Updated: Aug 15, 2022
Efficient ways to boost your customer support function with automation
Automated support isn't a novelty on the market. We've all used an online chat tool or bot response to get assistance on popular websites.
However, a lot has changed. Many new client onboarding best practices appeared, for example, in customer perception or usability. Support chat software with voice recognition or AI technology can do a great job in analyzing feedback and the customer onboarding process. Another successful example of live chatting software supports bots that respond to questions from customers before passing them off to a member of the team. With this increased functionality, people are more and more ready for automation. Less hassle means better client engagement and less dealing with upset customers. It's no surprise that conversational support is one of the customer service trends in 2021.
New onboarding customer success instruments help to create a personalized experience and deliver what your user needs. As a result, instead of dealing with angry customers, you empower your clients and enhance your customer engagement.
In this article, we provide an inside overview on implementing customer support chatbot and live chat best practices, various automated customer support solutions, and customer success team structure.
What is customer service automation?
What is automated customer service? Automated support is a type of communication with customers that do not require human intervention. It works best when clients have simple repetitive questions, need status updates, or seek assistance in finding a specific resource.
Voice recognition technology, AI, automated live chat tools, and service bots - thanks to these advances of customer support chat software in recent years, customers have begun to perceive automation differently - they now regard it not as a negative experience but as an acceptable, personalized option for getting help solving their problems.
Let's take a service chatbot as an example of top-notch web chat software and user onboarding tools. Today, it's quite easy to train a chatbot with machine learning to provide customers with links to website resources, such as articles in the database or the FAQ sections. Any customizable chatbot can also delegate customer correspondence to teams best equipped to solve specific problems and can even answer simple bot questions on pricing or features.
Armed with the first-class customer communication platform and the best customer service chatbots, you can handle issues with users more efficiently - much faster for clients and without sacrificing your team's resources.
How to automate customer service with AI?
Over the past decade, online chat has become the standard for businesses looking to provide top-notch customer support. Chat is much quicker than email, more personal than FAQ knowledge bases, and far less frustrating than a telephone answering machine.
While real-time messaging is not always a convenient option for communication, for customers who do not have time for serious conversations with support representatives, automated chatbots are becoming an increasingly important source of useful information.
The benefits are huge for your customer support team as well. When easy tasks and requests can be handled with automation, it spares time for your support agents to solve complex inquiries that need their empathetic touch and expertise.
Let's answer the popular question: 'What are the pros of automated customer service?'
1. Some customers prefer multitasking.
Customers can reach out to your chatbot with a question and read the response between appointments, or receive a link to a useful blog and check it out when they have enough time. Nothing forces them to act immediately.
2. Clients can select the option that suits their requirements.
Some users like to dig into help articles, while others just want to answer their questions quickly. For users with no time for comprehensive chats with a customer agent, automation tools – like chatbots – are also essentials, just like the support in real-time.
The key is to cater to each of these audience segments. And if customers need additional help, provide them with the opportunity to contact your support team.
When you have automation and traditional live chat at hand, you will serve your clients at any time and anywhere they require you.
3. Reduction of labor costs
The thing is automation benefits both your company and your customers. How? It allows you to hire fewer employees, lower labor costs, and, as a result, save money.
4. Lesser probability of human error
Customer questions that chatbots cannot answer are always forwarded to the right specialist, so it excludes erroneous answers to already processed requests or incompetent recommendations.
5. Enhanced efficiency
With the right implementation of automated support, companies can assist more customers without increasing their headcount too much. Service speed and savings can be game-changing for your business, but you need to think carefully about it.
Implementing automation with the personal approach
The recent Smart Insights report indicated that 63% of clients would stop purchasing from companies that provide poor personalization tools, which means you cannot just make your customer service automated. You need to make sure that automation still feels personal enough. That needs thoughtfulness and time.
Your automated support should feel personal, but it's important not to cross the line here. For example, when a system offers interactive tips to a person or a chatbot sends them links to help articles based on the page they viewed before contacting support, this is quite normal. But if a chatbot uses data aggregators to refer to unregistered users by name, they may not appreciate this individual approach.
That's why you should work hard and balance personalization with automation in two major aspects of customer service: customer routing and issue resolution.
How to solve customer issues instantly with automation?
When a user contacts you, handle the request in a personal way. To start with, respect the time of your customer and respond as quickly as you can. With this in mind, you can rely on the chatbot, which can send replies instantly, and sometimes even before people end typing.
