Upgrade your business with Customer Service Automation

Upgrade your business with Customer Service Automation

logo The CX Insights
August 6, 2020 | 7 Min Read

Email marketing. Coffee-making machines. Amazon's Alexa. Google Assistant.

Automation is everywhere today. From fulfilling the most basic needs to driving profit-driven business goals - automation is helping individuals and businesses work smart (not work hard).

From banks and educational institutions to retail as well as IT businesses - nearly every industry uses some form of automation to lower cost, boost performance, or become more productive. That said, if its application was minimal before, it stands at its maximum potential right now.

Simply put, automation has been gaining traction - owing to the global pandemic businesses now find themselves in. One key area where automation is making huge strides is the customer service automation sector. 
And why not?

Often times, multiple CX-related functions are either inefficient or worse, unnecessary. 

This is where customer service automation technology greatly reduces human effort, makes the working process more efficient and agile, and helps in enhancing the overall customer service.

“Automation creates the best harmony between humans and machines, between the power and precision of machines or robots and the problem-solving ability of humans to achieve greater productivity and achieve something which is beyond human capabilities.

With customer service automation coming to rescue, the workers get an extended scope and freedom to focus on higher-level and creative tasks demanding more complex skills.

This not only has a direct positive impact on their efficiency but also to varied factors like speed, reliability, precision, quality, productivity, and profitability, ultimately adding up to a great enhancement in work efficiency.”

Plus, it saves time and assists in the optimal utilization of resources. Sameer Gandhi, Managing Director of Omron Automation, India, summarizes the holistic benefits of automation.

All in all, customer service automation is as much a balancing act as it is allowing personalization at scale. Businesses - whether big or small - can leverage 360-degree benefits, which we will dive into in the next section.

Top-4 Advantages of Customer Service Automation

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Customer service automation is the science of understanding a customer's needs and eliminating human involvement; and the art of offering seamless assistance to customers - in conjunction and at scale.

In short, the digitally-connected customer of today expects an AI-informed and personalized experience across platforms such as phone, email, social media, etc.

1. 24/7 Chatbot Automation for Customer Support Channels 

When it comes to customer service automation, businesses need to be ubiquitous and always-on. This is where chatbot automation can lend a helping hand and a sympathetic ear to anxious and frustrated customers. 

Take Hipmunk's Hello Chatbot as an example. This multi-functional AI-based bot can be integrated with diverse chat apps (think: chat applications like Facebook, Skype, Slack, etc.). Plus, it helps users to:

  • Search and book flight deals.
  • Access fare alerts, as well as discounts and deals on travel packages based on their location.
  • Cash in on optimal deal within a couple of seconds.
  • Get answers to vague questions in a convenient manner.

WholeFood's Facebook Messenger chatbot offers users with multiple options for local and global cuisine based on their choices. That's not all. Readers can choose filters to get access to different kinds of recipes and food items. The chatbot also helps drive traffic to the brand's website and uses emojis to connect with users on a more intimate level.

Key takeaway: Chatbot automation can take significant workload off from your customer service team by assisting users in routine tasks. However, care must be taken to ensure that you do not send out unchecked auto-responders that translate into meaningless conversations and angry customers!

2. Deliver Hyper-Personalization using Automated Email Triggers

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Email marketing has been the go-to strategy for businesses to enable one-on-one communication 

for the last decade or so but with one recent twist: personalization

To understand what we mean by personalization, let's look at a few real-life examples of brands that are acing personalized email marketing:

  • EasyJet celebrated its 20th anniversary by sending out personalized emails to loyal customers using dynamic content, links, and images. All these elements ultimately came together to narrate a personal, more intimate story for each easyJet customer, highlighting everywhere the users had traveled with the brand over the course of 20 years:

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  • Then, of course, there's Asics which takes personalization to another level by sending out emails that act more like a personal shopper - complete with real-time data and customized follow-ups:

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Key takeaway: Today, personalized email marketing is not just limited to adding your customer's name in the email's "Subject Line." In fact, generic emails that don't offer contextual information are among every customer's hate-list.

