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Why Automation Is a Good Thing - Especially for Customer Experience
New automation technologies can be used to create expanded opportunities for personalized connections that actually improve the customer experience.
While the unprecedented circumstances caused by pandemic restrictions in 2020 and 2021 introduced businesses and customers alike to many new efficient digital technologies, the effect on customer experience hasn’t always been positive. The shift toward replacing direct human interaction with self-service experiences has left many customers with simultaneously heightened expectations and diminished patience.
At the same time, 39% of customers reported having less patience for inconvenience than before the pandemic, and 66% also expected enhanced personalization in customer experience. In the context of increased digital interactions – such as automated phone services, website chatbots, and self-checkout in supermarkets – customers often feel walled off from meaningful, human interaction.
Nevertheless, new automation technologies can be used to create expanded opportunities for personalized connections that actually enhance the customer experience. As digital transformation in the workplace is here to stay, businesses must develop a sense of how to use automation-oriented technology to enhance, rather than replace, personal connections.
Here are three ways businesses can actively improve the customer experience with automation and technology.
1. Provide Digital Touchpoints for Potential Customers and Clients
Over the last few decades, the number of opportunities to interact with prospects has skyrocketed. Potential customers are no longer passive subjects of TV and radio ads or chance glimpses of a billboard on the highway. Rather, the internet has allowed customers to reverse the dynamic and actively seek out the products and services they need and make contact where and how they want.
Today’s customers are far more likely to first interact with your business by perusing your website after an online search or liking or commenting on a social media platform than to walk into a physical location or reach out in response to a traditional media ad. In these first digital interactions, businesses have an opportunity to take a proactive approach rather than relying on a digital platform to stand in for them.
In most cases, businesses can configure digital platforms such as marketing automation software behind their website or social media platforms to initiate processized responses to different kinds of interactions. This allows businesses to respond with an automated yet personalized email or phone call to interested parties who submit contact information. To those who remain anonymous, you can reach out through live chat services or social media interaction.
That’s not to say that all outreach should be automated, as there will always be specific instances that merit a unique response. However balance can be achieved - allowing your team to automate the communications that are general, and provide one-on-one communications where they can be more impactful.
2. Streamlining the Customer Onboarding Process
Once you’ve acquired a customer or client – either through a simple purchase or through the signing of a contract for a more certain ongoing relationship – you have a second opportunity to leverage automation to improve the customer experience. Depending on the nature of your business, new customer onboarding may be as simple as filling out a few form fields to create an account. Or in more regulated industries – such as finance, healthcare, and law – it may involve the submission of dozens of different documents containing personally identifiable information (PII).
In the latter case, organizations can greatly ease the burden on the new client, while simultaneously offering them superior data security, by replacing traditional reliance on email for document exchange with document collection software.
Email attachments are easily lost in multiple, lengthy threads and they contribute to unnecessary instances of sensitive documents persisting in multiple accounts. As 94% of organizations have suffered a data breach in the last 12 months, and 73% of those originated in email phishing scams, businesses that traffic in customer PII should discontinue email for document exchange and offer their clients direct, secure access through document portals.
Giving your clients a single, secure channel to complete onboarding processes saves time and gives them added security value.
The bonus - and where automation truly comes into play during this example - is the set-and-forget type of nature of these types of software. Where previously, each document request might merit its own unique thread or phone call, using a document collection software like FileInvite, you’re allowed to set automated reminders around whichever due date you choose. This allows you to come across as offering helpful reminders to keep new clients on schedule, rather than a naggy new service provider.
3. Customer and Client Retention: Improving the Customer Experience
Raising customer retention by improving customer experience is possible across any industry Across the board, increasing customer retention by just 5% leads to a minimum 25% uptick in profits. The key to retention is often finding ways to deliver recurring personal engagements or incentives that work the same way you likely acquired the customer in the first place.
Examples of these personal touches in continued customer relationships include:
- Direct and timely contact by phone or another appropriate channel when milestone events happen such as loan application approvals or major closings
- Recognition and rewards for continued patronage such as customer loyalty programs
- Offer loyal customers early or trial access to new products and services or special events
For tracking and automating these customer experience enhancements, most businesses rely on a customer relationship management (CRM) platform that will automatically prompt representatives to make contact and automatically tally reward programs so that no customer is overlooked, even going so far as to proactively prevent churn if a customer is at-risk.
Automate Your Manual Document Collection Process with FileInvite
FileInvite’s SOC 2 Type 2 compliant secure document collection software can streamline document-heavy client onboarding processes and ongoing document exchange while enhancing overall information security. FileInvite uses 256-bit end-to-end encryption for files in transit and storage, radically reducing the risks of sharing PII in business transactions.