When it comes to customer service, people have become more tech-savvy with higher expectations when it comes to speed and delivery in recent years.
That’s where customer service automation comes in. The term refers to a process whereby there’s a reduction or even complete elimination of human labor when assisting consumers.
But with so many new customer service automation solutions available, it’s difficult to know what to choose for your company. It’s important to understand that customer demands change rapidly. That means businesses require solutions that not only meet today’s needs but can support future developments too.
That’s where we come in to help. We’ll note some of the benefits and disadvantages of customer service automation, so you know whether it’s suitable for your brand. We’ll also highlight some of the best customer service automation solutions to look out for.
What Are the Benefits of Customer Service Automation?
There are many benefits of customer service automation.
Streamlines the Process
There’s no doubt that automating customer service can be very beneficial to a company’s workflow.
Does your business receive many queries of the same nature? You can program your help desk to offer automated scripted replies to the most common questions. That means that precious labor time isn’t wasted typing out the exact same response day after day.
A help desk can respond to clients and follow up on support issues. All this extra time saved adds up to hours and even days saved within a course of a year in a company.
Reduces Time for the Customer
As well as saving time for the business, customer service automation also saves time for the customer too.
When a customer usually gets in touch with a brand to speak with a human, often they’ll have to wait a long time for a response. Sometimes it will even take days.
To cut wait times, automating support channels is a great idea. Technology such as interactive voice recognition otherwise known as IVR helps streamline the process not only for your business but for customers too.
Aside from investing in customer service automation technology, the other way to reduce customer wait times is by hiring more staff.
However, there are many reasons why this isn’t a great option. Perhaps you can’t afford to pay more staff, or the recruitment process is slow, and you need help immediately.
Automated support allows you to work both efficiently and professionally, with a solid team. While automation technology can be quite pricey, many can be bought on a subscription base. That means you can choose a subscription to suit your requirements and can save money by using customer service automation.
What Are the Disadvantages of Customer Service Automation?
As with most things, there are also several disadvantages to using an automated customer service system. Here are a few of the negatives.
Lack of Human Connection
The first disadvantage is an obvious one. When you automate customer support, you remove the human element of your assistance strategy. Instead of speaking to someone to explain an issue in detail, customers are left with a machine.
While customer service automation can improve efficiency, many systems are poorly designed. In these cases, using customer service automation can instead hurt your customer service strategy.
If your IVR sends customers in circles and if your chatbots repeat themselves, then customers are going to become frustrated.
Customer Service Automation Features
Not all customer service automation solutions work well, and a poor choice can damage your company’s efficiency and reputation. Here are some solutions to keep an eye out for.
Visual Template Designer
A visual template designer such as a WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) tool is a very useful solution for businesses. A user-friendly click and point design tool allow business users, other than IT professionals, to create and design communications.
This cuts out the hidden costs and time it takes getting the IT team involved in tasks that don’t necessarily need to involve them.
An asset library on hand for a whole company to access saves a lot of time whereby staff may otherwise have to chase designers for help. This asset library can hold images and branding information that is often required by staff members, such as up-to-date logos and legal disclaimers.
It can also provide information on communication preferences for recipients. For example, what is the company tone? Is it formal, or more casual?
It can also highlight the channels used for communications, such as print, email, SMS, social media, and so on.
Communication Generation Engine
A scalable communication generation engine is also useful to match inbound data with the desired template. Choose a solution that works to meet the needs of customers today, as well as the requirements of fickle customers of the future.
This engine should also offer the ability to produce documents in batches via automated processes, on-demand, or interactively to assist different cases. This removes the need for staff to produce documents one piece at a time, which can be time-consuming and tedious.
A decent customer service automation solution should also provide form capabilities and fillable PDFs. This allows users to input data without having to spend a long time doing so.
Customer Interaction Workflows
To make life simpler for clients, a digital platform should be able to manage and coordinate complex customer interactions. For example, eSignature capabilities allow users to sign online, rather than having to spend time signing, scanning, and emailing a document, which can take up a fair chunk of time.
Customers should be able to receive communications easily from a store. For example, via text message, they may receive a link to view a stored interactive HTML5 statement featuring widgets.
Today it’s important to have safe and reliable storage of old communications. A good customer service automation solution should allow communications to be easily retrieved and analyzed, so as not to waste time for staff that may otherwise have to spend a lot of time searching for the correct information.
Workflows must be easily produced and managed by staff members using an easy-to-use drag-and-drop interface, as mentioned previously. Again, this saves time for IT members and designers that could easily spend a lot of time and effort creating these steps in communication lifecycles.
Managing Positive Customer Service Automation
Your customer service automation is only useful if it’s appreciated by your clients, helpful for your team, and beneficial to the health of the company.
If you do decide to use an automated service, make sure you choose efficient programs and technology such as the ones listed. Build an efficient customer service strategy using continual testing and analysis, and the results will show. And remember, customer service automation will only be as successful as the planning behind it.
For a complete list of customer service automation to benefit a company, request our CCM Buyer’s Guide by clicking on the relevant link on our Customer Communications Management page.