Customer Service Automation: 10 Things Companies Won’t Tell You

Are you experiencing skyrocketing growth? How proud are you of your customer service team? Are you planning to reward your superstars by helping them become more productive? In today’s world, employee retention is as important as client one. 

This is the story of one AI stone and two birds. While your team appreciates automated systems that ease daily flows and their sanity, clients are looking for artificial intelligence to limit back-and-forth communication through various channels, which can lead to human error. But there is also the question of when not to use customer support automation. That is if you think AI should replace human interaction.

Customer service cannot be the last pillar of a company to witness digitalization if you want generations like the Betas and Alphas to talk about your brand. In the past two centuries, the growth of craftsmen, merchants, and later on entrepreneurs’ products or services have been based on horses, telephones, switchboards, and the internet, but also people behind each one of these. 

We are not robots, we have feelings

AI tools are here to join a customer service team and delegate repetitive tasks, such as labeling, forwarding, and performing factory-like operations. They help members synchronize calendars and lower response times. 

These plugins and software applications have the role of a loyal sidekick, not the leading character in your team. Automated customer support means that your key team members set up tasks and email templates, so you don’t need extra hands on deck while you grow. 

For a long time, these technologies have been mistaken for robots without a human touch. But the main benefit of automation is that it has been created by people, for people, to aid other people. What’s more, EmailTree’s solution keeps evolving organically based on customer feedback and satisfaction so you don’t need another solution next year. 

Between "gut feeling" and data

Data shows that customers are interested in short response times to move on to other things. They appreciate it when the right hand knows what the left is doing, when team members sync up and offer a united, knowledgeable, front. What's more, they also want their questions answered on multiple channels - emails, social media, website form, or other apps, like WhatsApp or Telegram. 

Customers expect it all because they know they can get it, and you can offer it through support automation. Deep down, you also have this feeling that things should be easier and faster in 2022 and beyond, right?

The technology is here, you just have to use it. Faster response time means more happy clients and extra sales. But where do you begin? Let’s start by setting up goals.

Where do you want your response times to be in three months

Back in the old days, customer service meant a complaint needed to be filed, and the answer could come between two to four weeks. Mind you, the answer to your request, but not necessarily the solution.

Now, you can get your answer in less than an hour if it’s a classic FAQ with the help of a chatbot that was “taught” by a software developer; between one-three days if it’s something complex; and even in a week if you need a physical item replaced. Thank the technology lords for this.

Depending on the type of business you have, this is the right time to set up your goals for the following months. Think about the challenges you are facing, and how you think these can be fixed. 

Do you have too many emails coming in and answers are going out a week later? You don’t have enough staff to tackle these, but many are quick fixes that can be solved with an automation tool like EmailTree? The answer is in the question, you already have it. 

The benefits of automation for a company’s culture

The benefits of automation are endless. These range from higher customer satisfaction and sales, which we have already touched upon, but also lower service costs by up to 40% as studies show. 

It helps the core business, but also the human side. It improves efficiency while encouraging collaboration between different team members, thus it enhances human interaction inside your team. Now, team members have more time brainstorming different ideas than being in front of their computers every day just answering emails. 

Externally, it offers users 24/7 support in a united tone, which is something modern customers appreciate during their busy lives. Do you recall the time when you had a bug late at night and you had to wait until the morning to get it fixed? Yeah, neither do us. 

To rely on technology needs a learning curve for your team, so be patient in building this trust in automation as part of your company’s culture. Customer service initiatives will keep evolving, so have an open mind to the following trends. 

Since people are buying more and more online, customer service will become as important as the product or the service you are offering. And real-time support will turn from something nice-to-have to a must-have. 

Use automated customer service software to scale your business

We have emphasized above that automated customer service software helps both your team to save time so that more user requests get answered; as well as lowering costs. These are essential to scale your business. But technology can help beyond this. 

It offers different methods of communicating with clients, like live chats, and even telephone alerts when a user has abandoned his or her cart. And it offers extra time to your employees to get creative in developing quality content that can encourage self-service to customers, like a step-by-step video.

Be open to both employees' and customers’ feedback. This will improve and even support the development of innovative extra add-ons that can help you scale smarter.

