Editor's note: this is a guest post. Views expressed in this article are the author's own views and not necessarily representative of UiPath.
When it comes to building a successful business, one of the key differentiators is customer experience (CX). With consumers able to access vendors from around the world, differentiating products or services is a challenge. Aside from some very rare exceptions, shoppers can often find multiple businesses able to fulfill their needs. The question to ask is, "Why would they choose you?"
However, while customer acquisition matters, so too does customer retention. In this case, a common misconception in business circles is that delighting clients is the key to customer loyalty and retention. Sadly, data has shown that this is not really the case and that while customer delight may help, it has very little impact on overall customer loyalty.
The one key differentiator that can make your business stand out from the crowd is the customer experience you provide. Today, this metric has become an area of focus for many businesses looking to grow. A 2018 Gartner survey pointed out that 66% of marketers say that CX is the “new marketing battlefront.”
Luckily, there are ways that intelligent automation (IA) can help boost CX, helping companies gain new customers and retain existing ones.
IA aims to automate end-to-end processes on computers and sits at the crossroads of artificial intelligence (AI), robotic process automation (RPA), and workflow and cloud platforms.
One area that does have an impact on CX is the speed at which issues get resolved. Today, social media and other forums help provide customers with an avenue to share their dissatisfaction, and one area that is often mentioned is the service that is provided to clients.
When considering customer service, an area that many businesses struggle with is the speed of response that they are providing. While adding resources can mitigate the impact in the short-term, this is not a long-term solution to success. However, with IA, some solutions can be implemented that will make a significant contribution.
One area that I talk about where IA can help greatly is with chatbots. Chatbots are capable of responding 24/7 to customer requests, improving the response time that customers receive. AI-powered chatbots can also help improve problem resolution. According to MIT Technology Review, AI-powered chatbots have helped improve complaint resolution in 90% of the businesses surveyed.
Chatbots, paired with self-service tools like knowledge bases, are particularly potent at helping clients deal with issues. In many cases that I've seen, chatbots can help deflect between 30%-50% of the load that a business has to handle, letting agents focus on more complex and critical demands.
Another area that often fails to get attention is the omnichannel dimension. Today, consumers around the world expect businesses to offer a seamless experience regardless of how they engage.
For many customers, making a service request via chat, email, or web form, and then following up through a phone call, is a frustrating experience.
Often, consumers in these circumstances are forced to reiterate all of their concerns and issues, wasting time and effort. Organizations that embrace omnichannel understand that customers regularly switch between support channels. By offering integrated IA tools across all of the different customer touchpoints, customer requests and records can be updated in real time, improving the overall CX provided.
With over 2.5 quintillion bytes of data being generated daily, companies need to understand how to filter through all of the noise so that they can provide their customers with a useful experience. And this is where IA can help.
IA can be used with tools like data analytics to better understand data and the patterns it presents. Using this information, companies can more readily understand not only what people are interested in, but what they might be interested in next. This type of technology has been used extremely successfully at Netflix, where the algorithm is used to create personalized viewing recommendations for its millions of customers worldwide.
IA can help with more than just the curation of customized content. Consumers are constantly looking for new and innovative products and services that better meet their needs and demands. Gathering client feedback is a very useful means of understanding what is working and what needs to be adjusted within any business.
Using IA, this information can be translated into actionable insights that companies can use within their product roadmaps.
In the previous sections of this article, I’ve talked a lot about how IA can be used to directly impact customers and CX. However, IA has another role to play within businesses that has an indirect, yet just as important, impact on CX within your own organization itself.
Within many businesses, a common complaint levied at service teams is the quality of the service provided. In many cases, the solution offered to address this gap is additional training. This solution works, but it is time and labor intensive.
Fortunately, IA alternatives exist where tools can supplement existing skills to provide guidance and prompts at key decision points. This pairing of technology and human expertise can help simplify complex interactions and simultaneously improve the overall CX.
I suggest you start by identifying and documenting the current end-to-end processes involved with your client interactions (e.g., client onboarding, service performance, questions and answers, or invoicing). Redesign these processes with a new goal in mind (e.g., what the client really needs), and as much as possible, incorporate automation to ease and broaden client interactions (e.g., workflows to automate data collection and provide support 24/7). These changes to your current processes need to be qualified and prioritized to fit into a roadmap of implementation.
Another critical action you can take is to build the necessary applications to better understand your prospects and clients. Analyze data about them and their expectations. Listen to their feedback. And finally, use this data to constantly drive experience improvements and innovation in products and services.
The content of this article is inspired by the Amazon bestseller book Intelligent Automation.