Why customer experience automation needs empathy in 2020

Research findings from 4,000 consumers and 600 brands

OpenMarket – November 14, 2019

Here’s an exciting revelation: the automation of customer experience doesn’t mean you have to compromise the quality of service your customers receive.

In fact, the right kind of automation can send satisfaction levels soaring – and develop deep empathetic bonds.

Our Empathy in the age of AI research – a survey of more than 4,000 consumers and 600 CX leaders – examines how brands can stay close to customers while gaining automation-related efficiencies.

We asked consumers what they think brands can do to be considered empathetic.

Their top five answers were:

1 Deliver the right amount of communication (enough to help, not to waste time)
2 Understand channels consumers want to use in different situations
3 Be more proactive in communications, anticipate problems and offer support
4 Use technology to make communications simple, engaging and interactive
5 Ensure communications are integrated across channels

Now compare and contrast these answers with concerns voiced by CX leaders about their current customer interactions. The top five were:

1 Communications are too generic / not personalized
2 Not knowing which channels to use and when
3 The complexity of customer experience
4 Too much communication
5 Low levels of engagement

A picture begins to emerge about the type of automated customer experiences brands should be offering.

And these types of experience clearly require good data collection and analysis, personalization, automation, and multi-channel technology.

And let’s not forget about the need for rock-solid, secure, global and always-on communication networks that allow conversations to take place reliably and safely.

Which customer experience channels should be automated

But what type of channels do consumers prefer in different situations? The research uncovers many interesting preferences.

For example, 60% of consumers say they find it less stressful to deal with brands via messaging than by email.

And 83% say they are likely to receive and read mobile messages more quickly than every other channel.

Mobile messaging emerges from the research as a key channel to carry out many of the daily, interaction-intensive tasks previously carried out by humans.

But a key point: much of the time it needs to be used alongside email and human interaction.

Why is empathetic customer experience important?

The stakes are of course high.

The research reveals empathetic interactions make customers feel valued and more likely to continue to engage with your brand.

Nearly nine out of ten (86 per cent) of consumers would spend more money with a brand sensitive to their needs. Meanwhile, 90 per cent would recommend an empathetic brand to others.

So the imperative for brands is clear.

Automating processes makes sense from a business-efficiency point of view.

But a considered and well-planned move to automated CX could also help you form valuable empathetic bonds with consumers.

Find out more by downloading the Empathy in the Age of AI research.

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