Blogsorozat: Customer Experience
Bob Meyer | január 10, 2023 | 4 min read

Tempted to Buy, Motivated to Stay – with Automated Customer Service

Real-time communication takes place in just about all areas of life today – so why should it be any different with your favorite retailers? Shopping in just a few clicks is already standard with larger suppliers, and customers now expect this from every company they buy from, too. However, these demands pose an enormous challenge for customer service.

automated customer service for a better customer experience
automated customer service delivery

How Automated Customer Service Works

Services like Amazon Prime have given us incredible delivery times, prescient product recommendations, and seamless one-click ordering. However, they’re also pushing customer expectations to a place that’s hard for many established businesses to match. For organizations without access to almost limitless venture capital, how is it possible to meet the demand for ever-shortening delivery times and instant customer support?

This is an enormous challenge for most businesses, but there two questions to address the problem:

  1. What can service teams automate?
  2. How to shape your customer’s expectations?

1. What Can Service Teams Automate?

Automation is limited only by our imagination, but here are some of the most common ways that customer service teams are starting to automate.

Self-Service Portals and Community Forums

Every support team wants to reduce their call volume, but adding FAQs to the website isn’t always enough. By creating a forum, you can provide customers a community where they help each other. Incentives can be provided to encourage knowledgeable customers to respond to questions, and it can also be a research tool for gathering opinions at various points during the customer journey, as well as keep track of common issues.

Predictive Maintenance and Support

The best way to reduce support volume is to prevent issues from occurring in the first place. Manufacturers in the B2B sector are equipping their machines with sensors that monitor performance, and automatically alert the owner (and/or the manufacturer) when a service or repair is needed. When paired with a self-service portal, this can allow the customer to schedule the maintenance themselves, eliminating the need for a support call entirely. The service request can even be fully automated, so a service technician is automatically booked when a set usage parameter is reached.

Chatbots

Customers don’t always have to speak to a human. For common requests such as looking up account details or finding information on a website, a chatbot can give customers the satisfaction of an immediate answer. Using technologies such as machine-learning and natural-language-processing, customers can even communicate with a more advanced chatbot as they would a regular support person. Of course, chatbots can work at any hour of the day and eliminate wait times, but they can also track your support requests more accurately. With a chatbot connected to software such as Qualtrics, it’s even possible to identify trending issues in real-time, so you can fix them faster.

2. How to Shape Customer Expectations?

A better alternative to continually pushing your delivery times and service teams to their limit is to try to change your customer’s expectations. As customers, we might think that we want faster delivery, but perhaps what we actually want is the feeling of certainty. If a retailer interviewed its customers and discovered this insight, they might realize that they don’t need to invest huge amounts of money to offer next-day delivery for free. Customers might be just as satisfied if the delivery time was simply changed from an arbitrary 3-day window to a guaranteed date. Alternatively, the retailer could offer click-and-collect, which gives the customer peace of mind simply by having it as an option.

Make Customer Research a Regular Process

To discover insights like these, customer research can’t be done as a one-time project. It must become a core process. This means setting up as many opportunities to provide feedback as possible, as well as proactively surveying your customers, inviting their feedback after testing changes, and repeating the process.

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The Biggest Roadblock to Automation

Automation requires a deep understanding of the customer. The biggest thing standing in the way of this is that for most service teams, a CRM (customer relationship management) platform is their primary tool. CRM software can be an excellent tool for storing basic customer information, keeping track of client contacts, or managing support tickets. But to truly understand the people we serve, we need to build much more detailed customer profiles and collaborate with other departments across the organization. Therefore, many service teams are switching from CRM tools to a more integrated solution, the customer experience platform.

A customer experience is any interaction that a customer has with your brand and the feelings that result from it. A customer experience platform, such as SAP Service Cloud, allows businesses to connect this data to everything else they understand about the customer, and to make it accessible to everyone.

Immediate Benefits for Customer Service Management

  • Service Staff Can Start Selling

With easy access to things such as a customer’s purchase history, service staff can join the sales team by up-selling and cross-selling relevant items. By understanding more about the customer, they can provide seamless customer service and suggest products that match their current needs, instead of merely looking for items related to the one they’re currently being helped with. Cross-selling can drive significant revenue too. Amazon generates 35 percent of its total sales through cross-selling, while the entire e-commerce industry generates around ten percent of its revenue from additional sales.

  • Field Technicians Can Access What They Need Remotely

For a customer to make a purchase, they need to feel content. Field service employees play a crucial role in this as they are often the only personal contact between a company and the customer. With access via mobile device to all customer data and purchase history, while they’re on-site, a field technician can speed up repairs and maintenance, individualize quotes, and call up product information for a customer at any time. With a shared database for both internal and field services, they’re also able to avoid making promises they are not able to keep.

But Where to Begin?

Have these ideas inspired you? For more insights on how service teams can reduce costs while providing a better customer experience, explore the SAP Customer Experience Solutions and learn more about our relevant cloud-based products, SAP Service Cloud and SAP Field Service Management.

Find out more about sap customer experience solutions

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