How To Automate Customer Relationship Management

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A customer relationship is best managed through human interaction. However, technology can help automate certain components of the process that improve the engagement between a business and its customers.

Customer relationship management can be a lengthy process. A typical customer relationship cycle starts with a prospect being added to your sales or marketing pipeline and can continue after they are converted to a paying customer. In some cases, CRM can also include the process of contract renewals that happen at the end of the customer cycle. Handling these various customer-centric processes over such a long duration of time can be challenging, especially when you are handling hundreds or thousands of prospects and customers. In this article, we will take a look at a few guidelines to automate the customer relationship management process.

Lead Generation Automation

Lead generation automation is also more popularly known as inbound marketing. This is the use of strategies such as SEO, social media marketing and content marketing to build a sustainable list of new leads to your business. While there are tools that can help you automate these marketing processes, we would not recommend them. This is because such marketing strategies rely on establishing authority. Using an automated tool to optimize your website or interact on social media may reduce the impact of such platforms on your lead generation process.

It is, however, good practice to automate the process of nurturing the leads generated through these inbound marketing processes. Lead generation is a continuous process and at any point, the leads you have acquired may be at various stages of the customer lifecycle. Automating the nurturing process through scheduled newsletters or phone calls can not only help your business manage thousands of prospects at once but is also ideal in optimizing your conversion rates.

Onboarding Automation

Once a customer has been signed up, the next step is in educating them about the various features and services that you offer. A customer’s satisfaction and loyalty to your business depends on how seamlessly they are able to work with your tool. This is possible by getting them over the learning curve through onboarding. Onboarding can, however, be a time-consuming affair and may not make financial sense for a lot of businesses.

Automating the onboarding process not only ensures that your customers are adequately trained to use your product but also helps in executing this without consuming too many resources. For instance, you could create a course book with multiple chapters to help your customers through the various features of your product. This can be integrated into a learning management system (or LMS for short) that your customers may access from. Modern LMS tools are cloud-based and let the learner access the course from anywhere, using any device and also learn at their own pace.

This is a win-win for both your customers and your business. Traditionally, onboarding is done in a classroom environment or over a video conference. In either case, the training is limited to a finite number of learners from the customer’s side. Knowledge transfer among other workers is often outside the purview of the business. With an automated onboarding system, each employee at your customer’s end may access the same onboarding programs without the need for additional training hours from the business.

Support Automation

Not all components of sales or technical support need to be automated. Customers like to engage with a human agent to get their queries answered and it is hence important for any business to invest in a 24×7 live support. However, there are some elements of support where automation can make life easy for your customers.

The first is with chatbots. Chatbots are an interesting integration of live customer support with documentation and knowledge base that make it possible for a customer to get answers to generic questions about the product right from within the product window. Support automation may also be made available for other generic tech requests like requesting the latest price sheet, inventory report or changing passwords. These are support requests that do not really need a human intervention and by automating these components, you may ensure that your customer gets their requests fulfilled with very short turnaround times.

A customer relationship is best managed through human interaction. However, technology can help automate certain components of the process that not only brings down the inefficiencies in the system but also improves the engagement between a business and its customers.



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