If you’re ready to learn how automation in customer service can benefit your support team and want to know how to get things started, let’s jump right in!

We’re no stranger to automation in customer service if you think about it. From ordering groceries online to booking tickets to that must see concert, you can use it everywhere. Automation in customer service is no exception.

As our tech savvy world continues to evolve with no sign of slowing down, speed and efficiency are no longer a luxury. We expect it. And the business world has automation to thank for lending a helping hand in delivering exactly that to customers. But when an actual human isn’t available. In fact, experts predict 85% of all customer interactions will be handled without a human agent by 2020. Yet many people still think automation is bound to replace human interaction. In reality, automation doesn’t mean all hope for human connection is lost and customer support agents will be replaced by robots one by one (we’re still a long ways from that). In fact, quite the opposite when used correctly.

The beauty of automation is that it’s able to jump in at the first sign that something is wrong on the customer’s end. Click To Tweet

The Upside of Automation

Like I mentioned, Automation and AI isn’t here to replace human beings for good. Currently there’s no technology that can react like or mimic human behaviors on that level. At least not in a way that isn’t blatantly obvious to your customer. So put that worry aside.
Think of it more like an extra team member that’s always willing and able to jump in and lend a helping hand. Tools like chatbots, AI and automated tech tools help remove mundane. Also they help repetitive tasks (like routine tier-1 support) from peoples plates and allow your support team to focus on the tasks that really require brain power and a human touch.

Automation in customer service is like the first line of defense, tackling issues before they arise and helping to resolve customer frustration and abandonment. And often times in less time than it would take for a customer to get in contact with a member of the support team. When you factor that 73% of customer support professionals have said managing their time and workload was the biggest issue faced in customer support, it makes it easier to see the big wins automation can create.

How Can You Start

Now that you know what’s in it for you and your team, you’re probably wondering how can you start. The truth is, not all tasks can suit for automation. And selecting the right ones can mean the difference between delighting customers and frustrating them.

Repetitive touch points and tasks like accessing FAQ and knowledge base information. Checkout page assistance. Also triggers that help new customers to get up to speed, etc. are the things your team should focus on automating. The general rule is that you can use automation in customer service only when it will help improve customer experience. Or some can use it to deliver immediate attention necessary that isn’t available from the support team. Talk with your team and put together a list of the most important touch points and triggers a customer would come across. Narrow down what team member can and can’t handle immediately or may be slowing people down.

Monitor changes, keep track of what’s working and what isn’t and of course, improve where you can. As with most things, there’s a learning curve involved. Click To Tweet

What Kind of Tasks Should Be Automated?

For the most part, it’s the customer who must make the first move to receive help. Either by reading through your company’s knowledge base, calling in or striking up a conversation via live chat. The beauty of automation is that it’s able to jump in at the first sign that something is wrong on the customer’s end.

Examples of situations automation can be used to help customers:

  • When a low NPS is given
  • While a customer is considering purchasing your product or service (cart abandonment)
  • New customer integration (IE: Emails and materials sent during the first 30 days after a customer signs up for your company’s services)
  • After an error or long stretch of inactivity

A few examples of how these automations can be accomplished are:

Just be sure that these automations (especially chatbots or the likes) record their actions. Whether it be chat logs, support tickets or emails to save on any back and forth in the future.

How Automation Can Save Replies?

By setting up your automation in customer service to respond to immediate signs of distress, your customers will be able to get in touch with an actual member of the support team in a timely fashion. As well as avoid having to talk to multiple people. Or go through an elongated process for finding and receiving help with whatever issue they’re having.
An awesome example of this in action was detailed in a recent post by Kayako. They realized a customer went through 9 back and forth replies with a support agent just to schedule a remote help session. So they knew something had to change. To make scheduling these sessions effortless for team, they set out to find a combination of the right automations for the job.
Using a combination of Zapier integrations with their team’s Google calendars and Slack channels, they were able to set up successful automations that increased efficiency. Also they reduced customer and staff effort. And they increased internal transparency. Oh, and customers are now successfully booking remote help sessions with one single reply.

Don’t Forget To Test and Improve

Don’t be shy about getting feedback from your customers and support team on how new automations and integrations are working. After all, if they aren’t benefiting both parties they aren’t really doing their job. Monitor changes, keep track of what’s working and what isn’t and of course, improve where you can. As with most things, there’s a learning curve involved. But once things are running smoothly, you’ll be sure to see happier customers and a more productive support team.
Mariana Ruiz is a copywriter + blogger with a background in customer support and digital marketing. She uses her experience and storytelling superpowers to create content for brands + businesses she loves. Connect with Mariana on LinkedIn!Measure CSAT, CES and NPS