Customer service automation: Advantages and examples
Explore how customer service automation can empower your support strategy and help your customers get the answers they’re looking for – when and how they want.
What is customer service automation?
Customer service automation refers to any type of customer service that uses tools to automate workflows or tasks. The main goal here is to minimize human support particularly when carrying out repetitive tasks, troubleshooting common issues or answering simple FAQs.
When powered by artificial intelligence (AI), automation technology is extremely effective at handling most repetitive tasks, helping customers achieve tasks and resolving problems quickly without any human interaction. In fact, experts predict that AI will be able to automate 95% of customer interactions by 2025.
These tools tap into people’s growing preference for personalized conversational experiences through text- and voice-driven systems – and the ease with which people now talk to “virtual assistant” through the likes of voice-activated devices, smart speakers, and more.
Crucially, you can deploy them across your customers’ preferred communication channels, meeting your users where they’re already spending time.
This post will help you better understand why customer service automation is essential to your support strategy, the advantages of automation – and how to get started.
The state of customer service automation
Automating certain processes improves efficiency of any customer service organization. In fact, 88% of customers expect automated self-service when they interact with a business.
With these kinds of results, it’s little surprise that analysts are predicting that AI chatbots will become the primary customer service channel for a quarter of organizations by 2027.
Despite this progress, many customer service operations are stuck in the past, based on a traditional call center model. This is costing companies dearly – in high operational costs and low customer satisfaction, which harms brand reputation and fuels customer churn.
However, it’s never too late to get started. So let’s walk you through some of the key advantages of customer service automation.
The advantages of customer service automation
1. Always-on support
A key benefit of automated customer service is that you’re able to provide around-the-clock support – regardless of your customers’ location, circumstances, or time zones.
Unlike live agents, automation tools aren’t constrained by contact center opening hours, and allow customers to rapidly “self-service” simple issues, often without any need to involve contact center agents.
This is why automation is particularly useful for handling frequently asked questions (FAQs), freeing up human agents to tackle more complex aspects of customer service.
2. Lower operational costs
Automation dramatically improves operational efficiency and cuts customer service costs. It significantly eliminates repetitive tasks, instantly resolves frequent simple requests, allowing your support agents to handle more complex inquiries in less time.
This will ultimately save you agent workload time and cut overhead costs.
3. Time and efficiency
Automating your customer service allows you to handle more queries and rapidly execute tasks that would be difficult and time-consuming to do manually, such as coordinating Uber rides in a matter of seconds. This frees up human agents to handle more strategic tasks and complex user queries.
At the same time, automation allows customers to quickly get the answers they need, with less effort required on their end.
This is important when we consider that respect for people’s time is considered one of the most important factors in providing a positive customer experience.
4. Customer satisfaction and loyalty
Faster response times, shorter resolution times, consistent support across multiple touchpoints – these automation outcomes are key to providing a positive customer service experience and keeping your customers satisfied.
An AI chatbot can even act as a personalized shopping assistant, seamlessly asking about a customer’s preferences and sharing product information to enrich the shopping experience. This functionality brings each customer a personalized conversational experience, keeping a human-like touch despite being AI-driven.
5. Agent satisfaction
Tools like chatbots alleviate pressure on overloaded agents by automating customer interactions over their preferred channels.
They can take care of high-volume, low-value queries, leaving more fulfilling and meaningful tasks for your agents.
Automated customer service tools such as chatbots allow you to provide omnichannel, personalized customer service at scale. AI automation makes it easy to test, measure, and learn so that you can continually optimize the customer service experience.
7. Omnichannel capabilities
Automation empowers your support to offer omnichannel capabilities and to meet customers on channels they’re familiar with. You’ll be able to sync up all of your company’s support channels: live chat, email, in-app messaging, social media channels like Instagram, and other messaging apps like WhatsApp Business Platform.
This will help your business store customer data in one place, keep track of customer interactions and implement intelligent routing so agents don’t have to keep asking the same simple questions.
