Authored by Parham Saebi, Customer Service Solutions Director at Arvato CRM Solutions
Intelligent automation offers businesses a powerful tool that can supercharge their customer experience transformation strategies. But how does it work, and what exactly can it deliver?
Here are three ways it is benefiting our clients as part of their transformation plans.
Saving time and unlocking efficiencies
Intelligent automation uses software to create an agile, virtual workforce that mimics the way humans complete repeatable administrative tasks.
The solution can support entire business processes or just specific parts, across both the front and back office. This could range from sourcing information to respond to customer queries, to keeping customer records and systems updated with new information.
By quickly and efficiently handling large volumes of work, the technology is cutting the cost per transaction of specific processes – by as much as 95 per cent for some of our clients.
It also removes the need for employees to spend time on mundane, manual time-consuming tasks – time they can instead spend on the more complex, judgement-based work that adds real value to customer interactions.
For example, it could be used to manage a customer’s request for direct debit changes; conduct finance application or credit checks; or respond customer requests for information, such as details on a retailer’s opening times or returns policy.
Delivering data and empowering insight
Having quick access to up-to-date customer data can help businesses deliver more personalised services and respond quicker and at the right time to customer demands, in turn improving service quality and boosting sales.
For example, understanding a customer’s payment history means agents can proactively offer payment options that they know a customer is likely to prefer, without them having to ask. Or, if customer service team members are able to access a record of items a customer has previously bought, they can then make the most of opportunities to up-sell or cross-sell with other items a shopper might want or need.
The challenge is being able to bring all of the information a business gathers on customers into one place and making it available for teams to analyse and use at a moment’s notice.
Here, intelligent automation can help. It can operate across different departments and technology platforms – including existing legacy systems – to extract information, clean and normalise it, before feeding it into a centralised Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system, ready for use.
For example, automation could combine data from multiple sales touchpoints to give agents an in-depth picture of how and when a customer prefers to make a purchase. Or, it could seamlessly connect a business’ order tracking system to the CRM so that agents can provide instant updates to a customer on where their parcel is in the distribution chain, all at the click of a button.
Having reliable, consistent data streams opens up opportunities for businesses to then apply even more sophisticated technologies to their operations.
This includes tools such as artificial intelligence (AI) and predictive behavioural omni-channel routing, which draws on business’ data banks to give agents recommendations of ‘next best actions’ in real time.
In practice, this could include producing on-the-spot offers for products a customer’s browsing history suggests they’ve been eyeing for some time, helping agents convert initial interest into a sale.
Or, it could help agents analyse customers’ previous behaviour and preferences to anticipate and solve problems for them before they even arise – further improving quality of service.
Take a clothing retailer as an example. An AI solution could flag to an agent where a customer had returned an item of clothing in a similar size or cut to a product they were browsing in the past, and encourage the agent to recommend a different size or style more similar to items that the customer has bought and actually kept – reducing the chance of returns while improving the customer’s experience. It can also be used to target support to reduce shopping cart abandonment by identifying customers who need real-time assistance based on website behaviour.
Flexibility: growing with the business
Intelligent automation can be easily expanded, downsized or even paused at the press of a button.
Its flexibility means it can scale to meet a business’ needs as it grows, and gives management teams, IT teams and customer experience decision makers full control over how and when it works for their processes – for example, deploying it only to support frontline staff during periods of peak demand.
It also makes it useful in helping to build stakeholders’ confidence in long-term change plans. The ability to start with small-scale automated projects gives other team members time to adjust to the new technology and to see what it can deliver, all at their own pace.
At Arvato, we have extensive experience helping organisations benefit from automation as a part of their transformation strategies – from identifying where it could be applied to designing and building bespoke solutions.
Contact us to learn more about how we could help your operations – CRMSE@arvato.co.uk.