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    3 Common Customer Service Automation Mistakes (And How You Can Avoid Them)

    (Photo by Pavel Danilyuk from Pexels)

    Customers are not always right. But it is important that you provide them with the best service you can offer. In fact, 58% of them expressed how important customer service is when choosing a brand.

    For them, good customer service includes:

    • A knowledgeable customer service representative, and
    • A fast interaction solving their issues and queries

    With customer service automation, you can cover all these aspects. It can be your weapon to combat the ever-growing customer expectation. It also serves as a key differentiator in a competitive market.

    There are many advantages of automating customer service. However, when it is not properly managed, automation poses serious threats to the company.

    Common Mistakes and What You Can Do to Avoid Them

    It is easy to jump on the trend of having your customer service automated without planning it through. You might be thinking, one mistake wouldn’t make a difference.

    But it does make a difference.

    Poor customer service experience results in high customer attrition. Over 96% of customers are willing to switch brands because of this. And that is a lot. 

    Don’t worry, we got you covered. Here are three of the mistakes that you can watch out for and what you can do to avoid them:

              1. Not Fully Committing to it 

    Just because you have finally set up an automated customer service doesn’t mean that’s the end of it. It is not a one-and-done kind of deal. It is either you invest in it, or you don’t implement it at all.

    Lack of supervision leads to serious damages to your customer service processes. As with all technologies, automation needs updating with newer versions of the software. Additionally, it is bound to have errors and bugs in the long run. 

    What You Can Do:

    Tests. Lots and lots of tests for detecting errors and bugs in the system. It also helps to select the best people for monitoring, maintaining, and improving the software’s performance.

    There are two kinds of testing that you can use:

    • Manual testing (for small-scale projects), and
    • Automation testing (for large-scale projects)

    Manual testing is done by a human to run a series of tests, while automation testing makes use of tools and software. With this in mind, the latter is usually the best option since it reduces human errors. 

    Executing a series of tests manually is also a time-consuming process. Having your employees take on automation testing tutorials can help them focus on higher-value tasks. These tutorials will allow them to have the right skill set to make sure that your automation testing runs smoothly. 

    All they need to do is conduct routine tests to see if the system is running smoothly and they can attend to other tasks right after.

    In addition to this, customer feedback is a good way of determining which aspects of your system needed improvement. Remember, your goal is to give them the best customer experience. And what better way of doing this is to know what they currently like or dislike about your system.

              2. Too Much Automation

    The technology we have today is continuously improving. With artificial intelligence and natural language processing, chatbots can understand complicated sentences. But even then, they are still not 100% error-proof. 

    Automation can be loaded with a massive amount of information. While this is true, you can’t possibly input all of your customers’ concerns. Especially in cases where human interactions are needed.

    When customers call customer service, it is usually because they have encountered an issue. Frustrated customers do not want to answer a series of irrelevant questions before their issues are resolved. This would only worsen the situation.

    If they can’t access support in their expected time, you would get bad reviews for it. Automating is supposed to provide easy communication between you and your customers.

    What You Can Do:

    It’s crucial to know which process in your organization needs automating, and which does not. In fact, 30% of the processes involved in customer service can be automated. It still depends on the needs of the company. But here are some tasks that are commonly automated:

    • FAQs, or knowledge-based resources
    • Follow-up emails
    • Back-office tasks
    • Customer satisfaction surveys

    Merging automation and human interaction is the best way to solve this. When AI encounters questions they can’t answer, customers should have the option of talking to a live agent. If not, they will get stuck in an error loop.

    Plus, humans are way better at handling angry customers than AI bots. Your agents can de-escalate their negative emotions and have higher chances of winning them over.

    We get that automation can save your company a lot when it comes to finances. But when you get carried away by unnecessarily automating tasks, you’ll lose more than you will gain.

             3. Automating Only One Channel

    Customers’ platform preference for communicating with companies varies from phone calls to digital channels. Among all other channels, phone calls, live chat, and emails are the most preferred ones.

