The world’s most customer-obsessed brands look for innovative ways to engage, manage, and deliver exceptional support experiences, and especially when users reach out to the contact center. As per Deloitte’s 2019 Global Contact Center Survey, CX is a high priority for 57% of organizations, and it will increase to 67% in the next two years. In addition, contact center leaders stated that customer experience (85%) and service improvement (78%) are the main factors driving call center investment. However, delivering a positive contact center experience isn’t that easy. Complex IVRs, long wait times, nonavailability of agents, and poor results create unnecessary friction.
Implementing customer service automation processes empowers businesses to deliver faster, more effective, and frictionless customer service, leading to enhanced customer experience.
Not only that, automating routine tasks using AI and ML technologies — AI-powered voicebots and other automated self-service technologies — save customer service team hours of manual labor and operational costs. Human support agents can focus their time on more complex or sensitive issues. For example, in the case of an insurance provider, if the customer enquires about the policy status for a deceased family member, the voice bot can route the call to a human agent to handle such conversations.
Read on to discover customer service automation, how it empowers your business, and how you can implement it to support your customers at scale.
What is customer service automation?
Customer service automation (or customer support automation) simply means reducing or eliminating the need for human involvement in simple, routine tasks. It involves carrying out customer support tasks, providing assistance and advice to customer requests, and solving customer queries using automated technology such as AI-powered chatbots and voicebots, not humans.
There are several ways you can go about automating your customer service processes:
— Self-service portals like website, apps, and knowledge bases
— Email autoresponders and canned replies
— Process automation with “if this, then that” logic
— Voice bots
With advancements in conversational AI, chatbots and voice bots have become popular automated customer support options. AI has reached a stage where chatbots can have engaging and instant conversations, allowing businesses to leverage technology to support more customers.
Improvement in speech recognition is increasing the popularity of voice bots as the preferred customer self-service tool.
These AI-powered bots resolve simple customer queries and provide assistance for a number of use cases across different industries. Like “I am facing financial constraints. Can I get a payment extension?” “I met with an accident. I urgently need roadside assistance.”
How customer service automation empowers your business
Implementing an automation-first strategy in customer service not only transforms the support experiences for customers but the businesses as well.
1. Let customers choose their preferred channel of communication
Customers expect to choose a service option that best fits their needs. Some customers prefer self-service through support articles, and others look to engage with chatbots to find their answers. And in some cases, they like to get on a call with a support agent. However, when callers do not have enough time to get into an in-depth conversation with human agents or patience to stay on hold, automated customer service options like voice bots help businesses instantly resolve customer queries in real-time, using natural conversation. These bots seamlessly loop in human agents for issues where their expertise is required.
Imagine a sports brand that wishes to provide a frictionless post-purchase experience to its customers by automating the order management services. Joe, a customer, ordered two pairs of sneakers. But now he wants the delivery sooner than the ETA. He goes to the company website and tracks the order. He sees that the order status as shipped but is unable to get the exact location. He calls the customer service center, where a voice bot greets him. On stating his query, the bot confirms the order location. When Joe requests for early delivery, the bot captures his natural language intent and transfers the call to a live agent, who helps him with a suitable delivery time. An automation-first approach supports customers on their terms on their preferred channel.
2. Reduce friction for the customers and elevate overall CX
Customer service automation is not limited by time zones, holidays, or crisis. Customers have their requests answered 24X7. This greatly influences customer satisfaction and elevates overall CX.
For instance, around March 2020, with the spread of Covid-19, travel plans worldwide got disrupted. Customer service centers saw an unprecedented rise in call volume. Customers looking to get their flights canceled or modified with Canadian airline WestJet had to wait in excess of 600 minutes to reach an agent. This was both due to a pandemic and winter storm in Canada. It is humanly difficult to provide the desired experience in such scenarios. It is during these times that companies with robust customer service automation can create a competitive advantage over others.
AI-powered self-service tools like voice bots help businesses take customer service to places that haven’t been possible before.
Voice bots give them the ability to compel loyalty while being cost-efficient. They offer an instant, end-to-end resolution to customer problems, including scheduling callbacks during nonpeak or office hours.
In the airline industry, voice bots help manage flight reservations, provide real-time flight status information, rescheduling and cancellations, and handle special service requests.
3. Lower operational costs
Businesses are leveraging automated customer service for both customer-facing experiences and operational aspects.
According to IBM, companies spend $1.3 trillion to answer 265 billion customer service calls each year — and deploying conversational AI can cut costs by 30%.
Chatbots or voice bots help businesses save on customer service costs by speeding up response times, freeing up agents for more challenging tasks, and autonomously answering up to 80% of routine questions.
4. Make agents more effective
Chatbots and voice bots autonomously resolve common, repetitive queries, without any human intervention. For a few complex issues, bots route customers and all the associated information to the right human agent. Customers do not have to repeat the information already shared, and agents have everything available to resolve the issue at hand. Moreover, voice bots assist agents with relevant tips and insights during customer interaction.
How to set up customer service automation with Agara
Agara’s AI-powered voice bot provides self-serve phone support and enables frictionless interactions between businesses and consumers. The autonomous voice bots converse and provide end-to-end resolution of customer queries like a highly trained human agent. It also collaborates with human agents to offer highly contextual suggestions in real-time so the agents can conduct their conversations without breaks or gaps. Learn more about AI-powered, autonomous voice bots here.