Ever since the arrival of the internet and the birth of the digital era, most companies have been experiencing a second Industrial Revolution. The first occurred in the 18th century, when many factories introduced machines and mechanized systems that boosted productivity and replaced human workers.
200 years later, the world is undergoing a similar revolution thanks to the use of AI, automated software, and the implementation of digital tools.
Some areas of business, once purely based on human-to-human interaction, are being automated. E-commerce, for example, has replaced traditional shops in certain sectors, and customer support could be next.
Automated customer service offers a series of unique advantages that shouldn’t be ignored. It’s available 24 hours a day, every day of the week, and from any part of the globe with a stable internet connection.
This type of customer support is not only helpful for clients but can also assist company agents, making their job easier and allowing them to multitask, so they can cover multiple client requests at the same time.
Although it comes with a series of advantages, automation can be problematic. How to implement it in the workplace is one of the biggest challenges of modern customer support.
Luckily, some simple tips can help any business boost their automated customer support. Here are a few pieces of advice for those getting introduced to this new approach to customer service.
Understand your audience (and their preferences)
Prioritizing the customer’s needs and desires is one of the most important customer experience competencies to have in mind. You cannot offer great customer service if you are not in touch with your audience.
To offer excellent client support, you must know what your customers expect. Dividing your clients into different age groups is a quick way of making sure you understand their very different needs.
According to Statista, customers over the age of 55 prefer chatting to a real person. 25% of those in this age group cite the inability to reach a live agent as one of their biggest critiques regarding poor customer service.
If your target customer is between the ages of 50 and 80, then it’s vital that you choose the ideal contact center management solution to ensure excellent customer experience without the complications of managing support directly.
On the younger side of the spectrum, millennial customers often prefer taking matters into their own hands. 17% of clients between the ages of 18 and 34 cite issues regarding self-service as their main critique in terms of unsatisfactory customer support.
In this case, automated chat-based communications such as chat-bots are the main resource for companies whose target audience are in their 20s.
Data analytics and why it matters
The importance of data cannot be overstated. The data you gather from your clients should be directly invested into making their customer experience as smooth as possible.
This info is essential during the process of designing an automated customer service strategy. Data analysis can help build the strong foundation needed to launch a successful customer experience strategy.
For this reason, it’s always useful to research your customers’ likes and dislikes, creating personalized polls, reading reviews, performance reports, and satisfaction ratings. Any company can gather this information to understand its customer base and develop its brand communication strategy more efficiently.
Data managing, data mining, and analytics are very complex techniques that require a trained eye that truly understands the meaning behind statistics. This is why having the best tools is vital.
Thankfully, there are plenty of options regarding data quality softwarethat can make this complicated scientific process more approachable, especially for companies getting started in the automation of customer support.
Accessibility in the digital era
Any modern company should strive to be as accessible as possible. Offering a variety of options for every client is not only fair but smart too. There is an entire section of the population that has been treated poorly by other companies, so making sure your business is inclusive and can accommodate different needs will help you source customers unhappy with their previous experience.
Visually impaired customers, for example, require audio-based automated customer support, such as IVR, which all the best customer support software offers. Interactive Voice Response (IVR) is an automated cloud PBX phone call system that assists callers through a pre-recorded menu of choices.
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This technology uses the caller’s input (either through the telephone keypad or their voice) to identify issues and provide solutions.
It’s vital to note that any IVR system must provide customers with the option of reaching a real employee. Remember, automation is a complementary tool. The mission of automation is to complement the work of a customer support specialist as opposed to completely replacing human-to-human interaction.
Although IVR systems tend to be the main go-to for most companies, these kinds of services are not suitable for all. Deaf customers, for example, require more visual options. In their case, an IVR or hosted PBX phone system wouldn’t be useful, and text-based software, like the service provided by an online chatbot, would be a better choice.
Invest in security
Online shopping, e-commerce, and the consequent digitization and automation of customer service have brought with them a series of unique challenges regarding security protocols. In terms of online customer service, few aspects of automated client support are more important than cybersecurity.
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According to Statista, 90% of internet users are concerned about data privacy and cybersecurity. Out of that vast majority of respondents, 47% pointed at their data being exposed, leaked, or stolen as their main concern.
By investing in cybersecurity, you will successfully distance yourself from your competitors. Most customers only buy from those they trust, so making them feel safe using your service should be one of your top priorities.
Choosing the best enterprise network security products may seem daunting at first, but thanks to automated technology, many cybersecurity programs include preventive security protocols (firewalls and anti-viruses mainly), as well as real-time IT support and instant messaging. These will help you fight any possible attacks from spyware, trojan horses, and worm viruses.
These network security products will not only protect your clients’ sensitive data, but keep your information safe too: accounting records, customer reviews, employee files, and so on.
Automatic incidents management
Incidents happen, but they don’t have to be the end of the world. There is no shame in admitting that, sometimes, mishaps occur.
Especially now, in the early stages of the digital era, these types of errors are unavoidable: bugs, glitches, downed servers. No matter what the issue is, you can work to solve it as effectively as possible by adopting an automated incident management process.
By implementing an end-to-end automated channel, you can comfortably connect your team and improve communication between employees and customers. Any company can fix incidents faster by implementing chatbots that guide clients through problems they may encounter, as well as sending instant alerts to IT support.
The future is automated
If you have read this far, you will have realized that automated customer support is now more widely available than ever with a much shorter lead time for implementation than before.This is thanks to project management tools and the digitization of the workplace.
But the truth is that this approach can be expanded to other areas of your company. Customer service may not be the only aspect of business to be automated in the future.
The concept of automated marketing, an idea that may seem like sci-fi to many of your competitors, is a reality. The automation of marketing is in the first stages of development, and jumping on board such an ambitious idea could distance you from your competitors, making you an outlier among the average company.
As we’ve said before, automation has defined the current status of customer service, but it is important to understand that, as with any recent technology, AI and software programs have their limitations.
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Any competent company that prides itself on giving excellent customer support must embrace the importance of human customer service specialists.
According to Statista, all customer age groups (from 18 to 55 years old) cited the inability of the company’s representative to solve their queries as the single most frustrating aspect of poor customer service.
For this reason, investing in training your employees through online courses and webinars should be the priority after the recruitment process has been completed.
Automation may be the key to supercharging customer service, boosting sales, and optimizing the workspace. But these tools will never serve their purpose if they are not properly implemented and utilized. Automation is the way-to-go, but there is a long road ahead of us.