Customer service automation examples
Not all aspects of automation relate to AI. Rule-based keyword chatbots, for example, automate common customer queries and simply point customers to information sources, in many cases.
Other common examples of customer service automation include:
- Intelligent routing – Automation tools give priority to urgent or high-value tickets and direct them to the right agents, freeing support teams to manually sift through messages.
- Customer surveys – Businesses can automate customer feedback requests by sending an automated message asking for feedback in a fraction of the time.
- Email ticket automation – Chatbots can do way more than chat. They can prompt automated replies for tickets received over other channels synced into a company’s tech stack.
- Proactive chat – Use AI solutions to predict a shopper’s intent and determine the right time to proactively contact a customer via chat and resolving issues automatically.
Customer service automation use cases
Let’s now look at a few of the many use cases for customer service automation.
Improve lead Generation
Situation: Adopt a new communication channel to provide 24/7 conversational support and ultimately boost CX and increase lead generation
Solution: Deploy an AI chatbot with a chatbot building platform Answers over a verified WhatsApp Business Platform to digitalize the customer journey by decreasing waiting time and offering quick resolutions to customers’ inquiries. This lead to a staging a 138% increase in lead generation and a 4.4 customer satisfaction rate.
Optimize service and support
situation: Unify all support channels over a single platform to offer a solution to efficiently manage their contact center an optimize support.
Solution: Invest in an omnichannel conversational platform that provides all the digital channels in one place for optimal customer communication. Integrate your cloud contact center with an AI chatbot, a customer engagement solution and a customer data platform to optimize processes and enhance support.
Provide account status
Situation: Your customers want to access their account information instantly and painlessly. Your contact center agents are spending too much time on account information queries, rather than resolving more complex issues that require their expertise.
Solution: Build and deploy a chatbot that can engage your customers and provide them with relevant information about their account status. Security is a crucial consideration here, so use the likes of biometrics to help your chatbot authenticate customers.
Situation: Handling appointment reservations is difficult, because customers often contact you via different channels, and you might use multiple platforms to handle all these queries.
Solution: Integrate your cloud contact center with an AI chatbot and customer data segmentation to simplify the appointment reservation process and boost agent productivity. Agents are able to handle multiple appointment conversations at once, users can communicate via their favorite chat apps, and customer satisfaction increases.
Connect people with lost property
Situation: Your airline passengers occasionally misplace their personal belongings, which can cause them a lot of stress and inconvenience.
Solution: Passengers can use your customer service chatbot to report their situation and seek help. Using named entity recognition (NER) AI capabilities, your chatbot is able to recognize their intent (report and find “lost luggage”) and their location. With this information, the chatbot can then direct the customer to the right place to receive help.
How to start automating your customer service
So where’s the best place to start automating your customer service workflow and tasks?
Like any digital investment, you need to start with a clearly defined customer service strategy, based on measurable business goals.
Depending on your goals, a useful place to start might be using a simple self-help keyword chatbot, deployed across your customers’ favorite channels, to help provide faster customer support at a lower cost.
And thanks to chatbot-building platforms like Answers, you won’t even need any coding experience to do this.
It’s important to remember that automated tools can’t help with everything. Your automated systems need to be able to seamlessly hand over complex tasks to live agents, automatically serving agents with the relevant customer data and conversation history for faster resolution and seamless customer service.
For this reason, it’s hugely beneficial to integrate your chatbot with an automated, cloud-based contact center solution that enables seamless agent takeover and helps you solve multiple customer pain points.
Unlock the power of customer service automation
Automated customer service empowers your customers to get the answers they’re looking for – when and how they want. It improves the customer service experience and automates responses to straightforward queries, freeing up your customer service team to handle more complex issues.
And while it empowers your customers it also helps your business by lightening its operational costs. However, It’s important to keep in mind that many customers still prefer support through human assistance when required. Achieving the right balance might take some time, but with the right technology and a bit of trial and error, you’ll get there sooner than you think.
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