Why Automation And Personalization Aren’t Polar Opposites

Mike Smith
Mike Smith
August 22nd, 2018
Estimated read time: 3 minutes, 15 seconds

When someone interacts with your software or reaches out to your company, you want the experience to be smooth and professional every time. Unfortunately, some companies maintain consistency through generic, impersonal responses. They don’t take the time to find an API with built-in personalization, leading to an appearance of insincerity.

People Like (Friendly) Robots

Automation and personalization don’t have to be at odds with one another. When automation is done correctly, it comes across as genuine and helpful. Customers generally accept that companies use technology to automate interactions – they just want the experience to feel personal.

Regardless of one’s feelings towards automation, people are talking about it. In an Adobe study of 3 million social media mentions, discussions about automation were up 70% between 2016 and 2017, and most conversations were positive. People like how automation makes mundane tasks easier, speeds up repetitive tasks, and frees them up for creative work.

Automating Authenticity

Some businesses approach automation with their own needs in mind: saving time, saving money, getting more customers, growing market share. Smarter businesses approach automation by putting the customer first. They start by asking questions like:

  • How do our customers prefer to reach out to us?
  • What story are we telling our customers?
  • Why do they prefer us over the competition?
  • What future do they see with us?

The answers to these questions can guide how a business sets up its API for managing products, orders, coupons, subscriptions, billing, and customer service inquiries. The focus should be customer-first and customized. Every message should be part of a story that’s warm, human and sincere.

It’s important to keep in mind that, while 60% of people prefer to interact with a human being for customer service, 40% do not want to speak to a person. That’s why just 6% of grocery stores had self-checkout stations in 1999 but 95% had them by 2007. Supermarket executives realized that almost half their customers preferred it.

But don’t misunderstand: Even in these automated interactions, customers want the “safety net” of knowing real human beings are behind the process. That’s why someone stands by to help out if the grocery self-checkout malfunctions – and that’s why the station’s automated voice thanks you out loud, just like a human would, and prints off coupons that are customized to your grocery-buying history. In its non-human way, it’s trying to be friendly and helpful.

People of Generation X and younger tend to prefer automated help for checkouts – in person and online. They also prefer automation for business interactions like:

  • Checking order status
  • Scheduling appointments
  • Making reservations
  • Asking questions
  • Finding locations
  • Checking balances
  • Renewing subscriptions and orders

With so much demand for both automation and personalization, how do companies craft a careful blend of the two?

Keeping the Customer Promise

The answer can be found in a properly-managed API that has customer service integration. Using a robust ecommerce platform, a company can develop a sincere personality that shines through in every message. When automation is done right – when it is personalized and customized – even the smallest interaction with your company is part of a welcome experience. Your customers begin to trust you.

People strongly prefer buying from companies that seem honest. A study by global communications firm Cohn & Wolfe found that the top quality people demand of brands is communicating honestly about products and services, followed by not letting customers down and acting with integrity.

Automation and personalization are never at odds in a cutting-edge full stack digital commerce platform like FastSpring.

Interested in learning more about incorporating automation into your sales process? Download our guide, What You Need to Know About Selling Online.

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