The Customer Is The Channel

The customer-centric blog of Linc Global

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The Future is Automation- How to Deploy Customer Care Automation as a Complement to Existing Post-Purchase Solutions

The rules of customer engagement have changed.  There is greater expectation on timeliness of resolution, personalization of service, convenience of channels, availability and willingness of a brand to engage in a real-time 2-way conversation. Notifications, no-reply email addresses and delayed email support don’t meet customer expectations of a brand’s readiness to help them if they have a question or want more information. Beyond information, many consumers want to be a part of their favorite brands, and feel heard, beyond sharing a comment on social media.  In this post we discuss how brands need to automate their customer care solutions in order to keep up with the ever-changing customer expectations.

Due to the flexibility of the customer care automation platform, solutions can be developed to work with existing post-purchase optimization, or can replace them. 25 Other services can be delivered regardless of how post-purchase service is handled. Focus on the most impactful programs and services your brand offers today, and start there. Additional capabilities can be added in future, according to reports on what customers are looking for, and the priorities of the business.

 

Why deploy customer care automationOther services can be delivered regardless of how post-purchase service is handled. Focus on the most impactful programs and services your brand offers today, and start there. Additional capabilities can be added in future, according to reports on what customers are looking for, and the priorities of the business. Deploying a Customer Care Automation solution is a straightforward process. The technology platform removes much of the risk inherent in developing chatbot and voice solutions from components and cloud services, and streamlines the important aspect of data integration. Without the right data and real-time access to that data, any automated solution will struggle to resolve customer inquiries with a high success rate. The process to launch is fast, and does not rely on a heavy IT project or major internal project. The steps to deploying the solution are as follows:

Customer Care automation success

While automation might seem daunting to many brands, many cutting-edge retailers are diving in and seeing higher brand engagement, loyalty and retention.  If you still have doubts on whether this is the right business decision, check-out quotes from leading brands for why they felt this was the time to move forward.

Why leading retail executives are choosing customer care automation

Techstyle Fashion Group QuoteLamps Plus Quote

Pura Vida Quote

You can learn more about automated customer engagement by exploring Linc’s platform and solutions pages. Or take a look at how leading brands like Lamps Plus, JustFab.com and others are using automated customer engagement in their businesses today, in our resources page.

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Turning Touchpoints into a Journey

Every interaction with your customer is important, and maximizing the effectiveness of touchpoints has been a valid business concern for some time. Research from McKinsey, however, highlights the blind spot in this kind of thinking -- true leading brands have moved from a touchpoints-focus to a focus on the holistic customer journey.

Designing a Customer Experience Strategy for Conversational Commerce

When you master conversational commerce, you’ll deliver experiences that make your customers feel as if you hired a personal assistant to help each of them.  There are several key strategies, smart brands need to think about as they go about creating their conversational commerce strategy. Don’t Forget The Data If conversational commerce is the new paradigm of customer experience, data is the engine that drives all those delightful interactions across touchpoints. Your customers are creating data every time they click, swipe, and like --it’s up to you to find it, analyze it and use it to inform customer engagement. Nordstrom, for example, uses sensors and Wi-Fi to track who comes to the store, wherein the store they shop, and how long they stay. They also incentivize their Nordstrom’s credit card and rewards program to gather data about their clients. Target is also known for its data-collecting. The mega-retailer assigns every customer a Guest ID number, which is linked to their credit card, name, or email address. This Guest ID number becomes a repository of info on a shopper’s past Target purchases and any demographic information the company has collected about them and/or bought from a third-party source. Target’s data is so accurate and fine-grained that they were even able to determine a teenage shopper was pregnant (and send her the appropriate mailer filled with baby items) long before her father ever knew. Collecting relevant data, analyzing it and using your learnings to inform which conversational channels make sense for your brand and what types of experiences your particular customers seek to have on them is the foundation of your conversational commerce efforts. Focus On The Highest-Value Activities Put your energy toward meaningful services that customers already care about. Look at service-oriented features, such as notification capability and on-demand service and support capabilities, to guide the customer journey. Don’t just focus on the “Checkout.” The main benefit of service-oriented conversational channel offerings is the ability to organically drive usage into new channels. For example, a customer might place an order on your website and learn that she can subscribe to order status updates through Facebook Messenger. What she sees as taking advantage of a perk will benefit you by encouraging her toward a channel where your chatbot can take over. ChatBots are best for organic conversations with common use cases, but also provide a sense of personalization and convenience for the shopper. Customer service should be your core use for this technology to start. Be Prepared For Bot-to-Human Handoffs The great thing about a conversation handled over text or Messenger is that the customer doesn’t have to know when they might be switching from a bot to a human. Bot design in the future will focus on what they can do, knowing what they can’t do, and designing a bridge to employee assistance that feels seamless to the customer. It’s not just the customer that will be helped by the bot, but the employee. It will provide faster information and better analytics in real time, perhaps then parsing information to pass on to the consumer. The most important aspect of innovation is convenience for the shopper. They should never have to explain their request twice. Start Simple and Grow to Brand Management You can start with bots as a single voice in the chorus of messages from your brand. The long term will have bots as representatives of your entire brand, managing relationships with your customers. You can start conversational commerce, however, with just a single entry point. You can get your customers used to interacting with you on the same channels they use to chat with their friends. You can piggyback on the culture of quick and informal communication, but be ready to meet their expectations for highly personal and meaningful results. If your bot can’t meet that expectation, your customer could walk away disappointed or annoyed. As the technology improves, and it is, even as we write this, you’ll be able to put more and more of your brand management in the hands of the bots. Authentication Giving your bot a way to confirm the customer’s identity is key to a truly intelligent communication that can leverage data from across your other channels. If this isn’t done right, your bot will see each customer as a stranger, negating the opportunity to provide personalized service. Focus On Concepts Rather Than Solutions Your customers might be on Kik today but head over to Facebook Messenger tomorrow. Focusing on the concepts of conversational commerce rather than today’s hottest medium will help you keep your sanity and provide an agile approach that can be applied to meet your customers wherever they migrate. Try not to get bogged down with the details of how to build for one particular channel, and look instead to use-cases. You can learn more about conversational commerce and engaging your customers at every touchpoint by exploring Linc’s platform and solutions pages. Or take a look at how leading brands like Lamps Plus, JustFab.com and others are using automated conversational commerce strategies in their businesses today, in our resources page.