In today’s highly competitive market, customer experience is everything. It seems like any business venture can yield quick profit in the blink of an eye. In the long run, customer satisfaction will determine whether the business will stay afloat or sink like a stone. That’s where customer service automation comes into play. With automated customer service, speed and efficiency usually follow suit.
A whopping 91% of consumers feel more inclined to make another purchase after a positive service experience. Conversely, a single subpar experience can make your customer turn their back on you. They will also dissuade other potential customers from seeking your services. Word spreads fast ’round these parts – and by that, we’re referring to the entire World Wide Web.
In that vein, larger companies dealing with large client bases began implementing automation into their customer service. As a result, they’ve increased the number of customer interactions and successfully resolved customer complaints while decreasing their human agents’ workload. A win-win!
With all its advantages, automated customer service has some drawbacks that you must consider before diving headlong into chatbots and autoreply emails. After performing extensive research, we’ve prepared an in-depth analysis of everything you need to know about customer service automation. After going through our guide, you’ll be able to wage the best automation options for your business. Let’s get started!
What Is Customer Service Automation?
Before we gauge the pros and cons of customer service automation, we first need to learn more about automated customer service itself. Customer service involves using various tools and software to automatize specific or entire segments of customer interaction.
The most widely used customer service automation systems are:
- Live chatbot services
- Automatic ticket routing
- Automatic email replies
- Self-service portals
Whether you’re running a small or medium-sized enterprise (SME) or a gigantic corporation, there are always some aspects of customer service that you can automate to speed up the process and increase availability. Unfortunately, fully automated customer service is still a fantasy, but well-implemented partial automation is relatively easy to achieve.
Advantages of Customer Service Automation
Automated customer service offers plenty of positives for your business, to which you shouldn’t turn a blind eye. Let’s start from the top!
Minimize or Eliminate Queueing
Keeping your clients’ waiting is a time bomb waiting to blow up. Even if you’re capable of solving their issues, customers usually don’t have the time or patience to be put on hold for more than a few minutes. A disgruntled caller will not shy away from leaving a lengthy and ill-intended manifesto, fending off future potential customers for good.
By automating your communication channels via bots, FAQ knowledge bases, or ticket routing, you can slice queue times and direct your customers to the right agent in no time. Should your agents be overwhelmed, chatbots can help sort through complaints and forward the most critical ones to your team so that you can, at the very least, minimize the bounce rate.
Apart from the initial setup costs and nominal maintenance fees, automation will save you tons of money in the long run. Customer service automation software can take care of repeated and elementary tasks, while your core team is free to tackle more demanding issues. That way, you won’t need to worry about clogging up the lines, and you’ll be able to handle many tickets simultaneously.
Boost Customer Satisfaction
Your team has successfully tackled the issue. Excellent! However, the story doesn’t end there. No matter how fast your response time has been, you still have to show your customer that you care about them and inquire with them about improving your service. Surveys are the best way to go about it!
Automating your surveys to be prompted to your customers during various stages of their journey shows that you care about them. You can create separate surveys or emails for multiple cases and distribute them depending on the outcome of your customer service.
Dissatisfied customers who leave a one-star review can receive an apology email and an invitation to schedule a call with your customer service representative. If you go out of your way to remedy your customers’ problems, they might just become returning customers!
The success of your company relies on putting customer needs and demands first. That’s especially true if you are preoccupied with supervising all communication channels. Implementing automated customer service options is essential, but operations shouldn’t suffer during migration!
Luckily, most customer service automation options require little to no integration period. In a few hours, you’ll be able to integrate chatbots, automated email services & surveys and focus on the critical operations.
Eliminate Human Error
This one’s a no-brainer, but we included it to be sure. Automation equals speed and efficiency, primarily due to the reduced human presence. Even the most experienced, well-trained, and highly-skilled employees are bound to make mistakes. Thankfully, most of these mistakes occur when performing minor repetitive tasks, but they require backtracking and create unnecessary task pileups.
Don’t get us wrong; we’re not saying you should go full Skynet and replace your entire workforce with AI software. Even if we did, it’s way beyond our current technological capabilities.
Around 70% of consumers still prefer human interaction over bots, and that number won’t go down anytime soon.
However, chatbots can help customers quickly reach out to the right agent for the job and start working on their issue 1-on-1. Being put on hold is the customers’ number one enemy. For minor inconveniences, bots can direct them to an FAQ or a knowledge base that helps explicitly solve those frequent issues.
Drawbacks of Customer Service Automation
Sadly, automating your customer service is not all rainbows and butterflies. Automation is the future, but there are a few drawbacks you should keep in mind.
Inability to Solve Complex Issues
Someday, AI will be able to tackle elaborate problems and meet customers’ demands head-on. ‘But,’ to quote Aragorn, ‘it is not this day!’
Chatbots and AI cannot comprehend all the intricacies of an average human interaction. Sarcasm, anger, and misspelled words are still enough to confuse even the most advanced automated chat services. As things stand, automated customer service platforms perform best when faced with simple queries, such as billing information, how-to questions, and directing customers to available agents.
Lack of Human Interaction
This one seems hypocritical, but hear us out. AI-driven customer service systems are a relatively new trend, and customers are still not entirely used to writing their inquiries to bots. Even though they’re aware that bots serve as middlemen that transfer requests to agents, customers are still not completely comfortable with that practice. Slow and progressive integration is the key to increasing efficiency without making your customers feel like they’re on the back burner.
Difficult to Use
This drawback mainly refers to senior customers who have trouble adapting to the quirks of the modern age. Though regular users have next to no difficulty navigating customer support webpages and finding ways to contact your CS department, seniors often stumble on website navigation.
If your services involve interacting with lots of elderly users, automation is probably not the best route. Agents can do a far better job of guiding them through the problem-solving process. If you make that process difficult for them, you’ll waste your time and their nerves.
Intimidating to Customer Service Agents
We’re not the ones to shy away from controversial takes, but this one is worth addressing. If you’re keen on automating certain aspects of your customer service, your agents need to know their job positions are secure. Ensure them that the automation process is mutually beneficial, intending to make query handling easier for both them and the customer.
The workforce fears losing their footing due to increased automation on the market, and their fears aren’t irrational. A World Economic Forum study predicts that robotics and automation would replace 85 million jobs worldwide. Conversely, it also suggests that it would create 97 million new jobs, so things aren’t as bleak as one might think! But we digress.
Emphasize to your agents how important they are to your business, and define their roles as clearly as possible. Once they’ve realized that live chatbots aren’t out to get them (and neither are you), they’ll thrive once more!
Should You Automate your Customer Service
We’ve laid out all the upsides and downsides of customer service automation to make your decision easier. If you’re still unsure whether this is is the right move for your business, we’ll try to be as blunt as possible:
You should automate your customer service if:
- You’re receiving too many queries for your workforce to handle
- Your customer base is sufficiently tech-savvy
- You want to boost customer satisfaction
You shouldn’t automate your customer service if:
- Your current agent workforce can handle all queries
- You’re not ready to scale your business
- Your customers reach out to you only with complex issues
We hope you found this guide helpful and gained more insight into the world of customer service automation. If you choose to automate your customer service, remember the golden rule: don’t rush and don’t do it all at once! Progressive scaling is the key to improving your customers’ experience. Best of luck!