Customer service automation can relieve overburdened customer service agents and speed up service times. With benefits like this, adding automated service options to your customer support team is usually an easy choice to make.
However, there is also the risk of relying too much on technology and losing the human touch that most customers want.
This article will explore what customer service automation is, its benefits and drawbacks, and how it could work with your customer service needs.
- Customer service automation includes various tools, including chatbots, knowledge bases, automated email responses, and artificial intelligence.
- Automated customer service is a great way to meet the ever-rising expectations of today’s customers.
- Automated service options can help speed up customer service, cater to younger customers, and reduce overall service costs.
- Companies need to find the right balance between using automated technology and relying on real-time human customer support.
What Is Customer Service Automation?
Customer service automation is any customer support offered through automated technology like phone systems and chatbots. The goal of these systems is to minimize the amount of human labor needed to solve customer problems. Automated customer support is particularly useful for repetitive tasks, simple questions, and common issues.
Customer service automation solutions can be simple or more complex. Some of the most common types of automated service options include:
- Chatbots with the option to switch to live chat
- Self-service portals
- FAQ pages and knowledge bases
- Automated email replies with canned responses
- Organizational automation that uses “if this, then that” criteria
- Artificial intelligence (AI)
- Machine learning (ML)
- Routing requests to the right department
- Robotic process automation (RPA)
This video offers a good overview of customer service automation and how it works.
Can Automated Service Meet Customer Expectations?
Customer expectations continue to rise. They expect personalized service and fast responses. If customers find it difficult to do business with your brand, most will not hesitate to abandon you for someone else.
A recent survey from HubSpot showed that customers expect to feel valued and want easy customer service and multiple options for service.
Many of these expectations can be met through automated customer service technology, especially if you are trying to offer multiple support options and a frictionless service experience.
Pros and Cons of Automated Customer Service
When done correctly, the benefits of customer service automation far outweigh any potential drawbacks. However, understanding the risks associated with automation can help you avoid those pitfalls.
Pro: Increased Efficiency
Automated systems can help improve the efficiency of your customer support team. Customers can navigate these systems to get scripted responses to frequently asked questions. This saves your agents from having to answer these questions day after day.
These systems can automatically prioritize tasks, send status reports to customers, and provide follow-up reminders. Combined, all these features can save days each year for your agents. It frees them up to apply their skills to more complex issues.
Con: Lack of Personalization
Customer service automation excels at offering quick, simple solutions. When customers have issues beyond that, automated technology will usually lack the personalization that most customers need.
Some customers will purposefully choose companies that offer personalized customer service over those that don’t. An automated phone system rarely offers the personalization required for more complicated problems. You need to strike the right balance between automation and human agents.
Pro: Faster Resolutions
If your customer support system has 100% human agents with no automated options, your customers would likely be frustrated by long wait times, and your agent would get bogged down by repetitive questions. Automated systems, like self-service databases, chatbots, and interactive voice recognition (IVR), offer quick solutions, which leads to shorter wait times for more pressing issues. Quicker resolutions reduce customer churn and improve overall satisfaction.
Con: Bad System Designs
Difficult phone menus, poorly programmed chatbots, and bad IVR systems can lead to frustrated customers who feel they can’t get the help they need. Customers don’t like repeating themselves. They want smooth service transactions, and poorly designed systems are detrimental to that. Make sure your automated systems function properly and do not cause more problems than they solve.
Pro: Preferred by Younger Generations
Millennials are quickly becoming one of the most important consumer bases in the world. This young generation understands and embraces new technology, and most expect self-service options when they have a problem. One study from Gartner found that 52% of millennials will turn to third-party customer service channels (message boards, YouTube, internet searches) instead of relying on a company’s customer service channels.
To make sure these younger customers turn to you and not someone else for help, ensure your customer service journey is seamless and easily accessible. You can also have some of your service staff monitor those third-party sources to make sure accurate information is available.
Con: Limited to Simple Solutions
Currently, automated customer support options are limited to simple issues and basic how-do-I questions. Automated customer service tends to fail when customers’ issues go beyond that because it lacks the human intuition needed to sort through frustration, sarcasm, and other emotions. This is why it is critical that you still offer as much human support as you can.
Pro: Reduces Costs
According to McKinsey, businesses that use technology to improve the customer experience can see significant cost reduction.
Technology can reduce the need for new employees while also improving customer satisfaction and the long-term value of your customers.
Enhance Your Customer Service Options with Televerde
At Televerde, we consider ourselves experts in redefining the customer journey. We see the customer experience as an ongoing journey that requires consistent and available support at each step.
If your customer service team has struggled to meet your customers’ expectations, we are here to help. We offer innovative support solutions, including automated customer service options and an omnichannel customer support experience.
Are you ready to experience the future of customer service? Contact Televerde today to request a consultation.