If you were to go back just 10 years back and the package, you’d ordered online had been delivered to you damaged, the next steps you’d take would be very different from what you would today. For starters, you would have to go to the brand’s website and manually search for their contact information. If you decided to write them an email, you would have to wait days or even weeks to get a response from them – assuming your email didn’t get lost in the agent’s overflowing inbox. If you decided to call them directly, you would have to spend a long time on hold waiting for a line to free up. Fast forward now where all you need to do is type your complaints into an AI chatbot, request a refund and your complaint will be closed.
This faster, more convenient form of customer support is only made possible through automation. Automation has completed transformed customer service capabilities of companies and has become the gamechanger in delivering frictionless, personalized support.
Automated Customer Service – What does it involve?
Automation of customer service involves using a combination of AI-powered bots, intelligent assignment rules, and smarter customer service dashboards to reduce the time and effort required to resolve customer queries. Through automated customer service software, customer support agents can increase their efficiency by answering more queries within the same time period. Since customers also receive fast and accurate responses to their issues, they will have a positive experience, which encourages greater brand loyalty.
How is customer service automated?
There are a number of ways automation is used in customer service software. One of the most common applications is in the form of customer service chatbots. Having a chatbot for website is important because it has become an increasingly popular customer support channel.
One study found that 62 percent of website visitors expect a chat functionality on the website.
In AI chatbots, automated responses to common customer queries can be predefined. AI-powered bots can also learn from previous customer interactions to provide useful solutions to customers. Only when the query cannot be resolved by the bot will it be routed to a human agent.
Another automation tool that can reduce resolution times is intelligent assignments through an automated customer dashboard. When a customer query comes in, the query automatically gets routed to an idle agent and/or the agent with the most expertise in the subject. This feature is extremely important in all channels of customer support, whether it’s chat, email or automated call centers. In the absence of intelligent assignments, a customer support manager would have to manually pass on queries to agents or multiple agents might accidentally work on the same query.
Both an automated customer service chatbot for website and an automated call center is critical in reducing customer wait times, a key factor in improving customer experience.
Benefits of automating customer service
Moving from a legacy system to automated customer service software can involve additional investments and resources spent on retraining customer support agents. But making this shift will deliver several long-term benefits to your customers and employees.
1. Faster response times
Time is of the essence when it comes to customer service. Research shows that the speed with which their issue gets resolved is directly related to a customer’s satisfaction with the support they received. In fact, in one study, 90 percent of customers mentioned that getting an immediate response was highly important to them. Simply put, even if the final resolution is the same, a customer will be more satisfied with a company that offers them a solution within 5 minutes versus one that takes 24 hours to get back to them.
Therefore, if you want to improve customer experience, you need to focus on speed. Automation can reduce response times in multiple ways. Automated chatbots deliver instant responses to customers, faster than a human agent juggling multiple queries possibly can.
2. Consistent quality of customer support
Your customer support team is made up of multiple individuals with diverse backgrounds and strengths. Because of this, you need to provide extensive training to each of them to ensure that the support an end-customer receives is uniform and in line with your brand’s voice. Not only does this mean new agents take longer to onboard and more resources are required to train them, but despite all of this, it can still be difficult to ensure consistency in the responses.
Automation of support through features like canned responses can offer two major benefits:
- they help your agents respond to queries faster
- they ensure support extended to all customers is uniform
You can easily customize the canned responses to fit your brand tonality and the most common customer queries you receive. Automation also makes it easier and faster to train new agents because they don’t need to formulate their own responses – they just need to choose the most appropriate one from the suggestions.
3. Increased ability to scale
A fully-manual customer support setup can make it difficult to quickly adapt to dips and surges in customer queries. This is especially true for companies that see seasonal trends in demand. During the off-season, you might have too many agents on duty, but during peak demand periods, you might have too few. And since it’s difficult to hire and train new agents quickly, you might not be able to cater to sudden surges in demand. During the lockdown period for example, many companies reported sharp jumps in chat queries, which would have been difficult for a human support team to cater to.
Through automation, an agent’s average productivity increases manifold. When equipped with features like chatbot for website, canned responses and self-service options, agents can attend to much higher queries in the same time period. Thus, regardless of fluctuations in the volume of incoming customer queries, the same number of agents will be equipped to easily handle them.
4. Ability to provide 24×7 customer support
Customers want solutions to their problems immediately, regardless of whether it’s the weekend or beyond your business hours. A failure to get an immediate response can affect their future purchase decisions with your company and cause them to defect to a competitor. Of course, your customer support team cannot be expected to work round-the-clock. Therefore, the only way to ensure always-on customer support is to integrate automated customer support options. Customer service chatbots, an extensive FAQs knowledge base based on common concerns, an automated call center, and self-service options can help customers get a solution to their issue no matter what day or time it is.
5. Greater personalization in customer support
Personalization is key if you want to improve customer experience and build lasting relationships with customers. Automation can deliver personalized support in two ways. Using details from the customer’s profile, it can personalize support messages with their name, use the language of their choice and immediately draw up past order details.
Automated dashboards also store a customer’s entire history, including their past issues. Any agent who gets assigned to the customer will be able to see their past interactions with customer support, regardless of which agent managed the previous queries. This empowers the agent to get a complete picture of the customer and deliver personalized support to them.
Automation is integral to transforming your customer relationships and the efficiency of your internal teams. As customers’ support channel preferences keep changing and their need for instant resolution continues to grow, intelligent automated solutions will be critical to improve customer experience and ensure your customers remain loyal to your brand.
Interested in learning more about iTech’s solution to your current customer service platform? Contact us today to get started.