This lets clients solve their problems by choosing the offer that best suits their situation. And if they can't find the answer they want, they can choose direct communication with a support agent.
You can also use a Task Bot that can find keywords in a customer's message and suggest articles that match them - but only if it seems that the user hasn't visited the help center in the previous 15 minutes. If the person has already been there, you will only disappoint the client by redirecting the client to the viewed resource.
Of course, there are some questions that these chatbots cannot handle and hand over to the support staff. You could configure these bots to continually refer users to a help center, forum, or some other form of self-service. But while this approach is more efficient, it is a prime instance of impersonal automation that doesn't care about customer time.
Even when the chatbot can answer the question, it always checks if the client received what they wanted. If not, the user can talk to the person. This avoids situations in which the repulsive phrase 'I cannot answer this' becomes the last replica in the correspondence.
Another tip: add multilingual support. Just imagine that in addition to solving a serious problem, you also have to translate recommendations from customer service? If your product is developed in multiple languages, consider implementing multilingual support to ensure that the entire experience remains personalized.
70% of clients are more loyal to businesses with customer support in their native language, so this factor will make a big difference to your users. For example, a typical chatbot can speak in 5-7 different languages to provide people with an experience that is truly geared for them.
Examples of automated customer service: contextual routing
Another benefit of automation is the ability to redirect customers. For example, if the problem cannot be solved with the help of bots, you can transfer it to the right specialist by sending a question by mail for further consideration.
However, this is not the only option.
The situation's outcome can vary because you should consider the history of the client's interaction with the company (if any) and determine where to escalate the query to assist with the client's needs. Thus, considering the following factors:
Type of company
Period of work with the client
For example, if someone addresses your development team or a message has technical words that mean the subject of the request, the person is immediately redirected to tech support. This saves time for the support team and helps clients get qualified assistance as quickly as possible.
How are customer service automation strategies paying off?
Instant resolution of problem situations and contextual routing might lead your support team to excellent results. For example, here are some of the wins a company that implemented automated support shared:
Their rate of automated resolution (ROAR) is nearly 4.5%, meaning the percentage of queries solved without human intervention.
Every 1% of the above indicator translates into savings of approximately $100,000 annually, so a 4.5% ratio means $ 450,000 saved every year.
Three-fourths of their automated solutions come from the resolution. The remaining part - from various suggested articles.
60% of their forwarded conversations end up in the correct inbox on the first try.
While the 4.5% figure may sound low to you, it's a pretty big win for B2B companies that usually get tough questions. Instead, B2C organizations can raise their overall ROAR to 10-20%. This is because the issues customers most frequently apply with are much more transactional and easier to solve through automation.
When is it better to avoid automation?
What are the cons of automated customer service? In some situations, automation is useless. This usually happens when you cannot personalize the support offered due to the lack of understanding of the context of a customer's problem.
Or it might happen if your chatbot cannot interpret information to make decisions about sending links at the knowledge base to users or redirecting them to your support team members. In such cases, automation turns into a hindrance instead of a method of support.
Poor automation can upset satisfied customers so that they will cancel their subscription and go straight to your competitors. But even if they do try using your traditional live support channels instead, they will only increase your associated costs. So in both cases, the situation is not in your favor.
Types of customers that shouldn't be dealt with the automated customer service
Clients with critical issues.
A human should deal with queries for cancellations, upgrades, or refunds. If a client is trying to pay for your services, you cannot let the automated bots jeopardize your relationships before they even start. Otherwise, if the person is considering leaving, poor chatbot support can exacerbate their frustration or deprive you of your last chance at keeping them.
Customers that require a lot of attention.
Users with many issues and those who need to be accompanied through complex processes will only benefit from human interaction. These people are more than willing to wait for a response from an employee of the company if they know that they will receive the help they need in the end.
New or trial clients.
Newly minted subscribers can leave you much earlier if chatbots keep stopping them from mastering your product over and over again.
Use customer service automation software wisely.
Automation alone will not solve your clients' problems - it needs to be backed up by an extensive knowledge base and a competent support team. Otherwise, you'll need to deal with angry customers who are desperately seeking solutions to the problem. However, automated support is a real game-changer on your way to onboarding customer success. Online chat software helps reach more leads and helps users more actively, as clients won't need to reach out to the client service team directly every time. The use cases for customer service artificial intelligence seem endless, so you can always search for the best customer success books, SaaS user onboarding options, or a working customer engagement strategy template to boost your expertise.