The business environment is more competitive than ever, yet many businesses are not taking advantage of all available opportunities to satisfy and delight customers.
While it can be complicated to fully operationalise approaches that deliver an improved customer experience, there are quick wins to be made. In particular, this includes process automation in situations where communications need to change rapidly, ideally using a single solution to expedite change. Additionally, integrating key processes through automation workflows that talk to existing enterprise platforms will help remove silos and assist with seamless interactions.
How businesses handle web forms is a prime example
Companies may feel they have made inroads simply by adding forms to their website. But in reality these are often just PDFs that need to be submitted online, or when an electronic form is completed it generates an email or document that needs to be manually viewed and actioned by a team member.
The ‘digital veneer’ cracks almost instantly, as the process then hinges on internal coordination, how you manage information, and the availability, attention to detail, and efficiency of individual employees.
Customer data that feeds into processes, such as via web forms, is often managed inefficiently. Take online forms for example. Here is what tends to happen:
- A form is created and added within your system
- The customer is referred to the form or has to navigate to it
- The customer completes the form in full, including basic information that the company already knows about the customer
- The customer submits it
- The form is saved and the data in the form may or may not be scraped automatically into the company’s system of record
- The workflow stalls as employees determine how to distribute, process, and store and manage the data, associated actions and approvals
- Customers have low visibility of progress and high levels of frustration
Manual processes tend to create at best inconsistency, at worst chaos. Information may be stored in spreadsheets that are not widely accessible, people get busy, emails get overlooked, approval processes are muddy, or siloed functions mean it is unclear who is responsible for different steps. Ultimately, response times and customer service suffer.
How business process automation (BPA) can drive a better customer experience
Your team can and should be involved in processing forms and following up with customers, but by harnessing technology and BPA you can improve the speed and consistency of these interactions.
BPA uses software to automate repeatable, multistep business transactions. It is used to connect multiple IT systems and steps involved in a process to simplify how to achieve certain outcomes.
One great use case example came as a result of the Treasury Laws Amendment (Putting Members’ Interests First) Act 2019 (PMIF). As of 1 December 2019 superannuation trustees are required to write to members with a balance of less than $6,000, notifying them that their insurance cover may cease unless they opt-in to continue this cover.
A review by ASIC found that many superannuation trustees were inadequately communicating with members regarding the Protecting Your Superannuation Package and the PMIF reforms.
CoTé was engaged by a superannuation fund that wanted to improve its communication of the PMIF Act to members via a digital communication channel. This involved developing a simple but effective insurance opt-in/out campaign whereby an email was sent to each member with a link to a personalised webform. This enabled the member to complete the form online with their selection to include or exclude insurance as part of the superannuation.
Process comparison (print vs digital)
Additionally, the superannuation fund could track all emails, online form submission responses, and trigger reminders to members who had not yet replied. This reduced their previous physical mailing campaign process from weeks to a matter of days—if not hours!
As in this example, less effort to complete every transaction means a system-wide improvement in customer experience and a better capacity to scale and adapt your systems as needed. This is especially important in sectors where messaging, product and service information, regulations, or decision-making criteria change regularly and rapidly.
Effective customer communications management (CCM) software that enables BPA helps you create the right conditions: ensuring information captured in forms gets to the right people at the right time, actions are triggered in a timely fashion, and data generated is centralised and feeds into associated customer service, marketing, and decision-making processes.
Using software to enable business process automation:
- Automates repeatable transactions
- Links related steps across multiple systems
- Helps you to define and optimise desirable steps
- Solves process inefficiency at the system-wide level
- Lets you consistently deliver better outcomes for customers
How to apply BPA for improved CX in five steps
1. Get visibility of customers in context
Choose software that provides a holistic view across all of your customer touch points.
2. Understand the ‘big picture’ of customer data
Customer responses should be nuanced—not based on one interaction. Choose a system that will connect the details customers share via forms and other channels with data from sources including:
- Legacy systems and ERP solutions
- CRMs and marketing tools
- Internal systems/databases
- Customer service portals
3. Automate workflows based on a single view of the customer
With a clearer idea of each customer’s journey, preferences, and previous interactions, automate specific workflows tailored to internal business rules, standard messaging, organisational structures, approval processes, compliance needs, and other elements that can be pre-configured. Automation ensures your back-end processes are:
- Completed quickly
- More accurate and compliant
- More relevant to a customer’s needs
Even basic auto-acknowledgments such as receipting a submitted form are of value, as are simple auto-notifications to customers about process step completions.
BPA applied within a modern CCM platform ensures the actions taken are captured in a centralised place to ascertain that all future communications are also streamlined!
4. Gain real-time omnichannel clarity
- Customers can be kept abreast of the progress of their enquiry
- Your team can access real-time insights on how well processes are working
- Integration with your contact centre lets CSA’s respond fast and personalise interactions
5. Easily report on and refine processes
A unified view of the flow of data from web forms and other channels through your system, and the customer’s current status, helps you more easily report on operational performance and identify remaining bottlenecks or opportunities for improvement. It is also easier to adapt processes to changes in service delivery or business strategy.