Customer service is the provision of services to customers during, before and after the purchase of goods. Customer service automation is the process of reducing or eliminating human involvement when giving advice or help to the customers. It pertains to identifying the needs of the customer and helping them arrive at a decision, but it’s automated. It still enables full support in areas where manual tasks are supposed to be handled by humans and interactions with real people are required.

Reason of Customer Service Automation being a Business Priority

Lack of reliable automated customer service in business makes it less reliable. Such companies are less consistent when taking requests, but they also spend more time and money on solving their customers’ problems. Automation of customer service is no longer an innovative advantage, it is essential for staying competitive.  

According to a recent study, about 85% of the customer service interactions may already have been automated. About 60% of Americans prefer automation solutions to their queries. This mostly includes automated self-service such as mobile apps and websites for simple tasks. Intelligent technology such as artificial intelligence systems, help centers and virtual assistants (keyword chatbots, artificial intelligence chatbots) are used to enhance customer support processes. 

Human service agents can’t work and be correct and reliable all the time owing to multiple factors. On the other hand, artificial intelligence-based technology helps reduce or eliminate the chances of making mistakes. Service automation is convenient and is fast becoming an important aspect of providing good quality service to customers without having to hire big crews.

Benefits of Automated Customer Service

Efficient Communication

Normally customer service agents can take care of multiple live chat sessions, but as new sessions start popping up, the quality of the chat drops. It will also take them more time to get to all of them. That is not what the customers expect and want. A well-implemented automated live chat can take care of hundreds of sessions at a time. 

Improvement with Time

When the automated customer service tools are put in place and activated, the algorithms improve with time as they gain knowledge of the processes they handle. After a while, it learns and recognizes patterns, critical situations and gets the capability of handling them. 

Proactive Support

According to a recent study, about 80% of your customers expect you to know their contact and product information already. Automated customer service enables you to know their problems before they’re even aware of them. Artificial intelligence-based support tools allow service agents to scan and monitor endless interaction streams of customers on the website in real-time. It then offers them help momentarily without waiting for them to get to you. This kind of proactive support keeps your customers very happy. 

Reduced Cost

Automated customer service system doesn’t just increase time efficiency but it also reduces the amount of money you spend on the support system. It helps you save money in more than one way as you won’t have to:

  • Give salaries to the support crew
  • Spend money on hiring support crew
  • Give salaries to the support crew
  • Buy equipment for the support crew
  • Invest in training the support crew

Human Touch to Automation

Automated customer support systems remember everything. They help the service agents access every detail from the sources and archives. The agent then uses that information to make a knowledgeable reply and improve customer experience. 

Self-help

Some customers don’t have time to engage in a live chat or call the support system. But they still want their problems to be solved promptly. In such situations, automated support system tools such as chatbots or interactive knowledge base prove very useful. They help the customers solve their problems on their own. 

Less Load on Agents

Automated tools take care of all the repetitive tasks that have similar patterns. This reduces the pressure on human agents immensely. This also gives them time to deal with complex problems that the automated tools can’t take care of. 

Examples of Automated Customer Service:

Self-services

Whenever your customers have questions, they need them to be answered right away. Speed is the key here. The company should use its knowledge base as the frontline. Making your own knowledge base is not hard if you know what software to use. Using that knowledge base, the company can provide self-service online libraries, which will reduce the volume of support and enhance the customer experience.  This is because people like it when you helpthem help themselves. 

Autoresponders

Email was the first choice for one to one communication. But now, there are so many communication channels that the human agents can’t keep up with as the business grows. Your customers will not appreciate using whatever mystic software system that you’ve built for them. They want convenience and would want to use whatever it is that they know and like. Be that email, live chat or phone. The key here is unification.

Autoresponders are chatbots that serve humans. A classic example of this is the automatic email that you get when you reach out to a company.  However, they have got a bad reputation in the industry as the same cold email is sent to everyone. Canned replies are becoming more common now and are taking over. The tone and language are made consistent with that of the human agent. The real person can later take on and continue the process. 

Chatbots and Live Chat

Many organizations now rely on chatbot technology. It helps companies keep costs down while they scale the customer service department. Customers would appreciate the timely help, but it is still not equal to the empathetic service that a human agent provides. 

Final Thoughts

Automated customer services prove very useful when it comes to saving money, time and increasing support efficiency. But you shouldn’t leave it all to the machine if you want to build a great customer support system. They require continuous improvement, upgrades and control checks. And for that, you need real people. Automation can bring amazing results, but it is important to do it right.