The emergence of automated support
For years, the rise of automated technologies in the CX landscape (e.g. automated support) has caused concern among employers and employees alike. While team members fear that automation will replace human jobs, business leaders worry that automated service will lead to impersonal, inhuman interactions.
However, as tools to automate and improve support strategies continue to evolve, we’re quickly learning that automated support isn’t the problematic concept we once thought.
Rather, automated customer service could be the key to supporting and empowering your teams and leading to more meaningful conversations.
What is Automated Support in 2022?
In the past, automated customer service was a term that referred to clunky IVR systems where customers pressed a button or passed the same request over and over to a not-so-sophisticated machine.
Over time, companies began to introduce slightly more innovative tools in the form of simple chatbots, but even these didn’t exceptionally provide the personal, human experience customers were looking for. Fortunately, the evolution of customer support tools and automated systems means that today’s technology is much more advanced than it used to be.
Today, there are chatbots capable of understanding a variety of questions from different customers, and virtual agents equipped with natural language processing capabilities.
The adoption of powerful carefully selected automated support tools has significant implications for businesses and customers alike. According to some studies, customer service automation helps companies reduce customer service costs by 30%, increase revenue by 14x, and increase customer satisfaction by 39%.
We live in a world where automated support systems can and should adapt to the specific needs of your business and audience. Chatbots and automated workflows are no longer one-size-fits-all solutions, but highly adaptable tools that can evolve to support your team members and engage your audience.
What Should Automated Support Be?
In today’s customer service landscape, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to automation. For some companies, the ideal solution is a comprehensive RPA portal where customers can troubleshoot common technology issues and automate solutions with a few clicks.
For other brands, an automated support solution will be a simpler solution designed to filter customer requests and needs. For example, a digital customer support portal that can respond to a customer question, offer potential solutions, and then intelligently route the customer to the right human support agent if their issue is still unresolved.
The scope of your support automation system will depend on your business and its unique needs, but some of the most important factors to focus on are:
With any automation strategy, it’s important that you don’t ignore the “human side” of customer service. When implementing your automation workflows, think about how you can make the experience as personal as possible for your audience.
For example, a chatbot could gather information about a customer from their profile to find out what type of product or service the customer was asking about. Virtual agents can be trained to use the customer’s name when it’s mentioned to make the conversation more human. They can also be customized with a range of voices and language options to ensure they’re as appealing as possible to the audience you’re trying to reach.
Another way to ensure the automated experience is personal is to always give your customers options. Let your customers decide whether they want to talk to an intelligent virtual assistant on the phone, chat with a bot on a website, or connect with a live assistant via text message. Also, when your customer talks to your bot, make sure they always have the option to transfer the call to a human agent without having to repeat their request.
In today’s customer support landscape, speed is everything. The most precious commodity your customer has is time. With the right automation strategy, you can address your customer’s need for quick solutions to common problems.
A chatbot may not be able to solve all the problems your customers face on a regular basis, but it can quickly and conveniently sort through information in seconds to see if answers are already available for your customer in your FAQ system or service desk.
Chatbots can also take over much of the triaging process associated with customer support in the modern world. Your chatbot or virtual assistant can gather contextual information about a customer’s problem and then pass it on to a human agent who may need to handle the issue further.
Chatbots and virtual agents can even search the information provided by your customer for keywords, which they can then use to determine which customer service agent has the right skills to resolve an issue as quickly as possible.
Most customers are happy to interact with automated solutions for customer service and support if it means they also have access to an easier, more convenient experience.
Think about what your customers typically need to do on a regular basis without the assistance of a human employee. For example, your customer may not need to talk to a human if they just want to renew their subscription with you for another year.
It’s also unlikely that your customer will need to speak with a human agent if they just want to ask a basic question, such as how to update their billing information or change their contact information. Setting up a simple environment where your customers can quickly ask questions, get answers, and complete quick tasks will save them a lot of time and stress in the long run.
Whatever you simplify with your automation strategy, make sure you always double-check the usability from the customer’s perspective. Make sure access to your bots and virtual assistants is easy when needed, and that customers know how to turn a conversation into a phone call or a case to a customer service agent.
If your biggest concerns about implementing automated support revolve around the idea that you don’t want to “replace” your human team, the best thing you can do is change your thought process. While many companies looking at the new age of automation initially assumed that robotics could eventually replace humans, that concept was quickly dismissed.
Today, we know that humans will always need the human, empathetic experience they receive from other humans for certain interactions. When your customer needs to explain a complex problem or asks for assistance after a particularly bad experience, it’s important to have a human employee available. For this reason, you should always think of automation tools as solutions to supplement employees.
In other words, think of these solutions to support and empower your team, not replace them. With automation tools, you can quickly and effectively free your employees from some of the repetitive tasks that would otherwise take up their valuable time, so they can focus more on the work that needs their skills the most. Automation tools can even help your employees perform better by giving them instant access to information about a customer.
Finally, keep in mind that automating customer support isn’t a one-off. Just as you need to monitor and measure the performance of your human team members to ensure they’re doing their best, you need to track the performance of your automated solutions.
Pay attention to your customers’ satisfaction and what they say about your automated systems when they leave reviews or testimonials on your website. Send out surveys to customers about your automation efforts and track things like customer satisfaction and churn when you implement new tools to see if there’s a significant effect.
Measuring and monitoring your efforts ensures that you can continually improve your approach to supporting automation over time, based on the real needs of your customers and your employees. Getting feedback from your team is also helpful!
Redefining Automated Support
Ultimately, automation won’t solve all your customer support problems on its own. You’ll still need access to the right knowledge base and human employees who can demonstrate empathy and creativity. However, with the right automation strategy, you can expand and improve your CX approach and perhaps set yourself apart from the competition.
Contact Bulb Tech today to learn how we can help you redefine automated support.