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73% of Customers Say “Experience” Is Key to Loyalty — How to Use Automation to Boost Retention and Growth

Authored by: Zach Tabor + Jon Swisher

Do you remember your last amazing customer experience? Maybe you were so delighted you told several friends. Perhaps you shared the details on social media. Regardless, research says that in that moment, your brand loyalty grew fast.  

Nearly three-quarters of customers (73%) report that a good experience is a key influencer in their brand loyalty. What’s more, organizations with superior customer experience bring in nearly six times more revenue than competitors that lag in this area.  

So, how can you zero in on the elements that make the largest impact?  

The processes that hold you back  

When a customer needs something, they expect it faster than ever before. For example, imagine you’re a healthcare payer, and a member believes you should have paid a claim that you didn’t. The member is upset, so they get in touch with your company. But resolution takes many days, and every moment the customer waits, the experience erodes. So instead of sharing a positive experience, the member says:  

They don’t really care.  

They’re so inefficient. 

Every time I call, I have to explain everything all over again.  

And so on, and so on.  

It’s not your team’s fault; often, the problem resides with manual and slow processes that hold them back. Improving customer experiences requires you to speed up clunky, slow processes.  

But where do you start?  

You could start in many places, but often the best place is with your customers.  

Spotting customer experience breakdowns  

Most customers want to share what’s interfering with their experience. You just need to ask. For example, a member might have a grievance against their healthcare provider and feel they weren’t treated fairly. The member submits a grievance to their healthcare payer, and even though the payer follows regulations for processing times, the regulations don’t account for the customer experience. And every moment the member waits creates more friction — and frustration — in that experience.  

Consider the following 

  • 94% of customers expect a response within 24 hours when reaching out through email.  
  • 96% of customers want a response within five minutes when they make a phone call. 
  • 82% of customers consider a fast resolution of their issue to be an important factor in defining the quality of their experience.  

Once you talk with your customers and learn where experiences fall short, you can identify the processes involved in those experiences — and leverage automation to fix them.  

Why automation is the missing link to experience  

You’ve spoken with your customers, identified their problems and identified processes needing improvement. Now comes this question: Are these processes good candidates for automation?  

A few questions to consider: 

  • Is the process repetitive? A couple of examples are entering information manually into a spreadsheet or sending emails.  
  • Does the process have the potential for human errors? If so, the risk is often reduced with automation.  
  • Is the process rules based? A process with clear rules is often a good candidate for automation.  

If you answered yes to any of the above questions, there’s a good chance that automation will help speed up processes.  

However, processes that may not be good candidates include exception-based processes. These are often best left with your knowledge workers. Automation is also challenging to apply when there aren’t clear process rules.  

When in doubt, talk with an  automation partner and get their take on whether a process is a good fit. An expert in this area can help you correctly select processes that provide the largest impact.  

And once you implement automation, don’t forget to close the loop with your customers who shared feedback. Share details about the changes and ask what they think. This communication will help the customer feel heard and understood and will positively impact loyalty.  

 

Playing the long  game with automation  

Fixing slow, manual processes with automation is a long-term strategy. Sure, you’ll need to invest up front, but the potential payoffs are significant. Time and future cost savings add up fast, and you can easily calculate projected ROI to make a case for getting your budget approved. Additionally, consider the hidden saving realized by improving customer experience, including customer retention, loyalty, and future growth.  

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