Understanding Customer Experience Automation and How to Leverage It

You’ve got to put customers first to succeed in business, but delivering an excellent customer experience is no small feat.  Brands will be the first to tell you they’re dropping the ball—87% of companies admit their customer experience (CX) is far from exceptional. 

Poor experiences don’t just lead to negative reviews—they can quickly send your customers fleeing. Nearly one-third of shoppers abandon a brand they loved after a single negative encounter. In today’s competitive landscape, you simply can’t afford to have these previously loyal customers walk away. 

The good news? Revamping your customer experience isn’t a task you have to labor over by yourself. Automation technology can be applied to several key elements of a company’s customer experience. In fact, leading solutions can and should automate over 60% of all incoming tickets

The trick is knowing what to automate and what should be handled by a customer service rep. Finding this balance is critical for delivering a scalable CX solution. One that will not only engage and delight shoppers but also free up agents from the monotony of repetitive questions, allowing them to focus on delivering exceptional customer service with a personal touch. 

First, let’s take a step back to define what customer experience automation is and the benefits it can bring to your business.

What is customer experience automation?

Customer experience automation (CXA) describes any customer engagement that does not require human intervention. While there are varying degrees, at its highest level, CXA allows brands to engage with, assist, and even proactively support shoppers throughout the entire customer journey. 

Think of it this way: with the right set of tools, CXA can be leveraged to interact with customers both on and off your site, deliver 24/7 support in any language and across all channels, and even drive sales with personalized recommendationsall without the need to hire additional agents. 

Automation technology is at the epicenter of all this. First and foremost, automation returns your agents’ most valuable commodity—time—by effectively taking care of repetitive customer interactions. Artificial intelligence can take automation one step further by learning from each conversation. Not only will this allow your automation tools to become more personalized and effective over time, but it can also help you spot trends. Using this information, brands can better identify new opportunities for CXA versus what should be handled by your agents. 

Far from just a theory, forward-thinking brands are already leveraging CXA to deliver impressive results. In a recent report, over 80% of business leaders said intelligent automation provided a much-needed boost to their CX. Since a better experience is linked to higher revenue, infusing your customer experience with automation—transforming CX into CXA—can yield significant financial rewards.

How does automation improve the customer experience?

A customer experience strategy that embraces automation can provide the following key benefits to any ecommerce organization:

Improved metrics

Customer experience automation ramps up business productivity by enabling quick, hassle-free responses. This transformation has a net positive impact on several CX metrics. And we’re not just talking about CSAT and NPS scores. Yes, customers are more satisfied, but the delight automation creates has a wide ripple effect: retention rates rise, churn rates fall, and customer lifetime value (CLV) grows.

Most importantly, automation gives customers (and brands) more of their most valued asset—time. Almost 45% of brands report they have more time to communicate with customers thanks to automation. This is because they’re no longer stuck dealing with time-consuming, repetitive work.

Easier scalability

Bringing customers memorable experiences on a 1:1 basis is challenging enough when you have a small customer base. Once your business starts to grow, providing each shopper with relevant interactions becomes practically impossible. Without automation, that is.

‍Automation lets brands scale their superior customer experience to any number of customers. Instead of manually handling each shopper’s unique experience, brands can replicate all sorts of interactions to reach a wider audience. Moreover, experience-driven businesses grow revenue 1.7 times faster than other brands, highlighting just how vital automation can be. 

Higher customer engagement

The efficiency that automation delivers enables brands to engage with shoppers at every touchpoint along the customer journey. Tools that collect buyer data or past customer behavior let brands stay close to shoppers. If a returning customer asks a question on your website’s chatbot, address them by their name and present them with content curated specifically for them.  

This form of CRM automation doesn’t just boost engagement—it fosters greater customer loyalty too. Compared to their counterparts who go through negative experiences, shoppers who encounter positive customer experiences are likely to spend 140% more and remain loyal customers for five years longer. 

More still, automation enables other forms of engagement, like customer feedback. AI can immensely simplify the process of requesting, collecting, and analyzing customer opinions. And once you know what customers are saying, you’ll be better equipped to further tailor experiences based on customer preferences.  

Zowie is the only CRM automation tool built to help ecommerce brands delight customers and drive revenue from customer support. For more info, book a demo today.

‍How do you automate the customer experience? 

There are a number of available solutions out there to achieve outstanding CXA, but to create the engaging, positive experience your shoppers expect, you need to find one that acts as if it’s one of your agents.  

While this is not something that can happen overnight—automation should continue to evolve based on the needs of your customers—ecommerce brands can start with the following 4-step approach: (1) anticipate your buyers’ needs, (2) craft personalized interactions, (3) go all-in on omnichannel capabilities, and (4) embrace proactive functionality.  

Step 1: Anticipate your buyers’ needs

Intuitive automation begins by identifying your most commonly asked questions and then providing real answers to those requests. You don’t want your response to default to having customers call a hotline or provide vague answers that don’t answer the question at hand. To avoid constant ticket escalation, you need a solution that improves the experience by providing 24/7 support and near-instant ticket resolution to your most frequent questions. 

