You’ve probably heard the term automation being thrown around more and more often when it comes to customer service, but what would automating your customer service actually entail? And is it really worth it? Below we’ve compiled six of the key advantages of automating customer service for your business.
What is customer service automation?
In short, customer service automation is the handover of manual tasks, which would usually be performed by customer service agents, to an automatic system which is able to carry out the same tasks, faster and more efficiently.
Don’t think of automation as something scary that is trying to replace humans with robots. Think of it like… a dishwasher. Whilst it’s possible to wash the dishes by hand, and sometimes necessary for the ones that really need that extra scrub, for the vast majority, throwing them in the dishwasher will save you both time and energy. Time and energy which can then be spent more productively on other more important tasks, in this case more complex customer service queries.
Why is customer service automation important now?
With customer acquisition costs constantly rising, being able to win brand loyalty is proving to be increasingly challenging in today’s market. Nowadays, consumers are more empowered than ever, and with that, means their expectations are higher than ever too.
Modern customers expect modern solutions, which includes getting what they want, when they want it. Instant gratification is not just a psychological term, it’s a reality that requires businesses to significantly improve the speed of their customer service, and fast.
In fact, according to a Statista survey on customer service frustration, 10% of consumers said that slow response time was their number one frustration. The vast majority of participants, as high as 90%, expected immediate responses from a brand, and 60% admitted that they would be displeased if a brand took longer than 1 minute to respond.
However, it’s important to take into account that over 60% of consumers are also frustrated by impersonal brand communication. They want to feel that a brand truly cares. So when automating your brand’s customer service, it’s essential to balance the speed and efficiency of automation, whilst still maintaining a warm, friendly and personable tone that makes customers feel cared for by your brand.
6 Advantages of customer service automation
1. Speed and efficiency
The value to be gained from customer service automation is two-fold. Customers benefit from it because their query can be solved more quickly, and with less effort required on their end. Agents benefit from it because by diverting customers from calling, they save themselves valuable time which can then be used to solve more complex queries and tasks.
So if your customer service team measures metrics such as Average Handling Time (AHT), automating these processes with a chatbot or conversational app, could improve results exponentially.
When we consider that 40% of customers want companies to take care of their needs quickly, and 71% would be happy to use a bot if it resolves their query faster, it’s clear to see that respect for customer’s time is one of the most important factors in providing a positive customer experience. Hence why the speed and efficiency of automation is such a huge advantage.
2. 24/7 support
There are only so many hours in a day that customer service agents can be expected to be available. Virtual agents, on the other hand, aren’t constrained by the limits of operating hours. So regardless of a customer’s location or time zone, you can offer them fast, efficient, round-the-clock support.
Of course there are certain queries that may be out of scope for a virtual assistant, so it is lucky that automation doesn’t stop at chatbots. In fact, one of its many advantages is being able to put processes in place for human-handover too.
Chatbots powered by AI (Artificial Intelligence) are able to collect questions, queries, contact details, and other data from customers, or potential ones, and pass this information onto a human CS or sales agent so that they can follow up on it once they are back online.
3. Reduce customer service costs
By avoiding the substantial costs that having a 24/7 customer service team would ensue, this can already save any company a significant amount of money. So it’s no wonder that introducing automated technologies such as conversational apps can save up to 40% on overall customer service costs. Not only do they have the potential to reduce phone enquiries by up to 70%, but they can therefore also reduce call operating costs by as much as 25%.
The concept of offering automated customer support may sound unappealing hypothetically, but as long as it’s done right, it can actually be the complete opposite. In fact, the majority of consumers nowadays expect to talk primarily to virtual assistants, and 62% of consumers would rather not talk to a human at all if they just have a simple query.
And the cost-reductions don’t stop there. Unlike human agents, chatbots don’t require raises, bonuses or commissions for their performance, which automatically saves a considerable amount of money. However, who’s to say that these savings can’t be put back into your existing workforce? The more resources at your disposal, the better you can reward your (human) staff for their performance!
4. Avoid human error
Even the most highly-skilled agents aren’t exempt from committing errors, especially when performing repetitive tasks. As much as 48.8% of human errors can be put down to stress, repetition or fatigue. Of course this is understandable. However, over time these errors can accumulate, and can end up costing businesses a lot of unnecessary losses.
If your company wants to minimize the chance of human error, the most-effective way to achieve this is through automation. Bots are specifically programmed to take note of all the essential details in each user's query, retain a high quantity of knowledge, and then use it to solve the queries, error-free.
By automating the more menial tasks, therefore reducing the possibility of human error, this also enables agents to spend more of their time and attention on less menial tasks. All of which helps to provide a seamless customer experience.
5. Uniform brand voice
For any brand, having a unique tone of voice is paramount, as it can help differentiate you from competitors and make your brand more recognizable and memorable to customers. According to the Sprout Social Index, 40% of consumers said that memorable content was what made a brand stand out most, 33% said a distinct personality, and 32% said compelling storytelling, all three of which are directly related to a brand’s voice.
That’s why it’s essential to maintain this tone even within the automation of your customer service. The misconception that chatbots can only be generic and robotic is just that; a misconception, and frankly a very out-dated one.
With intelligent conversational apps, you can provide customer service which is on-brand with your company’s voice, by programming certain words or phrases into your conversational design. This allows for a frictionless customer experience which maintains uniformity and stays on-brand at all times.
6. Increased customer satisfaction
Faster, more efficient, and more convenient. What more could customers want? With the ability to receive support when and where they want, automation can go a long way towards increasing customer satisfaction, loyalty, and ensuring they come back again when they’re in need.
When it comes to customer satisfaction, nothing less than the best should be acceptable for your clients. That’s why, if there is a way to provide fast solutions that keep both your agents and your customers happy, incorporating it into your customer service strategy should be a no-brainer. With customer service automation this can be achieved.
Happy agents and happy customers - the ideal indicator of top-class customer service.
Customer service automation solutions
At Hubtype, we know the complexity of providing excellent customer service, as well as the technology that’s required to provide it seamlessly. Our conversational apps are built to address modern customer service challenges, automate conversations meaningfully, and take customer experiences to the next level.
To find out more about Hubtype’s technology, and the future of customer service, book a demo with us today.