When you’re a small company with a handful of customers, it’s easier to build strong customer relationships, but as your business scales up, it can become more challenging to maintain the same level of closeness with your client base. Higher volume of sales and service tickets leads to more demands on your staff, making it increasingly hard to keep up.
Automation is one strategy many companies use to overcome this dilemma. By 2020, 85 percent of customer interactions will be handled through automation without a human agent, Gartner projects. By 2025, this number is expected to increase to 95 percent. Here are three steps you can take to deploy automation in order to help you engage your customers and meet their needs.
Optimizing the Sales Process with CRM
Customer relationship management software is the cornerstone of an effective automation strategy. CRM tools enable you to automate the process of collecting customer contact information, tracking the progress of customer relationships and customizing marketing and sales efforts to appeal to individual customers. You can also use CRM to automate management of your sales team, providing your sales managers with a platform for matching your best available representatives to your hottest prospects. CRM tools also provide analytics capabilities you can use to identify customer preferences and track your sales team’s performance.
Used properly, CRM software generates an average return on investment of $8.71 for every dollar spent, according to Nucleus Research. But achieving these types of results requires mastering the intricacies of CRM features. To get the most out of your customer relationship management tool, a best practice is to hire a CRM consultant who can teach you how to optimize your performance. Leverage Infor consulting services online to train your team on how to master CRM deployment.
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Streamlining Customer Service with Chatbots
Chatbots are another vital tool in today’s customer relationship automation arsenal. Chatbots use artificial intelligence to automatically handle routine customer service inquiries initiated over text messenger apps such as Facebook Messenger. AI also enables chatbots to identify which tickets require human support and to route them efficiently to the next available representative.
Used effectively, chatbots can reduce average response time by four minutes per inquiry and cut costs by $0.50 to $0.70 per interaction, Juniper Research estimates. Today’s leading chatbot platforms include IBM Watson and Microsoft Bot Framework.
Automating Phone Support with Interactive Voice Response Systems
Just as chatbots help automate customer service tickets initiated through text messenger apps, interactive voice response systems can help automate inquiries handled over the phone. Today’s cutting-edge IVR systems use artificial intelligence to process natural language input from callers, interpret what the caller need and present automated menu options that are relevant to what the caller requires. Most routine inquiries can be handled through automated self-service. Tickets that need human assistance get automatically routed to an appropriate representative.
Used properly, IVR systems can boost customer satisfaction by reducing wait time, while simultaneously reducing the workload on your service team so that your representatives have more time to assist customers who need help. Today’s leading IVR providers include Mitel, 8×8 and Five9.
CRM software, chatbots and IVR systems are three of today’s most powerful customer relationship automation tools. Deploying these tools can optimize your sales and customer service performance, save yourself and your customers time and boost your customer satisfaction rate.
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