    Automating only one channel gives the customers a hard time contacting your company. Additionally, signing up to a different platform just to contact you is time-consuming. 

    Imagine having an issue you urgently need fixing. Wouldn’t it be annoying that you have to install a different app and create an account to be entertained? Not to mention that you still have to wait in a queue because of traffic. This hinders communication with consumers.

    Customers want to be able to choose the channel they use to contact you. This provides them convenience, thus leaving a positive impression on them.

    What You Can Do:

    Customers use different channels of connecting with the company. It would be wise to have an automated system across channels that can extract information from each other. This way, your agents can gather relevant data easily and assist customers quickly.

    You can also reach other customers who otherwise cannot reach you.

    But managing multiple channels can take up so much time for your agents. Does that mean you have to hire more personnel to handle these channels?

    With omnichannel customer service, you don’t have to! You can link all your channels into one tool with this strategy. This provides easy access from all of your channels without having to juggle from one app to another.

    How great is that?

    Even with a small team, your agents can reach customers from multiple channels while still maintaining quality service.

    Benefits of Customer Service Automation

    If you do it right, customer service automation can be a big help to the company. To put it in perspective, 62% of customers stated that automation processes improved their experience. Happy customers mean high chances of customer retention. This usually leads to increased company profitability.

    Below are some of the advantages of automating your customer service:

             1. Provide Fast, Round-the-Clock Automated Customer Service

    Issues on a product do not always happen within working hours. Your customer service representatives may not always be available during these times. Not only that, but customers also do not like it when they get a slow response.

    Nobody calls customer service at 3 a.m. without needing your immediate help.

    In these cases, the faster you respond, the better their customer experience is. HubSpot’s research team provided some statistics regarding response rates. Let’s look at some of them:

    • 90% of customers said that it is very important that customer service respond to them immediately
    • 60% of customers expect companies to respond within 10 minutes or less

    Consumers today like a speedy response. It’s best not to make them wait for tomorrow to have their problems resolved. Having chatbots and virtual assistants can immediately identify issues and solve them in a nick of time. They are also helpful in redirecting customers to self-help services and portals.

    With this, customers can fix their issues even when it’s past midnight. Having round-the-clock support for your customers increases their loyalty and trust in you.

              2. Lower Cost Per Interaction

    One of the main challenges of the customer service team is entertaining a high volume of customers. This may mean increasing your workforce to help each one of them. For an emerging company with limited funds, this is not a great option.

    When you have automated customer service to reply to simple queries, you won’t have to hire people to do the job. You can save as much as 30% in customer service costs with the help of automation.

    Although some software costs a fortune, there are free customer service softwares that you can avail across the internet.

              3. Help Agents Increase Customer Engagement

    Answering the same question numerous times is tiring for your agents. According to a survey, 67% of employees get exhausted with repetitive tasks that they think can be automated. They spent an average of 4 ½ hours a week on these mundane tasks.

    Why would you assign the time-consuming ticket routing to an agent when it can be done by a machine? You won’t only be helping your customers, but you will also be deflecting heavy workload from your team.

    Allocating simpler tasks to your automated system helps your agents utilize their time. Your agents can work on tasks where technology falls short – empathizing and providing insights.

             4. Provide Better Documentation of Concerns

    Documentation is an important process within the customer service department. It increases efficiency and allows the personalization of the customer experience.

    It would be disastrous if you don’t have a system where you can extract already existing customer information and concerns.

    With an automated system, you can centralize documentation for better workflow and productivity. As an example, tracking softwares helps ease the pain of manually tagging, sorting, and routing concerns. 

    Conclusion

    Customer service automation provides clear advantages for companies. These include improving employee productivity, providing a better customer experience, and increasing company sales. However, it is not wise to implement it without thinking it through. 

    There are many ways that you can mismanage automation, and this can potentially harm your business. The best way of avoiding this is to balance the right amount of automation and human interaction.

    Take note that customer service automation is only a tool for your agents. It should complement the system, not replace it.