AI's Cleared Your Inbox. Now What? ⚡️

Greetings, CX Gods!

December has arrived in all its glory. While some of us on the CX side are focused on ensuring all those packages reach the customers in time for the holiday, something even bigger is on the horizon. 

2024 is about to hit us squarely in the face.

Our industry is at a pivotal juncture. The past few years have been a relentless lesson in change – the only true constant – showing us that you must adapt to thrive.

As acquisition costs have increased and VC funding has dwindled, the path to profitable and sustainable growth is more important than ever before. 

Retention folks, our time is here. 

As leaders, it’s our moment to step up; we’ve got an opportunity to lean in and become retention advocates and leaders. 

But here's the thing – stepping up doesn’t necessarily mean increasing the hustle and grinding more; it's about strategically recalibrating to work smarter, not harder. 

Imagine a world where AI handles repetitive, monotonous tasks. This shift allows you to concentrate on broader business strategies to create customers who purchase repetitively and become brand advocates. 

The question I’ve had for months now is this:

If AI can save you time in the inbox, what would you do in that time instead? 

What are the large levers you can pull to push the business forward if you had more time on your hands?

This week’s newsie is brought to you by Siena AI. They're doing something pretty unique in the CX space that I think deserves your attention.

Imagine an AI agent that doesn't just respond to your customers but truly understands them. That's Siena AI for you. They've crafted a customer service experience that feels more human, blending empathy with technology in a way that genuinely stands out.

What Sets Siena Apart:

1. Empathy at Scale: Siena’s AI isn't just efficient; it brings your brand's personality to life in every interaction, making customers feel genuinely understood and valued.

2. Efficiency with Heart: Whether it's managing subscriptions or tackling complex queries, Siena’s AI does it all, but with a personal touch that sets it apart.

3. Intelligent Decision-Making: Their CORE reasoning-based engine goes beyond pre-defined scripts. It's about intelligent, nuanced decision-making that truly understands customer needs.

Siena currently scores a 4.81 out of 5 on the CSAT scale based on 50,000+ customer satisfaction surveys sent by their customers

  • Kitsch: Boosted revenue by $46,340 in just 90 days with Siena AI.

  • Simple Modern: Automated 79% of their support tickets, significantly streamlining their process.

  • Everyday Dose: Saved over 400 hours since working with Siena and they automate 90% of their social media.

For my readers, there's a special treat. Siena AI is offering an exclusive 3-month free trial

Just schedule a chat with their team and mention that Eli Weiss sent you. It's a fantastic opportunity to see what empathic AI can do for your customer service.

So, if you're looking to elevate your CX game and want to do it with technology that's as empathic and smart as it is efficient, give Siena a look. It's about making every customer interaction count, and with Siena, that's exactly what you'll get.

Part 1: Data to Decisions

I’ve seen CX leaders go in one of two directions. It’s either pure gut or more Excel sheets than we should legally be allowed to have. 

What if our gut decisions had a little bit more brain in them? 

AI has this knack for sifting through the chaos of customer data. It’s like having an analyst on your CX team reveal what customers are doing.

Sam Altman of OpenAI has championed the use of technology to augment human intelligence, not replace it. He believes in leveraging data for strategic decision-making. 

In CX, this translates to using AI to analyze customer interactions and behaviors, providing insights that go beyond surface-level understanding. It’s about making decisions rooted in data, not just intuition.

Some examples:

Predictive Analysis: Predictive analytics is where AI starts flexing. You’d be shocked as to how much previous behavior predicts future ones. 

For us in CX, that means we always get one step ahead. Using data from previous customers to understand better what other customers on a similar journey might do in the future is an excellent use of AI. 

Personalization: Everyone talks about personalization like it’s some massive feat. TBH, a good AI tool can kinda take you there. AI takes individual customer data and churns out experiences so spot-on customers wonder if we’re mind readers.

Everything from previous convos to what they have ordered or browsed is info you have readily available; you just need a tool that will pull it all together… in seconds. 

Easy Decisions: With AI, decisions get an upgrade. It’s not about throwing out your expertise; it’s about augmenting it with insights that are as sharp as they are relevant. Think of AI as that team member with the stats to support their suggestions.

Should we refund this order? Is this customer just messing with us? Ingesting all their previous communications with us and order history is probably the first place to start. 

Real-World Application: Consider the scenario of a CX leader using AI to analyze customer feedback and sales data. The AI uncovers a trend: customers are seeking more sustainable product options. With this insight, the CX leader gets the company towards eco-friendly practices, tapping into customer values and driving brand loyalty.

