Customer service can be a tough job. Problems like high costs, long wait times, and endless ticket backlogs are making it exceedingly difficult to deliver exceptional support.
But thanks to a little something called automation, customer service is poised to enter a brave new world of revenue growth, satisfied customers, and better-equipped support agents.
A staggering 88% of customers already expect automated self-service when they visit a company’s ecommerce website, so if you haven’t embraced automation yet, you’re falling behind.
What are some common examples of automated customer service, and how can it benefit your business?
Let our comprehensive guide walk you through every aspect of customer service automation.
Automated customer service occurs when businesses use technology instead of humans to assist their existing or potential customers.
When powered by artificial intelligence (AI), automation technology is extremely effective at handling a help desk’s most repetitive tasks without any human interaction. In fact, experts predict that AI will be able to automate 95% of customer interactions by 2025.
While the end goal of automated customer support is to fully resolve customer issues, automation technology can help improve efficiency and enhance the customer experience even when that isn’t possible.
Customer service automation comes in many forms, with some businesses combining them to create hybrids of their own. Common examples of customer service automation tools include:
When you automate, your customer support representatives will be the first to notice tangible benefits. An AI-powered automation solution serves as an extension of your support team — offering a multilingual, 24/7 solution that can deliver customers instant, real-time help.
A chatbot, for example, can bring your FAQ page to life. With a comprehensive knowledge base, businesses can quickly automate 70% of all incoming customer requests. By achieving this level of performance, repetitive customer queries no longer eat up the bulk of your reps’ time. Instead, support agents are free to focus on urgent, more engaging customer cases that require their expertise.
With nearly 75% of customer service agents at risk of burning out, the breathing room that automation affords customer service teams can’t be underscored.
On average, companies that embrace automation see customer satisfaction rates rise to nearly 90% on their automated channels.
One reason for this is that automation can produce an immediate improvement in your most important customer support metrics. AI chatbots are able to reduce resolution times by 30%, while response times and handling times see similar drops as well.
Delivering faster responses plays a huge role, but automated systems let businesses fully personalize the support they’re offering customers as well. Over 62% of online shoppers say a personalized customer experience is of the utmost importance, and AI solutions provide this by storing customer data like name, location, and order history to craft customized responses and relevant product recommendations.
An AI chatbot can even act as a customer’s own personal shopping assistant, fluidly asking about a shopper’s preferences and sharing product details to augment the shopping experience. This functionality brings each customer a personalized VIP experience that, while powered by AI, maintains the human touch.
Automation unlocks your help desk’s ability to offer omnichannel service, something that helps out both your agents and customers. The average customer actively uses 3 or more support channels, meaning that companies that prioritize a single channel or isolate different communication channels in silos aren’t meeting customer needs.
Automation makes it simple to sync up all of a company’s support channels: chat, email, social media, etc. It keeps track of a customer’s information so agents don’t have to keep asking the same simple questions. And since 33% of shoppers say repeating themselves over and over again is their biggest pain point, automated omnichannel support is key to boosting the customer experience as well.
Roughly 80% of customers prefer communicating with brands that offer a consistent experience across all channels. Automation is a surefire way to ensure shoppers get the omnichannel service they’re expecting.
Companies often struggle to act on customer feedback. Response rates from shoppers might be low, gathering data may be time-consuming, and deciding on the best steps to take can feel like a shot in the dark.
AI automation platforms optimize your team’s ability to access the voice of the customer (VOC) by streamlining the feedback process. First, automated messages after each customer interaction ask customers to rate and comment on the service they’ve received. Then, AI solutions analyze this customer input and present companies with their findings. Customer service teams can easily see what’s working — and what isn’t — without having to spend hours pouring over data.
Leading automation tools are even capable of proposing corrective measures of their own. They can detect which questions customers are asking most frequently and suggest additional topics for automation. Your team will be notified when customers aren’t satisfied with a specific answer so you can instantly remedy it.
Our final advantage of automated customer service is likely the one that gets overlooked most often — its positive impact on a business’s bottom line.
By handling repetitive tasks, automation technology can reduce a customer support team’s costs by up to 50%. But automating doesn’t just save you money — it can turn a company’s customer support into a sales-generating engine thanks to several next-gen features.
For example, proactive chat lets a company reach out to an online shopper at critical touchpoints in the customer journey instead of waiting for a customer to first ask for help. AI can recognize if a website visitor is stuck on a particular page and automatically offer personalized assistance to help land a conversion.
Moreover, AI customer service software is able to identify which visitors are most likely to make a purchase. If a customer is asking your chatbot detailed questions about a specific product, automation solutions will detect a high buying intent and can launch your product catalog, highlight detailed product info, or show relevant customer reviews.
Once shoppers are checking out, you can send customers automated messages noting how far away they are from free shipping or other promotions, encouraging them to add another item to their purchase. If needed, automation tools can notify a human agent who’ll work with the shopper to close their sale.
For online businesses looking to deliver next-level experiences, automated customer service is a must. Discover what’s possible with intuitive automation in The Customer Service Automation Handbook for Online Businesses, available now as a free download.
Access this definitive guide today to take the first step in delivering top-quality, personalized customer service at scale.