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Automated customer service must be deeply personal to be successful

Automated customer service must be deeply personal to be successful

There’s a push to automate the entire customer experience, and for good reason. Computers rarely call in sick, and they’re much more cost-effective than a traditional human customer service rep. Plus, customers prefer automated, self-help solutions.

But, automation requires a secret ingredient to outperform humans. That ingredient is personalization.

If you’re asking yourself, “How do I personalize an automated user-experience?” You’re not alone.

Follow the Bread(cookie)crumbs

To personalize the experience, you need to learn everything you can about the end-user. Traditional marketing data on your target audience is helpful, but we need to break things down to the individual user-level.

This is where affiliate marketing and content marketing come into play. By the time someone sees your site, chances are they’ve completed a few Google searches about your brands and products. You need to know what they’re engaging with in order to know if it’s the right time to pitch your product or service.

Even if they haven’t searched for you specifically by name, the problem they’re trying to solve should lead them to a Google search result page with links to your content, or the content of your affiliate marketers.

In either case, when the customer hits your associated content, their computer should receive a tracking cookie. These cookies are everywhere on the web, and they’re used by savvy-marketers to track the journey that customers take to their site.

Continue Building a Customer Profile Based on Interactions with Your Brand

Once the customer has reached your site, you need to continue collecting data on the individual user. You can differentiate individual viewers with cookies, by IP address, or incentivizing visitors to give you their email address (i.e. free newsletter or email marketing offer).

You can also steal a page from your favorite grocery store and offer discounted pricing if they agree to sign-into the site. Free membership in a discount club is a great way to reliably track user interactions.

Follow Amazon’s Lead in Delivering a Custom Automated and Live Support Experience

One of the shining examples in delivering automated, personalized customer service is Amazon. With millions of products in hundreds of niche-markets, they’ve successfully threatened almost every big box retailer.

Offer Custom Add-On Suggestions

When you visit their site, you’ll notice that a significant chunk of their webpage is dedicated to positioning products that compliment previous purchases and relate to past browsing history. You can create site algorithms that look at browsing and purchase history, and then analyze product meta-data to make accurate, personalized product suggestions.

Provide Continuity of Support

Once a customer places an order, the order is attached to their account. After signing into your site, it should be easy for customers to view past orders; the information should include shipment tracking information and opportunities to leave product or service reviews.

And, if there is an issue that requires a live representative, you need to provide a clean pathway to accessing the right rep. This can be done by leading the customer through a couple of self-help options. As they interact with the troubleshooting flow, they’ll provide details that should identify the fastest was to resolve their concern.

Accenture published a survey of customers that discovered the most frustrating aspect of customer service: Customers hate having to repeat their issue as they’re transferred from rep to rep.

Your live rep should be able to pick up right where the automation leaves off. Click-to-call is a great way to automatically connect the customer with the appropriate support, and your customer service team can leverage’s platform to quickly see previous steps the customer has taken and quickly jump into action.

By delivering a personalized automated experience, you can minimize the cost of traditional customer service overhead. The fact that a customer can resolve most issues on their own in the time it would have taken them to wait on hold for a rep will dramatically improve brand loyalty.

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