Part 2: AI's Cleared Your Inbox. Now What?

So, your inbox is no longer a black hole, thanks to the AI gods. Great. Here’s where you can actually flex those CX muscles and make an impact:

1. The Surprise and Delight Play: With the mundane out of the way, it's time to get creative. We're talking about crafting those ‘wow’ moments for customers, but not the kind that makes them question your sanity:

Think of personalized gestures that show you’ve been paying attention. Maybe it’s a custom gift or a thoughtful gesture on their one-year anniversary with your brand or their 5th order on subscription?

Even better if it feels unscalable and magical. 

It’s not just about the big purchases. Recognize the little things that show loyalty. Letting them know they’re more than just a number.

2. Dialing Up Customer Loyalty: Now you’ve got time to dive deeper into what makes customers stick around. 

Create a program that gives your top customers real reasons to boast about your brand. Don’t give them the same offer as your welcome popup; make it worthwhile.

I’ve seen some brands that drive 5-10% of total revenue from referral programs and a good chunk from loyalty programs too.

The beauty of a good referral program is that as much as you offer, it’s still probably a lot less than your traditional CAC on Meta, etc.

3. Supercharging Your CX Team: Time to evolve your team from just support gurus to strategic thinkers. 

Pinpoint areas for improvement and customize training that genuinely enhances skills. Make it count, whether it's sharpening product knowledge or upping their empathy game.

You may even want to train or hire a customer journey specialist, a voice of customer specialist, or someone who can turn data into strategies. 

4. Collaborating Across the Board: Use this newfound time to build bridges and collaborate for a unified customer experience. 

Share your customer insights with the Product Development folks who create the products so you (your customers) can help shape offerings that customers actually want and need.

Sync with marketing to ensure your customer interactions align with marketing messages so that the message you are putting out aligns with what customers are expecting. 

Part 3: Simple Modern: A Case Study in Smarter CX

The Simple Modern squad took AI and turned their customer experience from "manageable" to "remarkable." 

Here’s the lowdown on how they did it and why it's a big deal.

A Lean Team Overwhelmed by Succes: Simple Modern, known for its trendy drinkware, was riding the viral wave with its 40 oz Trek Tumbler (thanks, TikTok). But success comes at a price: their six-person CX team was swamped. They had a deluge of support tickets – from returns to personalization requests. 

The typical Monday-to-Friday grind meant a weekend backlog filled with basic questions that were eating up precious time. The team was good, but they were mere mortals facing a Herculean task.

AI to the Rescue: Cue the entry of Siena, the AI-powered solution Simple Modern needed. Siena wasn't just any tool; it was like adding a superhero to the team. With the ability to integrate with their existing e-commerce tools (hello, Zendesk, and Shopify), Siena was set to make waves.

Creating 'Hallie,' the AI Persona:  Katie Mitchell, the Customer Experience Specialist at Simple Modern, set up 50 automations, crafting an email persona named Hallie. 

This wasn't just a cold, robotic response machine; Hallie was designed to be as intricate and empathetic as any human team member. Imagine an AI that doesn’t just respond but understands tone, brand voice, and the nuances of human conversation.

From Drowning in Tickets to Smooth Sailing: The Results? Mind-blowing. 

With Hallie at the helm:

  • 79% of customer replies were automated: Hallie handled a whopping 79% of customer interactions. 

  • 98% Customer Satisfaction Rating: It turns out that customers love Hallie. The responses were so on point that customer satisfaction soared to 98%. 

  • 80 Hours Saved Weekly: This is like adding two full-time employees to your team without the hassle of recruitment and training. The time saved allowed the human team members to focus on more complex issues, boosting morale and efficiency.

  • Reduced Returns: An efficient, responsive customer service leads to fewer returns. It’s a win-win for everyone involved.

Expanding AI’s Role Buoyed by Hallie’s success, Simple Modern’s not stopping there. They plan to introduce Siena to their live chat with a new persona and the same level of seamless, empathetic interaction. Katie Mitchell says, "It's been nothing but great so far, so I can only see it getting better from here."

Takeaway for the Rest of Us: Simple Modern’s story isn’t just about a company doing well; it’s a blueprint for the rest of us. It shows how thoughtfully implemented AI can transform a CX team’s effectiveness, customer satisfaction, and overall business efficiency.

Look for ways to increase your efficiency and eliminate the monotonous work, and then take advantage of the newly bought time to create magic. 

That’s it for this week!

Any topics you'd like to see me cover in the future?

Just shoot me a DM or an email!


Eli 💛