Published October 25, 2022
Automation is increasingly common and valuable for client managers, even if we don’t always recognise it.
When we talk about automation, the focus is often on factories and manufacturing. But automation has spread far beyond there to improve many areas of work. Even in the very human, personal world of client management, there are many advantages to handing off tasks to machines.
How can you use automation to improve the productivity of your client service team?
There are several reasons why automation is useful for a client success manager.
The most obvious is that automation can reduce their workload. Acting like a virtual assistant, automated systems can take over mundane and straightforward tasks, fulfilling action items that don’t need a lot of personalisation.
Reducing the administrative work of client success managers free up time to focus on more strategic tasks, such as developing relationships with clients and identifying opportunities for growth. A client success manager who doesn’t have to deal with the little details can instead focus on the big picture and the value-added parts of client management; building high-quality relationships, proactively pursuing new opportunities, and quickly addressing unexpected problems.
Automation isn’t just beneficial for the client success manager. It can also improve the quality of service provided to clients by ensuring that tasks are completed consistently and accurately. When they’re busy fulfilling mundane, repetitive tasks, even the best client success professionals will make mistakes. Small typos lead to wrongly scheduled meetings, inaccurate quotes, emails sent to the wrong addresses, or unclear messages that. Automated systems avoid human errors, improving the accuracy and reliability of client services and providing a smoother client journey.
Automation can also help to record the client journey, tracking and reporting on the progress of work. This can improve communication between the client success manager and clients, as progress is clear and reports are always up to date.
These uses of automation can be translated into a number of benefits for client success managers:
Automation helps manage a large number of clients more efficiently by reducing the need for manual input and processing. With an automated system scheduling action items, keeping records, sending out regular emails, and suggesting next steps, there’s less work per client for a client success manager, and so they can be assigned more clients.
By automating tasks such as data entry and logging communications, automation can improve the accuracy of client data and make sure that records are always up to date. A system that uses conversation intelligence, such as Kaizan can even analyse and tag records, labelling content and tone and flagging issues for follow-up action.
If provided with appropriate templates and client development plans, automated systems can send reminders to employees and clients. This can improve communication with clients by ensuring that messages are timely and tasks are not forgotten by busy team members.
Like any time-saving technology, automation can help to cut costs. By reducing the need for manual input and processing, and so saving time for client success managers, it can reduce staffing costs relative to the number of clients.
Of course, not every part of client management can be automated. Client Success requires a personal touch, an ability to adapt, and a lot of empathy.
So which client success tasks can be usefully automated?
A customer relationship management (CRM) system or client success platform can automatically collect client data, such as contact information, product usage data, and support requests. Depending upon the sophistication of the system, it may also be able to tag, sort, and analyse data, to inform staff decision making.
Not all communication with clients needs to be personalised. Customised Templates, Automatic email or SMS notifications can be set to alert customers of new features, updates, or special offers, as well as to remind them about meetings and invoices, ask their opinions on the company’s work, and ensure that their client journey is progressing smoothly.
A client success platform can automatically send new clients onboarding materials, such as video tutorials, user guides, and FAQs. These can be set to an onboarding schedule or automated to arrive based on the client’s progress. The system can even track their progress and watch for problems, to check that the client is successfully engaging with the system and suggest intervention if needed.
A client success platform can automatically route support requests to the appropriate team member or department. It’s an approach that’s increasingly visible in chatbots and call channelling systems, which direct many clients to a solution without human intervention and send others to the staff who can help them best.
When doing this, it’s important to get the right balance between the benefits of automation and the tolerance of clients. Automated systems will get clients to the right person more quickly and can free up time to answer queries faster. But clients can become impatient if they think that they’re stuck in automatic systems or if the options offered don’t match their needs. Make sure to structure the system for a smooth client journey to the information they need, and provide a clear way out of the automatic system for those who become stuck.
Automated systems can manage renewals. By setting up a customer success platform to send reminders to clients when their subscription is about to expire, you make it easy for them to renew. This makes renewals more likely and saves your team the extra work of chasing up renewals.
Machine learning algorithms such as Kaizan can automatically capture key information discussed during calls and meetings. Using conversation intelligence, they can automate call summaries and capture key phrases to produce a meeting follow-up summary. As well as updating the company’s records, this can be sent directly to the client.
Automated reminders can draw your attention to deadlines, appointments, and other important dates. This can help you avoid missing important action items or forgetting to follow up with clients.
Document management software can help you organise and store client documents. This can help you find documents more quickly and keep track of which documents have been sent to clients. It provides a more complete record of the client journey.
You can save administrative time by setting up finance systems to automatically send out bills and invoices. Because this removes the risk of human error or of delays due to staff being busy, it also helps ensure that invoices are accurate and clients are billed on time.
A good project management tool will keep track of client projects and automate a lot of their administration, including sending out reminders for key tasks. This can keep projects on schedule and ensure that clients are kept up to date on your progress.
Automation is a vital tool in improving the human, personalised work of client management. Automating simple tasks improves their accuracy and timeliness while freeing up client success teams to do what they do best, building relationships to ensure a better client journey.
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