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Customer success automation: A guide to a frictionless experience

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When it comes to making customers happy, automation cannot be ignored. It helps companies to save time, optimize their workflows, and become more customer-centric.

In fact, according to our State of AI in Customer Service report, 67% of support leaders believe they are already seeing value from their automation efforts.

To help you get a better grasp on customer success automation, we’ve prepared this guide where you’ll find out:

  • What is customer success automation?

  • What should customer success automation tools offer?

  • Which customer success processes can be automated?

  • Four steps to automate customer success

  • Metrics to evaluate your customer success process

  • Stuart: A company that automated its operations without compromising customer satisfaction.

What is customer success automation?

Customer success automation is a set of proactive measures that a business takes, with the help of technology, to anticipate the needs, satisfy the desires, and exceed the expectations of its customers by automating repetitive tasks and processes. Its main goal is to empower customers to achieve their objectives without friction.

If you’re unsure about the differences between customer success and customer service automation, read this article: How automated customer service works and why you need it.

Which customer success processes can be automated?

Several customer success processes can be automated, including onboarding, proactive support, reminder alerts, high-level troubleshooting, satisfaction monitoring, and feedback collection.

Let’s take a closer look at them.

1. Onboarding customers

McKinsey’s 2022 State of Customer Care survey has found that organizations are planning to increase digital interactions 1.5x by 2024.

During the onboarding stage, you can implement an automation strategy that maps the customer's journey in this first encounter with your products and services, and proactively supports them as they explore, offering helpful tips and next steps.

For example, if they are doing a product tour, you can send automated messages suggesting they take a specific action to move to the next stage.. If customers have a question, the automation platform can direct them to self-service tools like help center articles. That way, they can fully enjoy your products and services, without having to speak to a support rep.

2. Proactive support

According to a Gartner survey conducted from November to December 2021 with more than 4,800 customers, offering proactive support can improve your company’s customer value enhancement score by up to 9%.

In other words, reaching out to customers before they come to you or even realize they need help, can make them feel seen and welcomed by your company. That feeling tends to stick with them, making them more likely to remain loyal to your business.

3. Reminder alerts

Imagine if Netflix had to manually send a message to all of its new customers when their free trial was about to expire. It would be a Herculean, if not impossible, task right? The good news is that it’s completely possible to automate such tasks.

If you think about it, sending a reminder to your customers is a way to proactively reach out and show that you care about that relationship—as long as your messages are relevant and personalized, of course.

4. Monitor customer satisfaction

Gone are the days when companies needed a person glued to a computer screen for hours to find out how satisfied customers were with a product, service, or experience.

Nowadays, it’s possible (thankfully!) to automate data collection for satisfaction surveys such as NPS and CSAT, as well as generate reports on the collected data.

5. Collect feedback

Listening to customers' opinions is one of the pillars of a CS team. From what people say about your products, services, and representatives, it’s possible to outline a concrete plan on how to improve each of these aspects.

With customer success automation, you save time sending surveys, standardizing responses, and analyzing large volumes of data. Thus, your employees can dedicate themselves to what humans do best: critically analyzing a situation and proposing creative solutions to any problem.

What customer success automation tools should offer?

1. Adaptability to your business needs

An indispensable feature of customer success automation tools is flexibility. When evaluating providers, consider, for instance, how well the platforms are able to:

  • Adapt to a growing customer base

  • Process a large volume of data from different sources and ensure their synchronization

  • Comply with cybersecurity best practices (vulnerability assessments, encryption, access controls)

  • Be transparent about pricing and licensing terms

Need help to figure out which tools will help you to run your business? Read this article: The 9 best tools for your early-stage startup tech stack.

2. Ease of setup and use

The next thing to figure out should be how easy the customer success automation tool is to set up and use. After all, few companies can afford to wait several months to have a fully functional solution in place. Think about: 

  • The implementation timeline and requirements: how much time, money, space, and staff you need to dedicate to deployment.

  • Availability of professional support: find out if your chosen provider offers support services during the setup stage or if you will be on your own in this adventure.

