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Customer Service Automation: How to Do It Right

Customer service automation has been around for a long, but it is getting better as technology develops. That’s a good thing: rather than decreasing the importance of humans, automating important operations allows them to execute their jobs more effectively.

However, automation should not be done recklessly. It should be the outcome of meticulous preparation and should be based on the needs and expectations of customers.

So, if you want to automate customer service or improve your existing automated procedures, check out our guide — it’s jam-packed with benefits, suggestions, and tactics to get you started.

What is the definition of customer service automation?

Customer service automation is the practice of minimizing the number of contacts between customers and customer service representatives.

This places automated customer service at the center of customer service and includes aspects such as:

  • Chatbots powered by AI
  • Automation of email
  • Bases of knowledge
  • Actions that are triggered
  • IVR
  • CRM workflow automation

What are the benefits of computerized customer service?

Customer service automation improves efficiency, lowers costs, enables continuous 24-hour support, and aids in data collection and analysis.

Here’s a more complete assessment of all potential advantages. Automated customer support can assist you in the following ways:

Enhance efficiency and speed

This is certainly the most obvious and significant advantage of automation. When it comes to non-complex consumer enquiries, organizations can considerably speed up issue resolution by using software that can fetch responses from a database in seconds.

Behind-the-scenes operations will also be sped up by automation: consider how much time customer support agents spend filling out forms or updating information. In fact, by 2024, 69 percent of a manager’s activity might be automated.

Provide after-hours service.

Some businesses may need their personnel to work shifts to provide around-the-clock service, however this is not always possible (and is often unpleasant for human agents). Automation allows you to provide help 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and ensure that no customer is ever left hanging.

Lower service costs

As previously said, automation eliminates the cost of shifts – you no longer need to recruit more workers than you need or pay overtime. And, as speed increases, so does the number of issues your company can fix in the same amount of time, because automated programs may serve several consumers at the same time.

According to research, the benefits are clear: for example, 74 percent of IT directors claim process automation has helped them save at least 11-30% of time previously spent on manual operations.

Improve the user experience for human agents

We’ve already covered how automation may help address simple customer inquiries in seconds. Customers will gain, but agents will as well, because they will no longer have to waste time answering simple and repetitious FAQs. Instead, they can concentrate on resolving more complex issues that may have a higher influence on client satisfaction.

Improve consistency

It can be challenging to maintain the same tone and voice across communications, especially when it is influenced by each individual, their experiences, and even their changing moods. As a result, the “face” of the organization that clients see might be somewhat inconsistent. The danger of human error is also a legitimate concern. However, automation may eliminate errors and ensure that the brand voice is heard consistently in every consumer engagement.

Data and analytics should be streamlined.

The key here is the integration of several systems. Most automated services do not occur in a vacuum; instead, the most effective customer experience systems give various paths to automation and interface with CRMs and other datasets. This manner, data is centralized and easily available for analytics and reporting.

Furthermore, by gathering and analyzing various data points, automation can assist you in tracking KPIs and ensuring you satisfy your SLAs. You can, for example, set up notifications to warn you when you’re about to miss a goal.

Customize interactions

When data is swiftly collected and evaluated (and multiple systems are integrated), it is possible to treat each consumer as an individual and cater to their distinct demands. Chatbots, for example, can determine purchasing history and provide appropriate recommendations automatically.

What are the drawbacks of computerized customer service?

The major problem with automation is that it lacks human interaction. It can also be challenging to set up (and keep track of). Here’s a more in-depth look at some of the disadvantages of customer service automation:

It lacks the human touch.

This is a built-in contradiction in the concept of automated service. On the one hand, as previously said, automation makes personalization efforts much easier, and the benefits of avoiding errors and lowering costs are significant.

On the other hand, the same absence of human resources implies that customers have no one to turn to. Customers are nonetheless aware that they are speaking to a machine rather than a human. When human agents and automated services are not effectively integrated, this can be extremely frustrating. According to 30% of customers, the most annoying feature of poor customer service is not being able to reach a live agent.

Pro tip: Combine automated personalization with exceptional human service by integrating human-reliant channels like as live chat and video chat with channels such as chatbots and knowledge bases.

It’s complicated.

Things are likely to go well if you appropriately build up a knowledge base, an AI chatbot, or an automated email sequence. But until you do, getting it correctly will take time and work. Chatbot design, for example, is a science in and of itself; there are even professionals in the area that do this precise job.

Choose the right software – it can be a huge assist in correctly setting up customer service automation. Some crucial characteristics to look for are unified customer profiles (which allow you to retain client data in one place) and omnichannel capabilities (which allow you to smoothly integrate all customer contact channels and other systems).

It endangers jobs.

The problem is that technology is not designed to replace humans. It is intended to help them accomplish their duties more efficiently and to reduce repetitive chores. However, this is not always the case. According to studies, 43 percent of organizations intend to downsize their personnel as a result of technological integration and automation. This is because technology may entirely automate a variety of duties.

However, automated software is still incapable of solving extremely complicated problems, which may explain why, according to the same study, another 34% of organizations aim to increase their personnel owing to technological integration.

Pro Tip: Rather than eliminating occupations, technological disruption is more likely to alter them. Plan ahead of time for personnel management, retraining, and job redefining.

Three well-known customer service automation systems

There are numerous methods for businesses to leverage automation, but three in particular stand out: chatbots, self-service, and triggered activities. Here’s what you should know about each of them:

Chatbots powered by AI

Chatbots are excellent for answering routine enquiries. Your chatbot can be immediately linked to your knowledge base and get responses in real time. It can also be programmed to answer specific questions that people ask over time (artificial intelligence implies that the chatbot will continue to learn as it interacts with humans). Chatbot software, for example, employs NLP to recognize variations in client enquiries.

