What Is Customer Service Automation? (Definition, Examples, Pros, and Cons)

Automated customer service is a double-edged sword. It is the ability for customers to receive an answer quickly and without the need for human assistance. For customer service executives, it is a necessary evil that can help them keep up with the growing volume of contacts. For agents, customer service automation can be even treated as a threat to their jobs.

But no matter how automated customer service is treated, it is still a necessary transformation that a business needs to make in order to stay competitive in today’s world. If done successfully, it can improve the experience for all — customers, business executives, and agents.

In our article, we will dwell on what an automated customer support system is. And what automated technologies can speed up and improve the working processes, and what tools and integrations can make your Zendesk work on autopilot. So, keep on reading.

What Is Customer Service Automation

Customer service automation is the transformation of your customer support so it is operated using different technologies (like AI, machine learning, natural language processing, and others) rather than operated by agents. The automation process can be partial or full.

We want to emphasize that automation solutions don’t put humans out of work. Instead, it is the next step in workforce evolution as it frees the customer support team from manual and repetitive tasks. Also, it lets them focus on more important and complex ones.

The Driving Forces of Customer Support Automation

What are the driving forces of automation? They are customers’ preferences and expectations. In today’s digital age, customers do not want to wait, they expect instant help with their issues 24/7. They also expect nothing less than a personalized and specific approach, and mostly through messaging. And that’s the main reason for digital transformations and automation for many call centers and the wide use of live chats, mobile messaging, and other tools.

Customer service automation cute bot

Examples of automation in customer service

There are numerous automation tools that you can use to automate your customer service. Among the most popular ones are:

  • Chatbots are used for customer self-service;
  • CRM automation can ease the work of your agents (for example, automatic case creation, auto-suggested knowledge content, etc.);
  • Automated incoming email processing and responding;
  • Conversational Interactive Voice Response (IVR);
  • Customer knowledge bases;
  • Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ);
  • Social listening software;
  • Integrations that help automate the work of your help center.

Automated customer service Pros

Now let’s look closer at the advantages of automated customer service inside almost any business model.

1. Faster response

Speed is a crucial factor in providing exceptional customer service. Did you know that an average customer response benchmark for such world giants like Facebook and Twitter is only 15 minutes? What’s more, customers expect an instant (and by instant we mean less than a minute) reply on live chat, call, or SMS.

Automation of your call center can help you even exceed these expectations. How? It’s simple. Equipped with an email automation tool that can read your incoming emails and generate responses for agents’ review, you can save up to one-fifth of the time needed to process.

If you use Zendesk help center, you can use different helpful tools to facilitate your work with emails. Namely, tools for creating bulk email campaigns, email tracking software, integrations that help you comply with many data protection laws, and many others. Use chatbots to deliver a fast and, what’s more, accurate resolution of your customers’ issues within seconds.

2. Extended business working hours

As we have already mentioned, customers want immediate resolution of their issues. And the only way to provide such service without enlarging your workforce is through automation. For example, some customer services use chatbots as the first step in communication with the customers. If the problem remains unresolved, they escalate an issue to the live agent only.

3. Reduction of human errors

As you know, to err is human. But this statement doesn't work in customer service. Of course, people are great when it comes to showing empathy to others. But they can’t compete on accuracy and high speed when it comes to some repetitive and manual tasks like data entering, or finding the one relevant article in the knowledge base from thousands available. That is when automation tools and software come into play. Besides, some automation tools can become even smarter and more accurate over time as they learn from previous interactions and are able to adjust their behavior.

4. Reduction of costs

Automation of your call center can decrease the costs per interaction with a customer. For example, using chatbots that can resolve issues without the help of the agents is a very cost-effective way because they exclude many other steps like a phone call, agent work, etc. According to a study by McKinsey, companies that have implemented automation can save up to 40% on service costs. What’s more, an email automation software can answer the emails for $1 each, compared to $5-6 you spend on each email when it is processed by an agent.

5. Better customer experience

According to the research by Capterra, 72% of respondents reported that the main reason for their negative customer experience was the need to explain their issues to multiple agents. How to minimize the risks of such negative cases? Chatbots and automation of the agent-assistance can improve the first contact resolution, ensuring that there won’t be any need to repeat the issue for a customer over and over again.

6. Flexibility

Automation of your customer support allows you to scale your business with ease. Besides, you can scale your automation tools too, choose the ones that fit your business best and be ready for anything the future will bring.

Automated customer service Cons

1. Difficulties in implementation and usage

Automated customer service software can cause frustration and misunderstanding for the customers who will visit your help center one more time and reveal some changes. Exceptionally, if they used to solve their issues in a traditional way (chat, calls, email messages). Even advanced users can be confused with the latest service automation software. That’s why after the successful implementation of automation tools, your main task is to teach your customers how to use it if your goal is to avoid bouncing.

Moreover, provide employee training and onboarding for your agents to completely use all the benefits of automation with less resistance to changes.

2. Disability to solve complex or individual issues

“Automate customer service and forget about the complaints, negative customer feedback, and dismiss your customer service team.” Sounds great, but this statement is false from the beginning as we are all humans, not robots. Consequently, some clients may face complex and rarely repeated issues that can be resolved only with intuition and a complicated approach or with third-parties participants.

Customer service automation robots

3. Lack of live communication

Essentially, covid-19 took away an already small amount of communication. We have become homebodies, which is one of the reasons we are looking for the personal touch more than ever before. Automating customer service also deprives customers and support reps of even small talk. Automated customer service tools can’t smile or express empathy and make us feel only like a regular ticket.

Implementing Customer Service Automation of Your Zendesk Help Center

Help center is a vital tool for improving communication with your customers. Today, Zendesk is one of the most popular help centers that aids sales, support, and customer success teams to improve their performance and key metrics. It is a powerful tool that helps provide your customers with seamless and omni-channel support wherever and whenever they need it. Such big sharks like Uber, Tesco, Mailchimp and others have already been using Zendesk because of its flexibility, integration and customization options.

Don’t know which automation tools to add to your Zendesk? GrowthDot, a Zendesk app developer and consultant, can help you choose the right app and integration that will make your customer support run smoothly and more efficiently.

Summing Up

Every day the benefits of customer support automation becomes more apparent for both customers and businesses. For customers, it helps them get their issues resolved faster and efficiently, for companies — it lightens the load of work. However, don’t treat automation as a magic wand that will immediately help you slash your spending. It’s worth remembering that you should first think of what processes need automation and then opt for the right tools.

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