Customer service has become more advanced in the 21st century. Today, it takes several hours for clients to receive answers to their questions. This speed is achieved thanks to customer service automation.
If the system is implemented well into the company, it can fix many issues. For example, customer service automation takes off the pressure from agents’ shoulders. Thus, they can focus on fixing complex issues and ensure a positive client experience.
But if the automated support is implemented poorly, it may lead to problems. One major problem is the lack of personal touch. Keep reading this article to learn about the benefits and drawbacks of support automation. Our readers will also learn how to implement the system effectively and whether they need automation for their small businesses.
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So, what is customer service automation? It’s any system that allows a company to solve issues without contacting clients with the aid of employees. One might say that it’s a counter-productive way of solving problems when humans are not involved. But recent studies prove that software is more effective. It’s easier and less expensive to use customer service automation.
One of the best things about customer service automation is that it is available 24/7 annually. These systems are more cost-effective than the work of humans. Moreover, these systems offer a positive experience to both the customer and the manager since it handles simple tasks. Only if the automated system cannot handle the task does it go to the manager.
The customer service automation system enables companies to use resources effectively. Instead of throwing customer service members at any task, the company dedicates its resources mindfully.
The Importance Of Automated Customer Service
Customer support is vital to a business. A recent study states that more than 60% of clients stop using a company’s services or buying products if it has poor customer support. You can say that customer support is one of three business pillars.
Moreover, a quarter of all customers claim they change companies or service providers if they lose trust. Clients lose trust mainly because of poor customer support.
Thus, customer support automation is vital since it enables companies to handle a huge flow of requests. Thanks to automation, businesses gain access to a better and wider range of capabilities than they ever would have had before. Improved efficiency ensures it is possible to optimize the customer service network, providing clients with better and more effective solutions to impress every customer.
Automation may help with customer questions or complaints, buyers’ inquiries about their orders, repetitive orders, etc. That way, the company improves its system and gains more loyal clients.
Advantages Of Automated Customer Service
Undoubtedly, there are specific disadvantages to using the customer service automation system, but let’s check the advantages of implementing the mechanism:
mindful use of resources;
interaction with customers at key points only;
centralized customer data;
eliminates human error;
enables customer feedback;
keeping up with modern technologies.
Let’s dive into why companies should consider using customer service automation.
Mindful Use Of Resources
Without any doubt, the first advantage is the price. Hiring an employee costs more than the usage of the automated system. According to recent studies, using automation could save up to 40% on service costs.
Businesses may reduce the necessity for new workers as the business grows. The cost savings are beyond labor since the company minimizes its office footprint and raises its customer lifetime value at the same time.
Interaction with Customers at Key Points Only
The company should consider taking care of smaller interactions before linking the client with a support agent. Let’s compare this interaction with buying a car. Before the client talks to an agent at car service, they probably, seek information about the brand they wish to buy. Only when they decide what they want, do they contact the agent.
The customer support automation has to help clients with all information they require before the last step — contacting a manager. Implementing this system means having customer support that acknowledges customer needs before they arise. Support team members can focus only on the most important tasks, while automation takes care of repetitive and simple tasks.
Typically, customers get quality responses faster when automation is involved. Support members often can’t manage huge request flows, leading to a negative experience. Automation can quickly resolve all simple issues, which leads to the overall effectiveness of the support system.
Moreover, each business has clients with simple and complicated requests. Agents have more time to focus solely on complicated tasks, leading to a faster response time.
It’s against all labor laws to make support employees work 24/7. Luckily, automated support software can help cover requests 24/7 all 365 days a year.
Typically, companies implement chatbots since they do not require human interaction from support members. Chatbots often notify on-call staff if any problem occurs.
Moreover, some chatbots even collect information from leads in chats without customers filling out any forms. When an agent is available, they call the client to ask if they need any help.
Centralized Customer Data
Automation also helps with data centralization. A company needs a database with everything in one place. Thus, a business can get transaction history, customer information, self-service interactions, viewed content, and other data in one place.
The most optimized automation systems provide support agents with clients’ data beforehand. For instance, when a customer calls an agent, the agent gets all data about this client on a computer to resolve the problem quickly.
Eliminates Human Error
The problem with human customer support is that agents tend to develop a professional memory and may confuse one problem with another. For example, when the agent has to deal with customers having one problem a hundred times in a row, the agent may falsely recognize a problem.
