It’s estimated that around 60% of American customers prefer to use an automated customer service channel to resolve simple or common issues that they run into while using branded products. That’s the majority of customers – and it doesn’t account for international consumers, or for customers who would prefer to use automated services to resolve all their queries.
So what exactly does automation in customer service involve? Put simply, the term refers to the process of introducing robotic substitutes for human points of contact in the customer service department. This can be in the form of adding an automated operator to customer helplines, providing an automated live chat function using a top texting app, and many other examples.
Aside from catering to the wishes of the majority of your customers, various compelling benefits come with integrating automation into your customer service strategy. Today, we’re going to take a look at eight of the biggest advantages in this article.
1. Improved Use of Resources
What’s the best way to make sure your remote customer service teams are operating as effectively as they can and helping as many people as possible? The answer is simple: automate as much of their work as you’re able.
If that sounds counterintuitive, consider it from this angle. Your customer service teams will always spend time helping customers and resolving their queries. They’re going to encounter plenty of questions that require time, training, and dedication to clear up. However, chances are they’re also going to run into a lot of easy-to-fix, standard-format problems that, say, a robotic recording could resolve.
It’s more cost-effective to automate those kinds of processes than it is to let your employees keep walking customers through the same simple steps over and over, every day. This means you’ll have more financial resources left over as a result of automation, which can then be invested in other places.
At the same time, your customer service representatives will have more time to spend on solving trickier problems, meaning more customers get the help they need. It’s a win-win in terms of human and financial resource redistribution!
2. Constant Accessibility
An automated service never needs to sleep, eat, or take breaks. This means that when your customer service channels are at least partially automated, you’re making them more accessible to your customers – at all times of the day or night, including the weekend.
This means you can run, for example, a multi-line phone system where an automated service directs your customers to the help they need when your team members are unavailable. The same system can be used together with an automated operator to ensure that customers are always connected to employees with the specific skill set needed to help them.
This improved resource distribution makes it easier to increase accessibility. When automation can be used to open more avenues of communication between employees and customers, resource distribution becomes more effective. In other words, when the automated phone operator can answer most customers’ questions, employees can focus on increasing accessibility by replying to problems raised through online fax, for example.
3. Increased Customer Service Team Performance
As we’ve mentioned, introducing increased automation across customer service platforms will free up more time for your teams to spend on difficult queries. But there’s another positive consequence: your teams will start to perform better on their customer service team evaluations.
This is because an ecommerce strategy that incorporates more automation allows for more resources to be allocated to employee training. Customer service teams will therefore be able to learn more about how to give customers the best possible experience, which will drive their overall evaluation scores upwards.
Customers will also feel more personally cared for since the automatic services ensure that more representatives are available to speak to them at any given time. This both drastically reduces queue times and ensures that customers enjoy a personalized experience.
4. A More Personalized Experience
Incidentally, automation is very helpful when it comes to crafting hyper-personalized customer experiences. This is because personalization relies heavily on data collection – and what could be better at gathering data than specially-designed automated systems created for that sole purpose?
By using automation to gather necessary data on customers, your company can deliver that personal touch that consumers love without expending human resources to get you there. This will also make it significantly easier to find, and make good use of, the customer’s voice. This voice helps your company identify exactly how to fine-tune its sales strategies by making it clear what your customers are looking for.
When you’re able to effectively use the customer’s voice, you can deliver the best customer service to your customers. That’s why it’s so important to gather data, which paves the way for identifying that voice and using it for personalization purposes.
5. Letting Data Drive Your Strategy
Automated bots can gather data for you that can help you adjust and improve your business strategies. For example, as we discussed in the previous point, a data-driven customer strategy can be a major factor in creating an experience that lets customers feel their needs are being met on an individual level.
Data can do more than just improve your customers’ experience though. It can be a massive asset in marketing and should guide the formulation of any strategy. Businesses may prioritize different outcomes when they gather data.
However, regardless of which specific end goal is the most important to your business, one thing is very clear: data can help you get there, and automation can get you that data. That’s why it’s so important to let data drive your strategy.
Or, rather, it’s one reason why. The other key reason to rely on data is that it’s taken from your customers, so being in tune with the contents of your data means being more in tune with the patterns and wishes of your customers.
6. Connecting With Customers
In a similar vein, the introduction of more automation into your business will help your brand to connect more closely with its customers.
That might sound counterintuitive at first glance. Surely, if a customer dials one of your business’ vanity phone numbers and they’re greeted with an automated service, they’ll feel less connected to your brand than if a human were to pick up the phone?
However, when you consider the situation from a different angle, it starts to make sense. Your phone line’s automated service was created using data gathered directly from customers, as per the previous points. This means their needs will very often be met directly before they ever speak to a customer service team member. They’ll also be able to reach your team through various means since the resource spread has allowed for this to become possible.
For example, your team will have had a chance to consider which alternatives to Grasshopper VoIP suit the company’s needs best. This means that automation has paved the way for your customers to reach you through VoIP – and the best option among VoIP providers, at that.
Additionally, the customers whose queries do need to be resolved by a human advisor rather than an automated service will enter into the conversation knowing that the representative they’re speaking to has enough time and resources to give them the best quality care. This helps ensure that customers feel closely connected to your brand.
7. Increasing Customer Retention
Another way in which automation can help to drive your customer service strategy is by increasing customer retention. This is because the quality of service you’ll be able to provide by including automated processes will increase customer satisfaction, thereby prompting consumers to stay loyal to your brand.
Customer retention is vitally important to your brand’s success. If you’re able to keep people coming back to your company whenever they consider buying a product or service you offer, you’ll drive your sales up in both the short and long term.
That’s because brand loyalists will be customers for years – and because they’ll be more likely to recommend your products and/or services to their friends and contacts. Since customer retention can be driven by automation, the value of automation can’t be highlighted enough.
8. Driving Headless Commerce
Headless commerce involves separating the front-end surface level of a business from its back-end internal processes. It’s especially helpful for businesses that use a content-led or experience-led strategy.
The trick to a good headless commerce strategy is to make sure your business can quickly adapt to changes in the market. Since automated data-gathering bots can help feed your customer service team’s data to keep them up to date, headless commerce strategies that are based on automation are far more likely to succeed. They can help to ensure your customer service team is always on top of any new developments and that they’re well-adapted to those changes.
Automation → Success
A successful brand knows when and where to employ automation to generate the greatest number of benefits. As the eight advantages listed above show, automation can make all the difference between satisfactory and truly excellent customer service – which is why it’s the key to success in that department.
More automation allows for your team’s resources to be allocated to labour-intensive tasks, as well as to tasks that bots cannot perform for you. At the same time, it provides your customers with a quick, easy answer to the most common questions. This drives both customer satisfaction and customer service performance scores drastically upwards, which is great for your business.
Automation can also help you gather data. This data can then be used for many different purposes, all of which help to positively develop your company in different ways.
With a tool as powerful as automation under your belt, your customer service team can become peerless.
About the Author
Elea Andrea Almazora is the SEO Content Optimization manager for RingCentral, the leader in global enterprise communication and collaboration solutions on the cloud. She has more than a decade’s worth of experience in on-page optimization, editorial production, and digital publishing.