Personalization can also be accomplished with AI chatbots. We already suggested using purchasing history to make recommendations. They can also refer to consumers by name and keep track of the information they supply so they don’t have to ask for it again later.

The most significant advantage of chatbots is that they can be personalized. Their scripts do not have to be dull; they can have a conversational tone that draws the attention of the customer.

Self-service

Customers don’t have the time or patience to wait on the phone or write an essay in a live chat window to obtain a response, therefore self-service is here to stay. Search engines have already educated us to discover quick answers with easy searches, and customers want businesses to provide the same experience.

In this way, your knowledge base can serve as a resource for both customers and staff. It counts as automation if it’s easy to search, well-organized, and well-written: whomever searches for an answer and finds it doesn’t have to waste time asking other humans.

Triggered activities for improved workflow

Automated workflows are a basic concept, yet they can have a significant impact on user experience. Consider a client who wants to ask a question regarding their receipt and another who wants to know about product availability.

With an automated system, each of them will speak directly to the person most relevant to their enquiry – the first to accounting, and the second to a chatbot that can answer the question promptly or an agent with inventory access. There is no need for back-and-forth or manual routing in the background.

The same may be said about data. Data is automatically collected and evaluated, and automated actions can be triggered. For example, if a consumer begins purchasing various pieces of ski equipment, an email with further similar products can be sent to them. If a consumer continues to check things up in the knowledge base, the chatbot can inquire if they need further assistance. This is the fundamental concept of proactive customer service, which can elevate digital interactions.

Customer service automation

Here are seven actions to take if you want to increase the level of automation in your customer service operations:

1. Determine your requirements.

The first question to ask is, “Do I need automation?” If your team is constantly overloaded by repetitious queries, you very well may. Or if you’ve noticed indicators like average handling time increasing. Examine the state of your customer support experience to identify if and where automation can help to eliminate inefficiencies. It’s also a good idea to assess your present technology stack and identify any holes that must be filled.

Of course, knowing your target is essential for any efficient customer service approach. If you market mostly to millennials, for example, you may afford to experiment with technology more because this generation (and those following) are more familiar with automation and artificial intelligence. In contrast, prior generations may still prefer to communicate via phone and email, therefore automation implementation may need to be phased in.

So, before you install customer-facing solutions, make sure you understand what your audience wants.

2. Create a chatbot

Setting up a chatbot might be the foundation of your company’s customer care automation. Fielding requests, rerouting to the appropriate agents, and data collection – a chatbot can accomplish all of this in the background at no additional expense to you.

Begin with simple chatbot software that will assist you in setting up or refining your chatbot. Once you’ve established the proper system, focus on developing the appropriate chatbot scripts. Create variants on common queries your clients ask. Then, create clear responses – they should be crisp and easy to understand, but also have some personality (for example, play with emojis and gifs).

3. Increase your knowledge foundation.

The technology required to establish a support center is frequently included in your customer experience solution. However, it takes some effort to ensure that everything is correctly set up, well-designed, and neatly structured.

For example, it is beneficial to investigate the types of queries customers are asking and ensure that the answers are available. Create well-written knowledge base articles by organizing topics into intuitive categories.

4. Use templates and routing.

Every time your agents speak with a customer, they do not have to recreate the wheel. Simply provide them with a few templates to assist them in developing consistent and helpful responses. Email marketing and other parts of consumer communications can also benefit from templates. Customer experience platforms frequently have built-in templates that you may use or customize to suit your needs.

Routing is another aspect of automation that should be implemented as soon as possible. Of course, software is required for this – your CRM, marketing platform, or even your chatbot can handle query routing.

5. Integrate channels and people

The only way to speed up customer service without sacrificing the human factor is to give your consumers options. Your emphasis may differ depending on your audience, but it’s always better to have channels available and to be able to turn them off and on as needed.

Fortunately, there are platforms that can assist you with this. Channels no longer have to be distinct; they can be integrated into the same solution. That way, you can effortlessly blend automated and human customer care without data loss or inefficiencies. Chatbots can be linked to live chat, email, and phone support, for example. This enables a consolidated perspective of customers, resulting in improved personalisation.

It’s best to start small if you’re just getting started. Consider automating essential procedures or queries. For example, before you release your chatbot, it doesn’t need to know or understand everything; instead, train it to answer a few FAQs and maintain training it over time.

6. Agent education is essential.

Agents require training not just to learn how to manage automated workflows, but also to understand how to progress to more difficult jobs after customer service automation is implemented in your organization. Ascertain that agents understand which technologies are employed and why, as well as how to handle instances where automation fails.

Ironically, technology can also help with this. For example, if a chatbot is unable to assist a client and refers the inquiry to a live agent, the live agent should be able to see the information the customer previously provided to the chatbot. They shouldn’t have to request it again. Using software that maintains updated customer profiles and displays historical customer encounters can assist with this. This is a terrific approach to have more successful conversations.

7. Obtain feedback

Are you unsure whether your clients will appreciate customer service automation? Inquire with them. Also, urge them to depict shifts in perspectives across time.

You can include questions about automated service in normal NPS or CSAT surveys or submit them separately. What is more important is to pay attention to feedback and act on it. Most customers do not anticipate their thoughts to be translated into action, thus proving them incorrect will benefit your organization.