But automated systems don’t have such problems. The automated system will carefully analyze the request and redirect the client to a specific category or an agent.
Enables Customer Feedback
It’s critical to get feedback from clients about the customer system. Typically, automated systems have this feature. The system automatically collects client feedback, so the company management knows whether support is effective.
Keeping Up With Modern Technologies
When was the last time you called to support? Or perhaps, you prefer texting or contacting support via phone or PC. Most likely, you don’t remember when you called the support. Most clients prefer using chatbots or other means to text the company if they have questions. That’s why it’s critical to use automated systems, and they provide clients with modern ways of contacting the support team.
Disadvantages of Automated Support
Just like any other system, automation has its disadvantages. Here are to name a few:
lack of personalization;
technology savviness requirement;
lack of ability to solve complex issues;
reduces the need for humans.
Now let’s dive into the details.
Lack of Personalization
If a company is new and doesn’t have many clients, the lack of personalization may harm relationships with customers. The best way to fix the issue is to enforce the simplest automation features and enable human interaction with clients.
Technology Savviness Requirement
If an error occurs, someone has to fix it. However, automation systems need a technical background. Thus, your employees might face issues if any errors occur. Luckily, it’s an easily fixable issue and requires simple training.
Lack of Ability to Solve Complex Issues
As mentioned, automation can only take care of repetitive and simple tasks. Some problems still require human interactions. Thus, companies shouldn’t seek ways to replace the entire support team with software.
Reduces the Need For Humans
One major concern is that AI and smart technologies reduce the need for human force. As a result, people lose their jobs. Yes, automation is more cost-effective for businesses, but the workforce marketplace experiences a reduced need for customer support specialists.
How to Implement Automated Customer Support
Almost 80% of customers worldwide prefer companies to solve their issues within the first contact. Undoubtedly, it’s almost impossible without some automation system. Benefiting from automation service implementation can gain competitive advantages within the area of reach.
Before implementing an automation system, consider your business requirements. Big enterprises must have systems with high-traffic capabilities, but small companies or startups need something more scalable and less expensive. These businesses should consider software that offers more capabilities as the business grows.
Another tip is to utilize the confidence scoring mechanism. It’s a system that provides companies with feedback from customers. Depending on clients’ opinions, the system can have a good, medium (or satisfying), or bad score. If the score is good, you should keep up with what the company is doing. If it’s medium, the business should find ways to improve it. If the system has negative feedback, you might need to change everything.
Consider personalization. Find products that offer a personalized touch that won’t require loyal customers to keep repeating information. It’s cheaper to buy the system without a personalized touch, but eventually, it won’t be as effective.
And last but not least, do not replace your team with the AI system. Automation is here to ensure the best possible experience for customers. Thus, the automated system should immediately fix standard problems, whereas support team members should focus on problems that an AI cannot fix.
Where To Begin?
Depending on the company’s needs, set up any one or several of the following mechanisms:
Pre-written responses. Companies may automatically send preset email responses to every customer question. This mechanism ensures customers know the team is working on their issue.
An FAQ page. Redirect customers to a page with frequently asked questions so they may resolve their issues.
An IVR (Interactive Voice Response) system. It’s a mechanism that recognizes keywords during live phone calls. The system provides solutions or forwards a client’s call to the available at the moment customer support agents.
AI chatbot. It’s in-browser navigation that directs clients. The system can answer simple questions by directing to answers. It can also link them with proper channels to get support.
You can start with implementing these simple tools and see how they go. Use the already mentioned confidence scoring mechanism to ensure that customers are satisfied with the help they get.
Should You Implement Automated Customer Support?
Should you switch to an automated customer support system given the information mentioned above? It’s a good idea to switch to an automated system if:
a company has a high volume of customer requests during workdays;
agents can’t handle the volume of requests, and thus customers are unhappy;
a business has resources to optimize the customer support system.
It’s also worth mentioning that automated customer support is a great idea if you have clients from different time zones. The business will cover all requests and sort the most important ones so that agents can work on them later.
It’s not worth switching to customer automation if:
the company has only a few customer requests per week;
the company doesn’t yet have loyal customers.
If a business switches to automation, it may harm its relationships with clients due to a lack of personalization and attention. However, it doesn’t mean you. shouldn’t implement any automation elements. Consider a professional chatbot that provides a company with the appearance that it is a larger and more reliable organization.