Craig T. Watkins
Ecrion Chief Revenue Officer
A few weeks ago, I wrote about Customer Journey Automation. In that post, we explored tools that go beyond just mapping the journey, and focused on customer journey execution. For details, please check that post out. To summarize, journey automation software enables companies to trigger personalized customer communications at predefined mileposts, identify points of friction, and refine the customer journey in a continuous improvement cycle.
But, what is the value of implementing an automated customer journey?
Frank recently bought a new blender. Unfortunately, the handle on the pitcher broke the first time he used it. He sent an email to the manufacturer’s customer service address listed on their website. According to a recent benchmark study, there’s a 62% chance his email will receive no response.
Frank is lucky, he receives an email a day or two later informing him that they’re sending him a replacement part. The new pitcher lid should arrive in 2-4 weeks.
97% of companies do not send a follow-up to customer service emails to see if the issue were satisfactorily resolved. Our company just missed the opportunity to learn about, and correct, their mistake with Frank.
We are in the Experience Economy, and such a scenario can have disastrous impact: customers today are more willing than ever to leave your brand after a single bad experience, and are likely to share their experience with a growing number of friends while posting on social media platforms.
What if our company viewed this customer service interaction as a micro-journey within Frank’s overall experience with us? What if predefined (yet personalized) messages, in Frank’s preferred language, and via Frank’s preferred communication channel(s) confirmed receipt of his support request, tracked resolution, followed-up afterwards, and then acted intelligently based upon Frank’s response (or lack thereof)?
We not only would have saved money shipping the wrong product around, we might have saved a customer, avoided the tarnish to our reputation, and maybe even built loyalty out of a negative situation.
360 Degree View
Any customer communication is out of context when viewed as a single event. Perhaps Customer Service’s erroneous email response was due to simple human error, or maybe the CS Rep didn’t have ready access to the right communication history at the right time.
More importantly, this Customer Service episode is also out of context when viewed as part of Frank’s comprehensive journey with their brand.
Had our company recognized that Frank’s restaurant chain orders thousands of dollars of equipment each year, and that this is Frank’s second issue in a month, we might have instead express-shipped a new, upgraded blender with a personalized letter enclosed.
A personalized letter enclosed with a replacement…that’s an unexpected, yet nice touch, isn’t it?
Automating the Customer Experience
Frank’s Customer Service story is just one of thousands of interaction types our clients perform with their customers every day. We contend that the only way to ensure consistent, high-quality, engaging experiences is to automate them. Manual processes, especially at scale, lead to variable and unpredictable results (and an unhappy Frank).
So, what exactly can and should be automated? The answer depends a lot on your company’s products or services, customers, and experience in automating customer interactions. Start with a basic customer journey map, and identify simple, straight-forward communications that can occur at critical Moments of Truth. As your experience with automation grows, you can add levels of personalization, more complicated logic, and AI into decision-making and communication processes.
Taking just the first step will provide valuable data as you track your customers through their journeys on purpose-built dashboards. You will gain crucial engagement data, and be able to refine your journey as you learn how your customers actually evolve with your brand. Trust me, they won’t follow the map you first build. Customers are crafty, and they have creative ways of surprising you.
So, What’s the Value of an Automated Customer Journey?
Sure, there are some cost savings to be found. But the largest impact by far is on the top line: reduced customer churn, increased customer retention, improved revenue per customer, and increased adoption from avoidance of reputation hits and better marketing/engagement.
The vast majority of companies we speak to all have significant Customer Experience initiatives either planned or underway with the goal of improving these very metrics. If you’d like to learn more, follow us here on LinkedIn, check out our website, or contact us directly.
We’d love to help you.
Article originally published on LinkedIn on February 5, 2020