In today’s online world, automation is pretty well essential to nearly all businesses, especially as it takes regular, run of the mill task and puts them through a software program which when programmed correctly, not only does the work for you, but also doesn’t make errors.
However, a case can be made that too much reliance on automation can cost you dearly when you lose contact with the personal aspects of your business. This is particularly important when conducting business online, where it can be a real challenge to personalise connections with both of your prospective and existing customers.
Here are some examples where you should think very carefully about using automation…
Key relationship “touch points”
There are certain key touch points which are especially important for your business when building relationship with your prospects and customers. At these the moments in time when someone in real life should be there to give a personal experience and provide a few kind and warm words, as opposed to cold automated information that seems it’s given out to everyone.
The big problem is that most people know an automated message when they see or hear one. And in today’s online world, if you instead speak to a customer or send a personalised message that is clearly written from someone who actually cares in your business, this can have a very powerful effect to create long-term loyal clients who then refer you.
Key touch points will obviously differ from one type of business and product to another, so you need to define these yourself and work out the best way to delight customer when and how you follow-up with them after a key purchase, such as…
When spoken or written sincerely, a big “thank you” straight from the heart can never, ever come from a robot. So, when you thank a customer for their valued support, you should always do so yourself or delegate this important task to someone who cares and has a great personal touch and tone. Take time to write the message and avoid using formatted impersonal templates as well, including as many personal details in the communication as possible to show that you really value the relationship. An even better way to do this is rather than just sending out an email, send a personal handwritten “thank you” note.
It’s advisable that no part of a customer complaint or reconciliation process should be automated, unless perhaps there’s an online training guarantee refund. Even then there should be a personalised contact to find out the reason why someone is leaving your online training offer and to attempt to win them back.
Complaints are a very sensitive moment for your customer interaction and if you handle it in the wrong way, it can cost you a valued relationship and damage your reputation, especially online. So, make sure that you’re easy to contact when a customer has a problem and respond as quickly as possible to their issue by following up immediately and making sure that they are fully satisfied. This is an excellent time to go “above and beyond” by offering a surprise discount or deal to delight your customer and win them back. Which means the experience needs to be as personal as possible, and not a faceless automated response.
Creating a happy experience
It all comes down to creating an experience in the minds of your customers that not just satisfies them, but delights them. This ca rarely be achieved through automation. It requires the personal touch to make people happy.
So, the important factor to remember is …continue to use automation for mundane tasks that don’t require the human touch and keep reaching out to customers personally when you have the opportunity to delight them.