Potential disruption to ongoing operations: some instabilities, such as data compatibility issues and dependency on third parties integrations, can happen during the implementation of a customer success automation tool, so it is important to think about them and plan accordingly to minimize inconveniences.

3. Interoperability

A customer success automation platform should also offer interoperability capabilities, which is the real-time and ongoing data exchange between different systems.

For example, when a customer contacts the support team for help with an order that is overdue, the representative records all the details of the complaint in the ticketing tool.

Within an interoperable platform, the customer success team could also have access to this information to send personalized and contextual messages, avoiding communication failures like: “Tell us what you loved most about the product”, when the person has not even received it.

4. Omnichannel approach

Omnichannel support platforms connect multiple touchpoints so customers can use their preferred support channels interchangeably without needing to repeat the same messages over and over.

4 steps to automate customer success

1. Define what success is to your customers

What does success mean to your customers? It can mean any or all of the following:

  • Ability to get help from a company at any time.

  • Autonomy to solve their problems or queries at their own pace.

  • Ease of completing a purchase quickly and securely.

  • Access to multiple payment methods including cash, debit and credit cards, or cryptocurrency. Doing business with a company that is transparent about its data collection, processing, and storage practices.

  • Buying products and services from companies that comply with the principles of corporate social responsibility.

And the list goes on. Your job is to figure out what matters the most to your customer base and make it the cornerstone of your customer success automation plan.

2. Look for pain points and inefficiencies affecting customers

Once you discover what success means to your customers, the next step is to become aware of the pain points preventing your company from getting there. For example:

Long wait times

Nobody likes to be put on hold, especially if you don’t have any idea of how long it’ll take to get help. It’s no wonder that our report, Customer Service Trends 2023, shows that 71% of support leaders plan to invest more in automation in the coming year to increase the efficiency of their team.

Lack of personalization

Our Customer Service Trends 2023 report also indicates that 89% of support leaders believe that personalization is crucial to business growth and can even be a key competitive differentiator. In a society that values individuality so deeply, the use of generic, impersonal communicationS can lead to great dissatisfaction.

A customer success automation platform can help you segment your audience based on demographics (e.g. age, gender, income, nationality), purchase history (i.e. average ticket, repeat purchases, favorite items), or engagement levels with your marketing communications.

This automated targeting, based on relevant criteria to your company, allows you to send tailored messages and offers that resonate with specific segments.

3. Identify high-volume tasks

The third step in your customer success automation journey is to determine which tasks are performed frequently. It's also a perfect opportunity to identify those that require a lot of manual intervention or that have scalability issues, such as:

  • 🤝 Customer onboarding: if you are currently writing every single email to welcome a new person to your business, you need customer success automation tools ASAP.

  • ⌛ Ticket prioritization and routing: Deciding which customer query should be answered first can take up a lot of your reps' time, especially if they don't have clear parameters to establish levels of urgency and delegate to self-service resources or more experienced teammates.

  • 🗓️ Follow-up communications: No more taking hours to keep every person in the loop about their requests and queries it’ll all be taken care of for you.

4. Sync your tech stack

The best automation efforts can break down if your technology stack is not connected properly. Therefore, it’s useful to map out every tool you use and its priority during the integration process. Then, define the data flow and test it to make sure things are running smoothly.

Metrics to monitor your customer success process

The only way to overcome customer success challenges is by measuring your progress, identifying your setbacks, and acting on them. Here are some key performance indicators that will help you track your results and understand your strategy’s effectiveness.

1. Churn rate

Churn rate reveals how many customers have stopped doing business with a company. Typically calculated as the percentage of total customers that dropped off in a given time period, it can be reviewed on an annual, quarterly, or monthly basis.


Churn rate (%) = (Customers at the beginning of the period — Customers at the end of the period) ÷ Customers at the beginning of the period x 100

This is likely the most important indicator of your customer success automation strategy’s performance. When your customers are really happy with what you offer and how they experience it, they're more likely to stay with you.

2. Customer satisfaction (CSAT)

Customer satisfaction (CSAT) is a metric that indicates how content your customers feel about your business, spanning from your product or service to the overall experience you offer at every step of their journey. 

