Building Customer Loyalty: 3 Unexpected Ways Email Automation Can Help

woman smiling at email reply illustrating building customer loyalty with email automation

Movies that focus on automation and artificial intelligence present an alternate sci-fi world filled with dystopian planets and advanced robotics that require minimal human assistance. But in reality, that’s not the case. Today, automation helps enhance the human experience rather than replace it. In fact, automation can assist companies with providing exceptional customer service and building customer loyalty.

When customers feel valued, they want to continue to do business with you. According to Forrester, 66% of adults feel that valuing their time is the most important thing a company can do to provide them with a good online customer experience. While customer support interactions are one factor throughout the entire customer journey, they represent a high-stakes, high-risk moment along that journey. Replying as quickly as possible to resolve the customer’s issue demonstrates you value their time and their business, building loyalty, and lifetime value.

Customer support interactions represent a high-stakes, high-risk moment along the customer journey.

With customer service automation coming of age, it no longer makes financial sense to have human agents handle every issue. According to research from the Harvard Business Review, when companies use technologies like AI, automation, and chatbots, they can offload more than 50% of customer support interactions. This frees up human agents to devote adequate time to dealing with more sensitive customer issues.

There are customer interactions that require empathy that only a live agent can provide. But most others are mundane, repetitive, and easily automatable. To maximize efficiency, these should be handled by an email virtual assistant (EVA). Email process automation helps draft a personalized response based on how agents previously addressed a similar request and by pulling from internal knowledge bases instead of providing a generic email response.

Why Is Building Customer Loyalty Important?

It costs at least five times more to acquire a new customer than to keep a current one, and U.S. consumers are willing to spend 17% more to do business with companies that deliver excellent service. Loyal customers may only make up about 20% of your audience, but they provide up to 80% of your revenue.

According to Forrester Research, over half of U.S. shoppers will abandon their online carts if they can’t find a quick answer to their questions. Similarly, studies by Barilliance have found that the average ecommerce cart abandonment rate is around 78%. Without email automation to provide quick and personalized responses to questions, brands are at risk of losing sales…and customer loyalty.

Email Automation: How it Works

With 90% of customers expecting a response to customer service questions in 10 minutes or less, it’s important that brands are responding in a quick and personalized manner. Most consumers are comfortable with using email for customer service. In fact, 54% of customers used email for customer service, making it the most used digital channel.

Instead of generating a generic response, EVA mimics the live agent responses to preserve the human feeling by: identifying the need expressed in an email, coding the need appropriately, drafting a tailored email based on the best responses written by human agents, using a goodwill calculator to establish appropriate compensation if necessary, and entering the queue for an agent to review before sending.

3 Ways Email Automation Drives Customer Loyalty

1. Develops a Long-Term Relationship

There is a direct correlation between positive brand experience and customer loyalty. When customers feel valued, the odds of repeat purchases increase. Research shows that nearly 70% of customers would spend more money with a company that has excellent customer service. Even further, 50% of digital device consumers will become loyal customers if they receive personalized content from a company and email automation can do just that.

According to Microsoft, 69% of U.S. consumers say customer service is very important when it comes to their loyalty to a brand. Customer support interactions represent a high-stakes, high-risk moment along the buyer’s journey. Although it’s only one factor throughout the entire customer journey, replying as quickly as possible to resolve the customer’s issue demonstrates you value their time and their business, which helps build loyalty, and lifetime value.

2. Provides Positive Brand Experience

Responding to emails in a timely manner can fall to the wayside, especially when agents dedicate their efforts to more difficult live interactions. On average, it takes live agents more than five minutes to read, digest, and respond to a customer’s query properly. EVA can process incoming emails and prepare them for agent QA in near real-time while preserving high response quality and accuracy.

Customers expect almost immediate, personalized responses, and a brand’s image could be at stake if those expectations aren’t met. Meeting the expectations is critical as 56% of consumers say that ‘the overall enjoyment of their experience’ is important in their decision to buy a product or service. Email is the preferred customer service communication method for customer service for 62% of customers. Brands can’t afford to ignore optimizing the email response process.

3. Ensures High Support Standards

Email automation provides flexibility to meet demand, even during the busiest of times. Email automation rises to the challenge of handling the inevitable influx of emails during busy seasons and finding the answers to entirely new types of questions that contact center agents may not know. Customer service teams will be able to keep email backlogs low and response times short, keeping your customers happy and building customer loyalty along the way.

Bringing It All Together to Drive Customer Loyalty

Email automation and customer loyalty go hand-in-hand, especially in the age of COVID-19. Customers have shifted shopping behaviors to primarily focus on online experiences. Given that customers can shop online at any hour, the expectation of around the clock responses grows. Automation technology gives you the ability to provide seamless personalized experiences without additional work. With the use of email automation, you can ensure that their customers will receive fast responses at all hours of the day, which will make customers more likely to stay loyal to your brand.

Are you ready to increase your customer loyalty by eliminating your email backlog and creating personalized responses? Contact Astute today to schedule a demo of this revolutionary solution.