Customers are increasingly getting used to doing business with brands online. In fact, not only do customers do a lot of research online before they make a purchase, they also want to manage their accounts online, removing the need to contact an organization directly for simple needs, like checking a shipping status or changing their contact details.
This trend is extremely beneficial for organizations that can leverage customers' willingness to self-serve and reduce the burden of work on their own employees. Further, increased self-service helps organizations reduce costs at their contact centers, leaving agents free to deal with issues that are out of the ordinary and require added attention. However, unless organizations have automated processes in place, they will not be able to benefit from customers' propensity to self-serve.
This was a reality for air purifier company Alen Corp. Recognizing that its customers needed to replace their purifier filters regularly, the company launched a subscription program as part of its ecommerce strategy. Lydia Hattrup, senior marketing manager at Alen Corp, explains that six months after a customer purchases an air purifier, he is sent an email recommending he replace the filter.
In order to improve the customer experience, Alen Corp introduced a system that allows customers to sign up for a subscription filter replacement program. "We automatically ship the filter to them every few months, depending on their preestablished criteria," Hattrup notes. "They don't even have to remember to order a new filter."
In theory the system sounded viable, but in reality a lack of automation meant a lot of backend work from Alen Corp's employees. "Customer service representatives had to go in every day to process the orders," Hattrup explains. To further complicate matters, customers couldn't easily access their accounts to make changes to their subscriptions, for example delay an order that wasn't needed, leaving them with no option but to contact the company.
Alen Corp wanted to change the system and give its customers the ability to make changes to their subscriptions. Further, the company also wanted to give customers more flexibility as to when they would get their shipments instead of having to choose from pre-set frequencies. "We wanted them to be able to choose any monthly frequency," Hattrup explains.
In order to improve its system, last year Alen Corp implemented OrderGroove's subscription platform. Hattrup notes that the automated system means that once a customer signs up, there is very little effort required from the customer service team. "We gave customers control over their subscriptions, allowing them to choose the frequency of replacement shipments," she says. "They can choose to delay an order without having to cancel the whole subscription."
In a bid to improve customer experience, the system allows Alen Corp to automatically email customers once the order is shipped, alerting them that they would be receiving their replacements shortly.
Apart from giving customers more flexibility and a better ability to self-serve, the new system is also helping Hattrup's six-strong team be more efficient. The automated processes are saving the customer service team a few hours each day which would previously have been spent inputting orders or updating customer profiles. "Given the size of the team, it's saving us a lot of time," Hattrup says. "It opens time to interact with customers and handle issues rather than deal with processes," she notes.