Good customer support is built on the foundations of customer engagement and personalization. This is why, with processes moving towards automation, most organizations find themselves asking whether it is truly beneficial to automate customer support. The answer is simple: with customer experience at the core of automation strategies, organizations can improve trust, customer retention, and even loyalty.
What is customer service automation?
As the name implies, customer support automation involves the use of tools that accomplish a series of essential tasks for your agents. Based on the software installed, organizations can free their teams from time-consuming tasks such as responding to emails, answering calls, and managing certain customer queries.
When you automate customer support, you also eliminate instances of customers waiting on hold for long durations, repeating their queries to different agents and feeling frustrated with a slow process.
There are many ways to automate customer support and most tools implement a combination of:
- Auto-generated emails (for instance, a welcome mail when a new customer signs up, a nudge to purchase a product when company data indicates that the customer may be low on supplies, etc.)
- Live chats (chats can begin with questions or prompts for customers to respond to, ensuring that they are aware of the system and how it can help)
- Help desk systems (tools that help organize relevant customer support information so that they are easy to access)
- Knowledge base/FAQs (links to relevant support pages are often shared via live chat or email, while also being readily available for customers conducting searches on their own)
- Tickets (customers can input pertinent information such as their name, contact number, and the query to generate tickets that are sent to agents or bots, depending on the urgency)
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Why are more and more organizations adopting automation as a part of their strategies?
Automation is certainly a customer support trend that’s here to stay, with the world moving towards such solutions across industries. With customer satisfaction reported by contact centers as the leading metric for measuring success, and automation guaranteeing solution-driven, professional communication, more and more organizations are adopting automation as a part of their strategies.
HubSpot’s report highlights that 90% of agents find emails, live-chats, and tickets to be the most helpful tools while managing customers. Similarly, 91% of agents respond that implementing a knowledge base has helped them improve their customer relationships, while 93% stated that using a CRM that automates tasks is very helpful.
Interestingly, the same report indicates that companies that automate customer support enjoy higher profits, while those relying on more traditional forms of customer support witness low growth.
While automation has emerged as a vital component of customer support strategies, it is essential to understand that it’s not enough to simply install automation software for your team. Identifying strategies that suit your business objectives can help you ensure your automation efforts are aligned with your needs.
How to automate customer support without compromising on customer experience?
Customer support automation comes with its own set of challenges. When conducted poorly, customers walk away feeling unsure of how to navigate the website, dissatisfied with the outcome, and primed to buy products from your competitor. Thus, it is essential to evaluate your organization’s needs and then determine where you need automation support.
The following measures can help you ensure that you automate customer support without making your customers feel alienated or dissatisfied or compromising on their overall experience.
1. Choose software you can customize
Purchasing generic software that offers a range of features may sound rather promising on paper, however, if the software fails to help your team meet your business objectives, then it’s as good as not installing it in the first place.
Consider this example:
A contact center for a large brand finds that it receives fewer customer queries at night, due to a lack of overseas business. As a result, employees on the night shift represent a loss of revenue for the company in the form of salaries that can’t be justified.
The company decides to automate customer support and installs software from a leading brand. However, the software does not allow them to customize the operational hours for their live chat systems. It also does not let them customize customer support content. As a result, loyal customers who are used to personalized interactions are subjected to the indifference of a chatbot.
2. Use tools that allow proactive communication
Traditional modes of customer support, such as phone calls, rely on the customer making the first move. However, this should not be the case when you automate customer support. Your communication should be restructured to follow a proactive approach, with emails, live chat messages, and text messages sent to customers periodically.
These virtual follow-ups promote the customer’s own sense of importance, while ensuring that they can ask questions and receive solutions as soon as they encounter any challenges with the product.
3. Use behavioral data for personalized interactions
One of the biggest challenges that companies face when they automate customer support is steering towards impersonal content and communication. This, of course, must be avoided at all costs.
Most tools for customer support automation leverage behavioural data to ensure your communication is tailored to each customer’s needs. For instance, if you notice a customer adding a product to the cart, and then removing it, offering a small discount the next day may help facilitate the sale.
4. Don’t devalue your customer support agents
In the quest to be future-ready, organizations make the mistake of believing that they no longer require agents to speak to customers. This, unfortunately, is a one-way street to losing your customers rather quickly.
While live chats can certainly help by solving minor customer queries, you still require a team of agents to handle irate customers and those with more complex challenges. Your software must be customized in a way to ensure that specific tickets or queries reach agents directly, while others are handled by the bot.
How can customer support automation lead to a better experience for customers and reduce stress within your organization?
Organizations looking to automate customer service will find that the process benefits their customers as well as their customer support teams. This is because automation in customer support can:
- Eliminate human error, ensuring customers receive effective solutions each time
- Lower the time it takes to resolve a single query, ensuring that customers do not have to wait for long durations
- Allow agents to focus on other tasks that require their attention, ensuring organizational growth
- Give agents the space to pursue learning within the organization, ensuring higher levels of employee engagement and motivation
- Help organizations redefine agent KPIs, shifting the focus from the number of calls handled to more meaningful metrics, ensuring a higher scope for creative problem-solving in the workplace
- Lower operational costs for companies by reducing the need for agents for minor tasks, ensuring lower work-pressure and stress
Automation, thus, benefits your customers and agents, ensuring that all goals of your customer support strategy are met with ease.
Automation ensures that your biggest priority–customer satisfaction–transforms into a highly-achievable goal that does not rely on unpredictable factors such as an agent’s ability to handle a particular situation. It also ensures that customers navigate their challenges quickly, reducing the instances of escalations. To automate customer support in an efficient manner, get in touch with us today!