Automation isn’t a new concept in the customer service market. Certain aspects of automation have been around for decades, and they continue to evolve at a rapid pace. For example, the self-service software market is expected to reach $24.9 billion by 2026.
As technology evolves and the customer landscape changes, the tools we can use to automate customer support are constantly changing. We now have AI to interpret customer feedback and chatbots that are able to respond to questions they receive with natural language processing.
Of course, the key to the success of any customer service strategy is to ensure that your technology doesn’t get in the way of delivering exceptional, personalized experiences.
What is Automated Customer Service?
Automated customer service is a relatively broad term that encompasses anything that can manage customer experiences on your behalf. Chatbots, virtual assistants, and even self-service troubleshooting tools are all automated tools that can speed your customers’ path to issue resolution and increase satisfaction.
While there will always be a need for humans in the CX landscape, rapidly increasing customer demands, and expectations mean that Automated Customer Service is a growing trend. With the right technology, you can provide a better overall experience for your customers by enabling them to:
- Complete multiple tasks at once: Customers can ask chatbots questions and get the answer in-between other tasks. This can be much more efficient in a fast-paced world.
- Choose the best service options for their needs: Depending on the situation, your customer can choose from an automated chatbot service, a self-service troubleshooting solution, or even accelerating a conversation to a discussion with a human being.
- Get quick solutions faster: Automated tools can quickly sort through information and provide immediate potential solutions to problems.
Automation also helps businesses because they have fewer employees to hire and fewer human errors to deal with. Automation rules can greatly increase efficiency and relieve your employees of repetitive tasks, allowing them to focus on what they do best.
How to Implement Automated Customer Service
The most important thing to remember about automated customer service is that it should be a complement to your existing CX strategy, not a complete replacement. Your customer still needs to feel like they’re having a personal, human experience.
This can be a difficult balancing act. For example, accessing information about your customer through a chatbot can provide more personalized service. However, too much information used in every conversation can make you come off as creepy or overbearing.
Here are some tips to get you on the right track.
1. Focus on Speed
In today’s customer service landscape, speed is everything. The faster you can resolve issues for your customers, the happier they’ll be. So look for ways to improve the speed of resolution for any customer service issue.
A bot that can answer common questions in your business immediately means your customers don’t have to waste time calling your contact center and waiting for a response. The ability to troubleshoot issues themselves means your customers can find the root cause of their problem and potentially fix it themselves without having to wait for a technician.
Troubleshooting can also help reduce the time it takes to resolve the issue, as your customer will have all the information they need to guide the service representative they need to work with on their problem.
Remember, when providing tools for your customers to automate their self-service experience, focus on the user experience. Offer multilingual support through your chatbots (70% of customers are more loyal to companies that speak in their native language), and provide easy-to-understand instructions.
Also, pay attention to your customers’ feedback when it comes to automated solutions. They may be able to give you tips on what strategies you need to change to get the most out of your new approach to customer service.
2. Use Automated Routing
Automated customer routing is one of the easiest and most effective ways to bring automation to your customer experience. For example, you can develop a bot for your contact center system that identifies your customer’s needs as soon as they call.
This bot can listen to the context of a conversation and pick out keywords in the customer’s request to ensure the customer is routed to the agent who’s the best knowledge to solve the problem. The same tool can also determine which agents are online and available to answer a call or question at any time, so your customers spend less time waiting.
Automated routing not only moves calls and inquiries through your pipeline faster, but it’s also a great way to reduce the time it takes you to route a customer from one agent to another. With an automation strategy, you can ensure that your customers reach the right person the first time and don’t have to explain themselves multiple times.
When you automate routing, you should also automate routing the right information to your agents. From the moment a call is routed to an agent, they should receive all the contextual information about the customer they need to solve their problem. Screen pops can be a great way to speed up the service process.
3. Know When Not to Automate
Automation can be a great tool to increase your team’s productivity and respond to customer inquiries quickly. However, there are situations where automation may not be the right path for your brand. This is usually when a situation requires a higher level of human empathy and personalization.
Certain customers shouldn’t have to rely solely on automated systems to get solutions to their problems. For example, customers with sensitive issues, such as requests for a downgrade or upgrade, shouldn’t be handled by a robot. If a customer has a specific issue that could result in lost business if not handled properly, you need a human.
High-touch customers with lots of questions and those who need a lot of assistance with difficult processes usually benefit from working with a human rather than a robot. New customers encountering your brand for the first time also deserve a human touch.
Even as AI and automation tools get smarter and can solve complicated problems, there will always be situations where you need to bring a human element to the experience. When this is the case, make sure your customers always have the option to expedite a conversation from a chat with a bot to a call or video conference.
Make the Most of Automated Customer Service
Automation is an incredible tool with endless potential benefits. Used correctly, an automation strategy can enable you to scale your support strategy and give your customers more answers when they need them most. However, automation is just one piece of a much larger puzzle for a great customer experience.
Automation can support your team and ensure your customers have more tools to support themselves, but it won’t solve all of your customers’ problems on its own. The solution still needs to be supported by things like a strong knowledge base and content strategy, as well as a great team of human contributors.
Keep in mind that if you really want to reach your target audience, you’ll need to take other steps besides automation, such as additional training for your team members. But automation can make your life a lot easier. Learn how you can incorporate the benefits of automation into your customer service strategy today. Contact Bulb Tech to learn how we can help you create the perfect strategy.