Customer satisfaction is one of the top priorities of any business, but when it comes to automation, many are at a loss of how exactly to connect the two. No one wants to talk to a robot when they call in, do they?
Turns out, that assumption is somewhat false, depending on the reason for the call. In addition, many customers prefer to try to solve their problem through an online chat before they ever make a phone call, and many of those chat conversations can be automated to answer easy questions. If they are more complex, the customer can be then transferred to a human.
However, business process automation can affect customer satisfaction in other ways besides customer service. Here are four simple ways that automation can improve customer satisfaction.
Product or Service Quality
Here is a simple truth: the first place that you hook a customer is with your initial product or service. That product is influenced by the consistency and accuracy of your processes, two of the biggest areas where automation influences business processes.
For example, let’s say you have a Software as a Service (SaaS) business that provides personality and aptitude testing for prospective employees. The more consistent the test results and the more accurate they are, the more useful your product is to your customers. This consistency is achieved through automated administration and scoring, taking subjectivity caused by human interaction out of the equation.
Your product, the testing, is better due to the automation of your process, so your customers are satisfied. This is just a single example. In everything from restaurant prep to manufacturing, automation makes a huge difference to your customer even if they never see those processes.
Response time, too, is a double-edged sword. This talks about customer service and order fulfillment at the same time. For example, the average response time for a customer service request is 15 hours and 17 minutes. Even on social media, the average response time hovers around 10 hours.
The problem is that the average consumer expects a response time of less than one hour on social media. For every hour that passes, the likelihood they will leave a negative review of your customer service goes up. If they are making a product inquiry, by the time the average business responds to them, the customer has moved on and made a purchase elsewhere.
Order response time is also critical. Most customers expect an email confirmation of an order almost immediately. They expect shipping to happen within a few hours unless they ordered something personalized or otherwise customized. A slow confirmation or shipping response makes it less likely that customer will buy from you again.
Response time is vital to a good customer satisfaction score which is important to your bottom line. Automation can improve this by allowing chatbots to control those messages and field the simplest and most common questions, and promise the interaction of a real person if the issue is more complex. Once the customer feels heard, they are more likely to be patient and wait for the next step in the process.
This primarily refers to resolution time when a customer has a complaint. The timer starts when the customer first lodges the complaint until the time they feel it is resolved. Over a third of customers feel that resolution time is the biggest part of customer service.
This means that solutions need to be both fast and easy. Customers like to feel like they are in control of a situation, and they don’t have much patience. Make them wait an hour, and they are twice as likely to be dissatisfied. Increase that to six hours, and the likelihood triples.
How does automation make a difference? Besides just initial contact that reduces response time, automation can address things like first contact resolution (FCR) issues. This means both response times and resolve times can be very fast.
However, even for more complex issues, automation can help. The chatbot can gather information from the customer before a human interaction, decreasing the time they spend on chat or on the phone and decreasing the time it takes to achieve a resolution.
If by implementing automation, you see a 25% increase in FCR numbers, that is a potential increase of 25% in customer satisfaction rates. That alone makes the investment worth it.
Did we mention that customers want to be in control? They do, and knowing when a package will arrive, or the status of a coming product is important to them. Trying to track something and simply getting an “out for delivery” response can be frustrating.
Automated workflows make it possible for you to let them know a package will be late before they have to call or look at a tracking number on the internet. This lets them know you are on top of things and you care about their time and things that are important to them, all without a single need for human effort.
Customers are more likely to be loyal to brands that interact with them on social media and elsewhere, so be sure you know your audience and allow your customers to opt into the kind of contact they prefer.
This is not to say automation should replace human contact. In fact, the key is to have an efficient process anyway. As Bill Gates said, “Automation makes an efficient system more efficient, and an inefficient system more inefficient.”
Unsure what processes you should automate, or how to do so? Contact us here at SixtySixTen today for a free consultation. We offer customized Business Process Automation solutions for nearly any business, and we can help you work more efficiently too.