Customer service automation is certainly something businesses should not overlook. Not only does it help retain customers, which costs less than acquiring new ones, but also promotes customer loyalty, which has a positive effect on sales and revenue.
Sadly, despite the advantages of providing good customer service, many businesses are not able to do so, a shame considering it’s never been easier or cheaper to find automated customer service solutions these days.
What is Automated Customer Service?
Customer service automation is the process of using techniques to scale the capacity of customer service to serve more customers quickly. Automation benefits even the smallest customer service teams, saving an estimated 600 hours annually. It doesn’t aim to replace the human aspect of customer service, but instead enhance and make it easier.
According to Forbes, about 85% of customer support interactions are expected to be handled without human intervention by 2020, and with good reason. Aside from the existing channels (email, chat, website content, phone support), customer service channels are getting an upgrade with the Internet of Things (IoT) and artificial intelligence (AI) such as chatbots, which speed up processes and augment activities.
Benefits of AI in Customer Service
According to research, customers expect a response within 5 minutes, but only 7% of businesses are able to accomplish this. AI customer service bots, in particular, help minimize wait time, while simultaneously taking care of low-value interactions. This saves man-hours to allow the human counterparts to take care of more complex situations.
Other than that, automation can also provide proactive customer service, as well as provide personalization options, another key to customer satisfaction. Personalization helps humanize the shopping process by treating customers as individuals with different tastes, instead of just a commodity.
Customer Service Automation Solutions
Automation alone is not enough though. Although promptness is often emphasized, it is not the only thing customers look to: quality of the response also matters. Research from Forrester shows that 66% of adults believe the most important thing a company can do is value their time during a service interaction. With automated tools, businesses get the best of both worlds: not only does automation do the legwork, but the human aspect takes care of the content.
Know that if you do decide to adapt automation, it’s important to choose tools that allow you to consolidate responses from both automated and human interactions into one channel, so that your customers are provided with continuous service. With the hours and the money you save by automation, don’t forget the human aspect as well; invest in training to make them better at their job.
Ways to Automate Customer Service
Want to start automating your customer service? Here’s a few ways to start:
- Create a comprehensive FAQs resource or knowledgebase. Most businesses get the same inquiries, which can be compiled in a knowledge base. This benefits small business owners who cannot afford 24/7 customer service by having a dedicated resource where all questions are answered. This is also a good option for businesses with millennial audiences, as they prefer self-solving problems before asking for help.
- Offer callbacks. As mentioned, millennials will often exhaust all options before turning for help, only to get turned off because they are usually made to wait in a phone queue for a long time. If you only have limited customer support, introduce a feature wherein customers have the option to enter their phone numbers to get a call back.
- Have a live chat tool. Calls may be the fastest way to get service, but some people would rather not take phone calls. Calls also aren’t the best way to send files and links, and email support can take long, so having a live chat tool is also a good bet. Customers will feel at ease knowing you can get to them in a few seconds. There are several live chat tools available for both small and midsize businesses.
- Get a chatbot to take care of instant replies and low-value interactions. Facebook Messenger has several chatbot builders.
Final Thoughts: Why Should You Invest in Customer Service Automation?
With the myriad of options of customer service automation solutions to choose from, there’s no excuse not to focus on customer service. It not only saves time by eliminating low-value interactions, but can also be key to achieving customer satisfaction.
Know that as much as businesses benefit from automation, the human aspect of customer service is irreplaceable. Complement customer service automation with human agents to walkthrough complex problems customer cannot solve by self-service.