It’s assessed with a survey which asks customers to grade their experience on a Likert scale featuring the following options:

  • 1 - Very unsatisfied

  • 2 - Somewhat unsatisfied

  • 3 - Neither satisfied nor dissatisfied

  • 4 - Somewhat satisfied

  • 5 - Extremely satisfied

For example, after customers complete a purchase, you can send them a CSAT survey to determine how efficient the checkout process was. Then, you can identify blind spots in your customer success automation strategy and plan out the needed improvements.


CSAT (%) = Number of satisfied customers (those rating your 4 or 5) ÷ Total number of responses x 100

3. Customer Effort Score (CES)

Customer Effort Score (CES) is a metric that demonstrates how much effort a customer needs to put in to obtain information, solve a problem, or have a request answered by a company.

Similarly to CSAT, it also comes in the form of a survey with questions like these:

  • How easy was it to get help from our representatives?

  • How easy was it to complete your order?

  • How easy was it to find the help you needed with our self-serve tools?

And the answers could be:

  • 1 - Very easy

  • 2 - Somewhat easy

  • 3 - Neither easy nor hard

  • 4 - Somewhat hard

  • 5 - Extremely hard


CES (%) = (Sum of customer effort ratings ÷ Total number of survey responses) x 100

It’s one of the most important metrics to evaluate a customer success automation approach, as it reveals how easy a business is to work with. Bear in mind that over the course of 2022, 83% of support teams have seen an increase in customer’ expectations regarding the assistance they receive from a business, according to our Customer Service Trends 2023 report.

This data suggests that customers want interactions to be smooth and effortless and automation tools can help you with that. For example, you can use AI-powered chatbots to collect information upfront so you have all the context you need to start solving a problem.

And if the bot isn’t able to answer that specific question or if the customer asks for a human rep, don’t worry. Modern chatbots like Fin can identify the right moment to divert the clients a support rep who will have access to all the information already provided by the customer, preventing them from having to repeat themselves over and over again.

You can also connect your AI bots to a knowledge base and leverage existing help content to provide fast, accurate answers to customer queries.

Want to compare your results with the market average? Read 3 takeaways from the Customer Service Quality Benchmark Report 2023.

Customer success automation example: Stuart

Founded in 2015, Stuart is a leading logistics platform that connects small and big businesses to a fleet of geolocalized couriers. With headquarters in Paris, the company has been using Intercom to provide on-demand customer success and support since 2017.

Stuart’s team switched from Zendesk to Intercom because they needed better support for their growing user base. Email wasn't cutting it, especially for industries like hot food where timing matters. Andrew Baylis, Head of LiveOps and Support at Stuart, explains:

“When your meal is getting cold, [email] is not the right communication channel. We were looking for something far more effective, and that’s where we found Intercom”

Intercom's outbound messaging offered Stuart a faster, more adaptable, and dependable way to connect with clients. Besides replacing email, they also used outbound messaging instead of SMS, their previous communication channel with partner couriers, resulting in substantial monthly savings.

But that’s not all. With Intercom as a tech partner, Stuart found it easy to make customer success automation a reality, even with thousands of operations across Europe. Through the integration of data systems such as Segment with Intercom, Stuart's team can pinpoint and connect with customers according to their behavior within the platform.

For instance, by importing their CRM data into Intercom, Stuart can automate engagement efforts to welcome partner-couriers and clients onboard, and handle various other interactions. The ability to recognize users’ achievements on a large scale while maintaining a personal touch is among the many factors driving Stuart's use of Intercom.

Your customers deserve success, they deserve Intercom

As you’ve seen, customer success automation can be a game-changer for companies and their clients. Simply put, it enables them to do more with less time, effort, and stress a true recipe for happiness.

To help you start off on the right foot, we design a platform that allows you to:

  • Deploy workflows that automate away manual tasks (such as routing, snoozing, and closing out conversations).

  • Build personalized journeys that deliver real value for your customers.

  • Automatically solve customer issues with safe, accurate, conversational answers thanks to Fin, our AI-powered chatbot.

  • Get a head start with dozens of pre-built templates for popular use cases.

Are you ready to leverage the power of our platform across channels? Ask for a demo or start your free trial today.