By the year 2020, customers will be handling 85% of their business relationships without ever interacting with a human being. Think about all the things we have already automated in our life out of convenience. Vending machines. ATMs. Even cashing out at Walmart these days can be done without human contact. This leads to a certain type of expectation from modern consumers.
The probability of selling to an existing customer is 60-70% vs. 5-20% for a new customer. Don’t underestimate the power of retention. In a way, it’s independence that people crave. Why wait when you can do it with a little help from automation? Giving people options is critical to success and customer retention is completely incumbent upon satisfaction.
In order to increase satisfaction in your consumer base, you need the right tools and the knowledge of what they can do. You really can’t reach everyone, all day, every day. That’s what robots are for. Any type of marketing automation can help you fill the gaps for when you are unavailable or simply stretched too thin. The following are just a few ways in which technology is helping us keep people happy:
A recent survey found that 32% of customers who complain on social media expect a response within 30 minutes, and 42% expect one within the hour. Gone are the days of the 48-hour or 24-hour response window. If you are a small business owner or have a small team, how can you possibly be there to answer someone within a half hour? You have a life too.
Additionally, as your business grows, more and more people will be reaching out. An organization needs to be prepared for stellar customer service if they intend on establishing healthy growth and expansion. This is where a robot can really be your best friend. They can offer an immediate response to customers so that they feel as if their concerns are being taken seriously.
There are a few ways in which you can pad your response times through automation. Chatbots are a prime example and work wonders on social media and company websites. A recent study showed that 60% of survey respondents have used a chatbot to interact with a business within the past 12 months. So, people don’t mind the friendly robot. What they really care about is feeling heard. They are willing to wait for a personalized response if you meet them up front with convenient automation.
Common questions and FAQs can also be addressed through pre-set, automated responses. There may be some questions consumers have that a chatbot can answer for them. This saves everyone time. People are already comfortable with automation. It’s being ignored that they hate.
In addition to chatbots, emails can also be automated as a means to provide better customer service. After people have purchased a product, you can set a campaign to email them automatically (after a set number of days) to ensure the product has arrived and/or if they have any questions.
You can also set a campaign to run 6 months after their date of purchase to check back in on the product and its performance. Simple gestures like these take only minutes to set up but make a lasting impression on customers. It makes them feel like you are tending to their needs in particular.
Everyone gets rewarded these days. Think about the grocery store as a main model. 30 years ago, if you wanted to save on groceries, you clipped coupons. Now it seems every store has their own “club” or “membership.” Some stores even use gamification in their digital signage at the register to encourage membership. The point is that they’re getting consumer information by offering automated rewards. It’s not a new concept, yet not every industry has picked up on exactly how to make it happen.
For people that buy your product/service frequently, you can find a way to automate rewards based on their purchases or milestones. A recent survey showed that 76% of customers felt that receiving personalized discount offers based on their purchase history was important. If the same customer buys a fixed amount of goods within a set timeframe, have a campaign triggered to send rewards through email.
This is a good way to incentivize customers to purchase again. The action is a win-win. Not only does it increase customer satisfaction and retention, it also drives sales. All while you just set it and forget it. Automation moves in the background and worries about things you don’t have to.
Building Your Brand
It’s no secret that social media done right can greatly increase brand recognition and loyalty. People are always on one platform or another and when you are tending to their needs, they are sure to engage.
Marketing automation builds brand awareness through consistency. The right content, with the proper social media management, leads to success most of the time. When people like your brand, they come to expect your posts. If you are in and out, you are apt to lose your most loyal followers.
These are the people that enjoy your brand and are the most likely to be an advocate. It’s key to note, a recent survey demonstrated that a third of consumers are disappointed with a brand because of perceived lack of attention, 16% are frustrated and 12% are distrustful. All the signs are there that you must acknowledge people. However, you don’t have to strain yourself to keep up when you have marketing automation.
The Right Tools
There is so much competition, the waters have been muddied. To continue to build your brand, you’re going to need some help. Two types of platforms can ensure your brand stays on point when surfing social channels. They are:
- Social Listening Tools
- Social Media Management Tools
It starts with setting alerts to see where people are discussing your brand. If you are fairly new, you can also listen for topics in the industry related to your product/service offered. That’s often referred to as social listening/monitoring and it should always be the first step in the process.
Spend as much time as you can afford just listening to popular pain points, needs, wishes, urges, etc. This will give you an idea of your next move when it comes to creating and curating the right type of content to fit your audience. The more you know who you are marketing to, the more likely you are to hit your target goals.
Next comes the social media management tools. This is one of the most vital parts of marketing automation because these robots are helping you get your message across to multiple channels— simultaneously. It’s quite amazing how it works.
First, create or curate any type of social post, then social media management tools (like Buffer and Hootsuite) will shoot them out to your desired platforms at the times you designate. Never before has there been a more literal “set it and forget it” when it comes to marketing. You never have to worry about posting at different times, because as long as you schedule it in a management tool, it will automatically take the action for you.
A large part of automation also involves analyzing the outcomes of your actions. Marketing automation allows you to take your customer’s behavioral data and study it to determine your next move. By analyzing the social information, you can design more successful customer service strategies that will, in turn, benefit your customers. It’s a mutually beneficial business move.
You should also note, this is information freely given and often what you would collect through tasks like social listening and opt-in content strategies. You are never analyzing data that consumers have not given you permission to collect.
Additionally, you can use automation to examine your current policies to see what is and isn’t working within the organization. By eliminating what is not effective, you can create a customer service strategy that was essentially designed by the consumers themselves. When policies are based around your customer preferences, satisfaction and engagement are soon to follow.
Modern consumers are the most difficult to date, but that’s not a bad thing. They’re merely more informed. Use that to your advantage and you’ll have an idea on where to start. These people are your prime advocates when it comes to product development. Throw in marketing automation, and you’re sure to have an edge over the competition.
Ultimately, automation is there to assist in your processes, not overtake them. It can be used as a means to immediately address customers or send them rewards based on behavior. You can build your brand with it and use automation to analyze consumers. How ever you find it functional, you should always plan to be present for your business. The intent of automation is never to fully replace humans. The wisest companies use marketing automation in conjunction with friendly and excited staff. That seems to be the formula that always leads to certain success.