The good news is you don’t have to think of everything your buyers want to know from the onset. Leading CS automation solutions come pre-built with commonly asked ecommerce questions. Building off this base, you can start delivering exceptional results in a matter of days. 

Step 2: Craft personalized interactions

The top concern of most automation skeptics is that it’s impersonal, and with it, brands will no longer be able to provide personalized experiences that meet customer expectations. Sure, some platforms fall short, but guess what? Today’s leading solutions already offer automated experiences without sacrificing an iota of personalization. For example, by storing customer data like their name, age, and location, brands can create tailor-made automated conversations that keep diverse groups of customers engaged. These interactions start by addressing your returning customer by name and end with a product recommendation in their size or favorite color. 

Why is personalization so crucial? Simply put, it’s what customers crave. Over 90% of customers are more likely to buy from brands that present personalized offers, and most frequent shoppers exclusively do business with companies that personalize their experiences.

While initially skeptical, Missouri Star Quilt Company harnessed automation’s ability to amplify its brand voice and reward its fiercely loyal customers. With Zowie, they enjoy a 76% automation rate without losing their distinctive customer-centric approach. To see what else they’ve accomplished, read their success story here.  

Step 3: Go all-in on omnichannel capabilities

When companies start interacting with customers across multiple communication channels, their ability to offer outstanding experiences is usually put to the test.  But it doesn’t have to be that way. CXA solutions with omnichannel capabilities allow you to seamlessly integrate the entire customer experience—regardless of how shoppers interact with your brand—onto a single dashboard. 

For instance, let’s say a customer initially browses your catalog via your mobile app but doesn’t make a purchase. If they then head to your website a few days later to continue looking, not only is their previous search history saved, but so are any prior interactions they’ve had with your site. Omnichannel automation lets you pick up where they left off, whether that’s bringing up those exact products they had already expressed interest in, or continuing the conversation on an unresolved ticket. Regardless of their next request, omnichannel capabilities ensure your communication channels are in sync so that customers never feel they have to start over.

Step 4: Embrace proactive functionality

The final step comes in bringing the conversation to your shoppers. The most effective CX automation tools don’t need customers to initiate interactions. Instead, they can take proactive measures to reach out to them on their own. In the reactive model, brands wait for customers to endure a poor experience and then respond with a solution. The problem is those customers who went through that experience could be lost for good.

With a proactive customer experience, you can take corrective actions before any problems ever emerge. Automation solutions are well-suited for this because of their ability to collect and analyze data from diverse sources. For instance, they can ask customers for feedback at a variety of touchpoints and interpret the data so you can clearly see which course of action is best. 

And acting on customer feedback matters. Over 75% of customers have a more favorable view of brands that ask for and accept feedback. Proactively apply customer feedback to constantly improve the customer experience.  

What does an automated customer journey look like?

Now that we know the key components of the automated customer experience, let’s take a look at the impact a CXA solution can have on the entire customer journey, focusing on each of the following four stages: Awareness, Consideration, Decision, and Advocacy.

Awareness

At this stage, a brand’s automation options are most limited, as customers typically don’t start interacting with a company until the later stages. To boost customer awareness of your brand, you can invest in simple automation tools to assist with social media posts or ads—targeting specific audiences with relevant messaging or products.

More importantly, if existing customers are willing to advocate for your brand and share contact info for their friends and family, you can leverage automation to promote your brand to new potential customers via email, phone, or SMS. These solutions can also sync up your channels at this stage to ensure all interactions stay consistent moving forward.

Consideration

Automation’s potential really gets to shine at this stage. Once customers start communicating with your brand, you’ll have plenty of tools at your disposal to enhance your CX. Recommend products via real-time chats. Offer tutorials or discounts over email. Track shopper activity so customers can pick up where they left off whenever they return to your site without losing momentum. 

By removing any potential barriers, you’re ensuring potential customers have the best shopping experience possible at a critical point in the journey.

Decision

Customer experience automation helps customers take that final (and most important) step and commit to a purchase. AI can detect which customers have the highest buying intent and streamline their buying process. Moreover, bots can proactively chat with shoppers during checkout to remove any friction. Does it look like a customer is stuck on your payment page? An automated solution can pick up on that and step in to prevent customers from abandoning you at the last minute. 

Advocacy

Just because you’ve secured a purchase doesn’t mean the customer journey is over. A vital component is to ensure shoppers are satisfied with your products and their post-purchase experience. That way, one-time buyers become repeat customers, and loyal customers act as your brand advocates.

And automated CX can still play a major role at this stage. Give customers shipping updates, so they know their order’s precise status—without having to ask for it. Upon delivery, automatically reach out over email to ask for honest feedback. Down the road, regularly keep in touch with shoppers by offering a newsletter, product updates, or exclusive promotions to make sure they feel appreciated. These will entice them to continue shopping with you and evangelize your brand to others.

Optimize your customer experience with automation

If shoppers are finding your customer experience underwhelming, automation’s transformative power may be just what your brand needs. Customer experience automation demonstrably improves satisfaction across the customer lifecycle—and it’s not that hard to get going.

Zowie is a no-code automation platform built with ecommerce businesses in mind. With Zowie, you can delight customers and turn their service experiences into sources of revenue.