This is where personalized email automation can help by boosting sales and adding value to your marketing efforts. Say a customer abandons their cart. Using personalized email automation and analytics about your customer's past purchase, your brand can send high-quality email reminders and encourage them to complete the purchase. 

3. The Role of Automation for Data Storage & CRM

Microsoft's Dynamic 365 - A Stellar CRM System 

"80% of American consumers point to speed, convenience, knowledgeable help, and friendly service as the most important elements of positive customer experience." - PwC Report

Customer Relationship Management or CRM and customer service are often used interchangeably. In all fairness, you can consider these two elements to be mutually inclusive - one cannot function properly without the other.

Basically, CRM comprises strategies, processes, and software that encapsulate your company’s interactions with customers. Leveraging all the data poses a host of benefits for customers and the service representatives alike. These include:

  • Enhanced customer service and seamless support as it allows you to segment and target customers with the right message.
  • Saved time and reduced human errors.
  • Access to real-time information and insights about your customer's past activity, conversations, and purchases with the brand.
  • Offering the latest relevant offers, sales campaigns, among other things to existing users.
  • Engaging in social listening and responding quickly to requests.
  • Monitoring customer relationships and up-selling to customers by means of data-driven marketing and sales.
  • Figuring out your customer's pain-points, providing relevant solutions, and building customer loyalty.

Here are some real-life examples of CRM done right:

  • Apple's CRM strategy is an excellent example of effortless, targeted marketing. It involves users who need to create an Apple ID account which seamlessly synchronizes across diverse Apple services (read: App Store, Apple Music, iCloud, etc.) allowing the brand to get access to insights on dynamic user preferences:

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  • Another global brand that's redefining customer experience is Amazon. The brand uses customer data while customers make a purchase to instantly customize the users’ shopping experience. The result is that customers get tailor-made offers and can enjoy a personalized experience through and through:

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Key takeaway: For all intents and purposes, you can think of CRM as a customer loyalty enhancement tool. By tracking the customer's past purchases and browsing history, you can send out personalized email marketing campaigns and drive customer loyalty.

4. Automation allows Customers to Self-Serve & Collaborate

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"Service insight and knowledge is key to a good experience according to 62% of consumers." - American Express

Customer service automation empowers customers to self-serve by providing quality self-service portals and in-depth knowledge bases. How does this help?

It helps to remove clutter and complexity from the customer's mind by offering them simple, instantaneous, and easy-to-use information. Here's an example to understand this better:

  • MantraBand's website uses widgets across various pages, following users as they browse through the website. As you can see below, the widget displays a search bar and features common topics that the customers will find most useful:

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All the customer has to do is click on the drop-down and choose the issue they’re facing:

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  • Amazon's Self-Help page is simple, easy-to-use, and as streamlined as it can get:

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Handy tip: If you're confused about what kind of questions and information to include in your knowledge base, go over the data collected from your customer support channels to see if you're receiving any repetitive questions.

These questions (commonly in a FAQ format) can be used as a foundation to your knowledge base and help create an informative and helpful portal. Make sure to incorporate the links to the knowledge base at frequent and strategic places on the website. 

Key takeaway: A self-serve online 'information bank' (for lack of a better term) enables people to help themselves right away. This ensures that the service is speedy and satisfactory all at the same time.

On a Final Note...

"By 2021, 15% of all customer service interactions will be completely handled by AI, an increase of 400% from 2017." - Gartner

All things said and done, most businesses struggle with one key question: 

"Is it possible to automate while staying human?"

The answer (as you saw) is yes. Here's the bottom line: Companies need to adapt to the AI-led technology and collaborate with human agents to grow as a brand, connect with customers on a deeper and scalable level, and drive a meaningful and purpose-driven customer experience across the board.

So get going on your research and understand what kind of smart technology your business needs to stay human and do more - with every single customer-brand conversation via automation. Capeesh?

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