Customer Engagement needs automation. Here’s Why

It sounds counter intuitive: why would you consider automation when customer engagement is all about connecting with customers in meaningful ways? Isn’t automation impersonal? Wouldn’t a personalized, one-on-one approach be key to successful customer engagement?

In fact, many firms (particularly in insurance, banking and wealth-management) rely on agents and advisors to build relationships with their accounts and interact in a personalized manner. They are quite successful at what they are doing, so why doesn’t everybody adopt the same customer engagement strategy?

Building Relations is not the same as Customer Engagement

While agents and advisors may be instrumental in building relationships with customers, engaging them can be a whole different story. Why? Because engaged customers feel like they have a strong connection with the brand! They spend time daily reading about that brand’s products and services and are always familiar with what’s new. Engaged customers are excellent brand advocates and frequently use social media to talk about the brand.

Their level of spending with the brand may vary, and that is not great news for agents and advisors who must focus on those relationships that have the greatest impact on revenue.

Let me be clear: personalized interactions can be the starting point in building engagement! However, I think everybody agrees that agents and advisors are better used whenever they get to exercise their core expertise.

Engagement can be time consuming

The human element is incredibly important when building relationships and has the greatest impact whenever phone or in-person interactions occur. Engagement, however, requires high volumes of prompt communications, usually on multiple channels. For example, you can use text messages whenever a deal is available, or an account review needs to occur. Or use push notifications when a stock is upgraded to “buy”. Therefore, it makes sense to use automated platforms that are able to hook into business processes and communicate in real-time.

Note however that personalization is key when dealing with a large number of customers. For example, you can start by using the customer’s first name, account number and preferences (such as language) in all forms of communication. Although fully automated, these communications should also include the customer’s agent/advisor name and picture for a personal touch.

Errare humanum est

It is easy to make mistakes when manual processes are involved. What makes it worse, is that usually manual processes also lack audit. The lack of audit makes it really hard to fix those errors or prevent them from happening in the future.

When implemented automated engagement, audit and review and approval features are important factors to take into consideration.

Success requires consistency

Engagement isn’t always about being exciting. It also requires consistency, both in terms of branding and content. Many organizations find it hard to ensure consistency when they have to manage hundreds of manual processes and several communications platforms. Therefore, it makes sense to consolidate on an enterprise customer engagement platform. It will empower the best resources in your company to collaborate and deliver the best customer experience.

One final note: A while back while mapping the customer journey for insurance claims we were surprised to find out that over 20 different types of communications were being used. Don’t underestimate the amount of communication that must happen in order to keep customers engaged!

Article originally published on LinkedIn on September 28, 2019