*Spoiler alert: Even with a customer service automation tool like EmailTree you should always focus on the people around you to grow. No tool can be fully customized for your business needs. That is why humans and AI need to work together! 

Automation is used to improve the customer experience, not replace the human touch

  • No AI or Machine Learning can understand that you need help recovering data from a specific place since you spilled your coffee and fried your computer.

  • Or that you need access to your account because you decided to use a new password and forgot what it was.

  • And that you want to change the details of your account because you got divorced, and you need to vent and have somebody deliver the answer step-by-step to you.

Always assign a support rep that decides what and when to automate! People don’t return only for your product, they also come for the consistency of your client service and the way you resolve their issue

Be transparent that your customer service isn’t fully automated, it is human-assisted automated. This will bridge the gap between personalization and creepiness. It does feel a bit weird sometimes talking to a bot about the weather, how you are feeling, or the personal answer to your recovery question.

What can automation technology fix?

Automation technology cannot fix everything. What it can do is lower the back and forth to establish a base, be it a meeting between two humans, or setting up an account. 

Digital workers, as AI bots like to be called these days if you are into PC (politically correct) slang, can help complete fields with pre-saved information. They can also remember data you introduced into a gadget when you log into another one with the same account. 

They can record meetings and share with you a transcript in the shape of a to-do list, so you don’t have to write it down anymore. What’s more, they can also distribute the list of tasks to specialized team members. 

Automated customer support types

  1. Conversation AI allows users to interact with a bot for basic issues and lead to a human agent when necessary.

  2. Autocomplete AI aids human agents with field suggestions when resolving tickets to speed up the answer. 

  3. Automated response products offer 24/7 pre-written messages to handle requests without human intervention, like setting up a call between two people.

  4. Ticket routing optimization tools redirect messages to the right team members based on specific keywords to reach Inbox Zero at the end of the day.

  5. Contact Center Software allows each agent to have his or her chatbot that can be personalized based on their daily responsibility and can evolve along the human. 

These are only but a few of the types developing on the market as customer issues cannot always be anticipated. The customer service role is to help build a brand's image, just like an ambassador. Team members answer questions about products or services, process orders, and solve technical issues. They also gain insights from customers queries and help improve a brand's offering. 

They are front-line soldiers who must maintain a high level of self-confidence. They are also motivating coaches and salespeople. They can also read minds sometimes, although they do not like to promote this. There is a lot of pressure on their shoulders since they wear many hats. 

But customer service won't fix everything. It might not be able to teach a user how to use a product or service, and neither fix a solution right away, but it will strive to find the right person for it. 

What about customer feedback and satisfaction?

There is this famous saying that “if you build it, they will come”. As any entrepreneur knows, this is not the case. When you develop a product or a service, the most important step is market-fit. To do this, you need a lot of trying, testing, and feedback from your customers. 

Customer service automation is not recommended when you launch a new business or a new product. This time, you need human hands on deck to read between the lines. To scale, you have to focus on developing a good product first, no matter how amazing your customer support team is.

Then, it’s all about satisfaction! A happy customer is the best marketing campaign out there. It will offer you free, honest, word-of-mouth advertising, and if you listen, you will have long-term customer loyalty. This can make or break a brand, especially during turbulent times marked by pandemics, wars, and inflation, to name a few. 

Support automation promises

In conclusion, supporting automation and AI will bring many benefits to both businesses and people worldwide. It will reshape and advance the workforce and can be a bridge to migrating into the cloud. There are, however, a few limitations to this.

Some fields will adopt it sooner and more successfully than others. For example, in the customer service field, centralizing information about how people use a product will be easier to do with the help of a bot, than offering personalized messages to every user, in different time zones. 

Data can be shaped with automation, people not that much. Managing, offering expertise, and communicating will still need peer-to-peer sync up.

Be aware of what companies say they offer and how long it will take you to adopt it. Prioritizing human capital and training when you redesign workflows is the right step to implementing automation sustainably. 

“The first rule of any technology used in a business is that automation applied to an efficient operation will magnify the efficiency. The second is that automation applied to an inefficient operation will magnify the inefficiency,” Bill Gates.

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