Automation can be a scary term for customer service representatives. It sounds very robotic and cold, which is the opposite of customer service, a more warm and friendly term. The question is, can these two opposites really attract? Is automated customer service a myth or the future of customer service? If these two concepts are combined effectively, can they work for your organization? Is customer service able to be automated in non-robotic ways? The answer is complicated. On one hand, it is easy to automate customer service incorrectly. Companies try and fail at this every single day. On the other hand, leading companies across the nation are utilizing automation to their benefit, taking automation at face value – as a tool that can make your customer service teams more efficient without losing the nurturing, personalized service that makes your brand stand out from the competition. Here are some ways to automate customer service without coming across as robotic:
Automate reports for quick, personalized outreach: Automation doesn’t have to solely affect the customer-facing aspects of your customer service organization. Sometimes, it is best to use automation behind the scenes to help you operate more efficiently, becoming more proactive than reactive. One way to accomplish this is by automating reports. When you can quickly pull customer history to identify customers who may need special attention based on their purchase and return history or total number of support cases in a given period, you are more likely to keep them as a customer and transform a potentially negative service into a positive one.
Develop dynamic email templates: Automated emails are one of the scariest customer service automation combinations, but they do not have to be. In fact, creating customizable email templates to move customers through sales or service funnels is a tool that companies use every day, and when done correctly it is a great automation tactic. Not only are these great for lead nurturing but also for keeping customers informed. If, for example, your customer makes a return and wants to know when it was received, or when a replacement or refund is issued, you don’t even have to think about it. The good thing is, your customers will feel like you did take the time to think about them and appreciate the effort.
Flag customer concerns: One major component of great customer service is addressing customer issues quickly and effectively to keep them happy and loyal to your brand. Flagging customer concerns by defining specific customer groups and assigning actions and alerts to those groups is one of the fastest ways to address customer issues and take action almost instantly. Your flags and alerts are internally automated, but your customer outreach doesn’t have to be, so you get the best of both worlds. You also have the option to set-up dynamic email templates, as previously mentioned, to save time writing the base of your email for even faster response times. That’s the beauty of automated customer service – it’s flexible to fit your needs.
Deliver a customized self-service experience: Giving your customers some control over their service experience is a good thing. The only drawback to using a customer portal is overlooking the customer experience. Simply think about their journey, adding in personalized touches and easy-to-follow instructions throughout the experience to make it as pleasant as possible. Don’t make them search for answers and keep their end of the transaction as simple and straightforward as possible. Allowing them to submit a service request or check the status of a return or service case, for example, takes a huge burden off of your support staff and keeps customers happy and informed without making them feel like they are doing too much work. Striking this type of balance with self-service tools is going to be the key to their success. Automated customer support doesn’t have to be robotic to save you time and money. In fact, when done properly, it can help your company generate efficiencies within your customer service organization and even improve customer satisfaction rates. Both customer service and automation are about customer engagement and happiness, so why not try combining the two for maximum impact? The question is no longer if you should combine these two concepts but rather how you can do so better than your competition to stay ahead of the curve and improve your customer experience long-term. Want to improve your company’s customer service even more?