Artificial Intelligence in Customer Success: Emergence and Outlook

Artificial intelligence in customer success is no longer an innovation but an established best practice. AI has changed the way customer success is defined, placing a digital-first approach at the forefront of CS management. In this blog, we’ll take a look at how AI has redefined customer success in terms of digital technology and delivering success at scale. We’ll review some of the different ways artificial intelligence fuels a digital-first approach to customer success. And we’ll look at how Totango’s AI bot Zoe uses artificial intelligence to facilitate customer success management, pointing toward the future of CS.

How Has Digital Technology Changed Customer Success?

At one time, customer success technology revolved around using the phone, supplemented by email. This promoted a one-to-one model of customer success management, with dedicated CS managers assigned to individual clients. The one-to-one approach set a corresponding limit on how many clients a customer success team could field efficiently. Exceeding this limit tended to overwhelm CS teams and dilute support quality.

Digital technology has transformed the way customer success is delivered and the number of clients who can be supported. The emerging state of the art technology uses a digital-first customer success management model, where tools such as knowledge bases, chatbots and auto-triggered workflows and emails leverage the power of automation to systematically steer customers toward successful outcomes. With this approach, the bulk of customer success is handled automatically, with manual one-on-one support triggered only when human help is needed. Pools of success managers can be called upon as required, rather than necessarily limiting support to dedicated one-to-one CS management, although this can be employed when desired as well. This allows customer success teams to deliver support on a much larger scale than was previously possible. With the right best practices and automated systems in place, a single agent can field thousands of clients efficiently, just like Zoom did.

What Are Some Ways Automation Fuels Digital-first Customer Success? 


The digital-first approach to customer success can be applied throughout every stage of the customer journey, from onboarding through adoption to renewal, expansion, and advocacy. It can also be used to increase the efficiency of support when escalation issues arise. Here are some examples of how automation is fueling digital-first customer success.

Onboarding

During the onboarding phase, customer success depends on achieving outcomes such as:

  • Welcoming customers
  • Setting up passwords and profiles
  • Learning how to log in
  • Getting oriented with navigating product dashboards and menus
  • Learning to use product features
  • Becoming familiar with support tools and in-app messaging

The process of achieving these outcomes can be automated by establishing best practices and setting up digital workflows and monitoring tools which implement them when customers reach appropriate milestones in their onboarding journey. Totango’s Onboard New Customer SuccessBLOC module lets you set onboarding goals for new customers, monitor customer progress through KPIs and trigger automated or manual workflows called SuccessPlays based on what customer data indicates.

For example, if a new customer has not completed their profile within a week, this might trigger an automatic email reminder with instructions on how to complete the process. This type of automation handles standard processes efficiently, saving high-touch customer success managers from having to attend to large volumes of routine requests and freeing up their time to assist customers who truly need manual attention.


Adoption

Promoting customer adoption of product features can be automated in a similar manner through digital technology. Monitoring key performance indicators such as license activations, usage frequency and time spent in-app can alert you to whether customers are actively using your product or specific product features. When data indicates low usage rates, automated or manual workflows can be triggered to steer customers toward more active engagement. The Totango Increase Customer Adoption SuccessBLOC includes out-of-the-box KPIs, dashboards and workflows to help you monitor customer behavior and assist customers with unlocking the full value of your product.

Escalation

Escalation occurs when customers encounter obstacles to achieving their desired outcomes and need support getting back on track. Automating the process of managing escalations can greatly increase the efficiency of your customer support, yielding faster solutions and higher customer satisfaction rates. It’s vital to provide your customers with a quick response that not only solves their issue, but also feels human.

You can streamline escalation management by combining digital monitoring and automated support workflows with digital support tools such as knowledge bases which give customers the answers they need to frequently asked questions. For example, when a customer reaches out for help with a common issue, they might receive an automated email recommending a video tutorial with the solution, along with an invitation to contact a support agent if they need additional help.

Team Management

Technology can also help you manage your customer success teams more efficiently in order to deliver your customers better CS support. Totango’s SuccessTeams feature puts digital technology to use for CS teams to improve focus and productivity. CS managers can organize teams into groups aligned with company organizational structure and set success goals for CS teams just as you would for customers. Data can be segmented so that each team sees the information relevant to the team’s goals. Revenue can be tracked for each team as well as for the company as a whole.

Zoe: A Look at the Future of Artificial Intelligence in Customer Success

Totango’s Zoe, which can integrate with SuccessTeams, offers a preview of the future of artificial intelligence. One of Zoe’s many features is an AI-powered chatbot that allows customer success team members to ask questions in natural language and receive answers from the team’s knowledge base. Zoe interfaces with other collaboration tools teams are already using, such as Slack. This makes it easy for team members to quickly retrieve customer data and knowledge base information needed to provide solutions.

Use Artificial Intelligence to Propel Your Customer Success

Artificial intelligence in customer success has radically changed CS management. Where CS was once a matter of dedicated success managers fielding phone calls, now the cutting edge of CS involves AI platforms delivering automated support at scale supplemented by human help as needed. This new digital-first paradigm permeates the way CS is handled, at every phase of the customer journey from onboarding through escalation, renewal and beyond. Zoe illustrates the new paradigm of artificial intelligence in customer success in action, empowering success teams to use natural language to quickly obtain information needed to help customers.

Zoe integrates with Totango’s Spark customer success management platform, which combines your customer data with key performance indicators, dashboards and automatic workflows called SuccessPlays to optimize your customer experience at each stage of the customer journey. Try it free to experience the cutting edge in automated customer success.

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