their customer journey. Providing consumers with a great CX results in:
- increased customer retention
- higher brand loyalty
- better brand reputability
- increased competitive advantage
- improved word-of-mouth marketing (by receiving a bigger number of recommendations and positive reviews).
- 57% of customers will not recommend a business with a website which is not mobile-friendly, and 50% will even stop visiting it, even though they liked the offer
- 72% of customers are eager to share a positive experience with at least 6 people, while 13% of unhappy clients will share it with 15 and more.
- ⅓ of customers tend to leave the brand they formerly liked after just one negative interaction, while 92% of them decide to abandon a company for good after two or three bad experiences.
Thus, there’s no surprise that delivering a great customer experience becomes a business priority nowadays. To put it simply, the better is the CX, the bigger chance that the customer will repeat their purchase and stay loyal to the provider.
Customer experience vs business process automation
How to improve customer experience with business process automation? What kind of processes can be automated? To name just a few of them, digital transformation can be applied to:
- receiving orders and reservations
- claims, complaints and returns,
- updating customer database
- lead generation and verification
- sales and marketing processes
- updating offers and product portfolio
- answering customer inquiries
- social media posting.
Although 61% of marketers fear the lack of personal connection after implementing automation, in fact BPA delivers excellent results. Customer appreciates that their inquires are handled much faster, that they receive immediate response to their questions and that interaction with the company is smooth and intuitive. This makes them more eager to contact the company in the future and repeat the purchase.
Automation is particularly important in the omnichannel model in which inquires come from various tools, platforms and sources. According to Adobe, companies with a strong omnichannel customer engagement strategy reach a 10% annual growth, a 10% increase in average order value. Thus, using automation in omnichannel is one of the best strategies for improving CX and achieving satisfying business results.
Moreover, digital transformation in customer service influence also internal processes. Instead of completing tedious manual work, employees can focus on more strategic tasks and reach excellence in direct customer service when it’s essential. If you’re still not convinced, 37% of customer service departments see higher ROI from automation than any other department. This obviously means that customer service automation is definitely a thing to consider.
How to automate customer service?
What kind of technologies can be used in customer service automation? A few of the most effective are:
- Chatbots and voicebots. Their major advantage is that they work 24/7 without human support, which significantly reduces the reply time. According to Salesforce, 38% of customer service departments have already started to use chatbots in customer interactions.
- Artificial Intelligence (AI). It is already used by 25% of companies.
- Marketing automation software. Already used by 75% of organizations, it significantly improves lead qualification and helps to provide more accurate customer service. 83% of marketing departments automate social media posting and 75% of them also e-mail marketing.
- Big data. Nearly 95% of businesses need to manage unstructured data. For them using modern data collecting and analyzing tools might be game-changing.
The future of business process automation in customer service
Is business process automation really a must have, or rather a nice to have? According to the latest data showing that, for instance:
- 43% of high-performing companies already have clearly defined AI strategy, and 53% of all companies are planning to implement it soon
- 36% of organizations are already using BPA software, and 48% of them are currently working on installing such solutions
We may expect that customer service automation will be crucial to maintain a competitive advantage, as consumers will get used to fast and instant assistance sooner than we suppose.
However, there are a few challenges that make companies reluctant to implement business process automation. According to the Salesforce research, those are:
- defining and mapping processes — for 54% of companies
- data integration — for 39%
- implementation costs — for 37%
- employee training — for 29%
- cybersecurity — for 62%.