Automation: What’s Missing in Your Customer Service Strategy

Automation image concept robot holding service bell rung by human hand

Automation: What’s Missing in Your Customer Service Strategy

Automation covers technologies across many processes and fields. In regard to customer service it’s using technologies instead of people to accomplish both customer facing and back end tasks. 

Customers are leaning into automation according to McKinsey research. Though the majority surveyed (79%) use the telephone to connect to service, it’s also the channel that most (75%) don’t want to use in the future. Instead, 81% are more interested in using email and 62% in website/self-service in the future. Automation supports these trends.

A recent survey about automation in the contact center indicates 95% of contact center leaders are using or plan to use automation in the next year. Are you one of them? With improving customer experience and reducing costs the top two goals of those surveyed, automation is a solid fit.

However, it is always important to know your customer. Qualtrics data found that both age and country impacts preferred channels. Identify the methods that your customers prefer and focus your efforts on those while staying on top of changing CX and EX needs.

What Are You Missing in Automation for Customer Service?

Automation has many benefits but also challenges. Make sure you apply it to augment your teams, not simply replace them. 

Automation can reduce labor costs (McKinsey research finds savings of 20% or more). Fewer agents are needed when automated processes are handling some customer needs. AI can monitor and provide quality assurance (QA) analysis for interactions in real time so managers don’t have to do it manually. 

Customer resolution can be achieved with fewer touches, or no human touches at all. AI can double check that customer issues were addressed and addressed well. A problem that arises here is when customers can’t reach a human agent when they need to. Automation needs to be user friendly. Make it easy for customers to escalate to a human agent when they can’t achieve resolution via self-service. 

Real time automated QA is cost effective and provides efficient and ongoing training. However, agents need to receive positive reinforcement along with corrections. Use automation to let them know what they are doing well to encourage them to keep doing it while improving in other areas.

Self-service and bot based chat mean customers don’t have to wait for an agent to begin service and may be able to solve their issue alone. Automated channels are available to customers 24/7, not just during typical business hours. This is key for companies serving international markets. Still, it should be easy for customers to receive follow up from a live agent when needed. Provide them an email or other channel.

Use Automation for Communication Carefully

Automated emails and responses used wisely, can make customers feel that their issues are being addressed. This is an improvement over silence or long delays due to an overburdened staff. Emails shouldn’t sound like bad service scripts though. Use templates with sections for personalization. 

Track what your customers click on and reply to and use that data to refine your automated emails to meet customer preferences. Additionally, use the customer’s sentiment to moderate the tone of responses.

A program will execute the same action consistently when triggered by the same input it’s programmed to respond to. In this kind of situation automation is more reliable than human workers. 

Of course, technology is only as good as the humans that create it and the data it’s given. Plan how and where customers are routed carefully. Balance automation with a human touch along the customer journey. Otherwise you may have angry customers with unresolved issues and relationships that are hard to fix.

The Benefits of Automated QA

If your company has yet to double down on automation, choosing a specific process or area  and building out from there is a great way to begin. QA is one such area. Manual QA has historically been a slow process producing limited data. Quality automation offers speed and larger datasets reducing margin of error.

Companies of all sizes benefit from automated QA by reducing labor costs and improving CSAT. QA can be performed entirely by technology. Then, as you scale you can scale your automation with you, supporting QA workflows

For larger companies, QA automation makes tracking your key performance indicators across a large number of agents and teams more comprehensive and efficient.  Additionally, you can track the performance of QA teams themselves.

Regardless of size, utilizing QA software solutions can help your company:

  • Offer real-time analytics and agent support 
  • Support compliance goals 
  • Improve customer experience during live engagements not after 
  • Assist with cross department collaboration 
  • Calibrate scoring 
  • Identify high, mid and low performers
  • Send out smart surveys to prevent over sampling and without annoying customers with negative experiences
  • Provide data to improve training
  • Provide company stakeholders actionable insights

There are many vendors with automation products that can be integrated with your current platforms. This is key if you don’t have a robust IT department or bandwidth. CSAT.AI is one such solution. It’s a customer service QA and CX platform built for Zendesk. It provides QA automation, AI-powered CSAT surveys and sentiment analysis integrated with live agent coaching to proactively improve customer service.

Has your company adopted or made plans to adopt automation in your customer service strategy? If so, what areas will you benefit from automation most?