Automated Customer Service Benefits
The choice between automated customer support and human-agent customer service isn’t black and white. In certain situations, the efficiency and convenience of automated tools are preferable. Conversely, there are times when the comfort and personal touch of human agents are desired. This complex decision-making process highlights the intricate nature of Customer Service Automation.
In this article, we are going to answer this question and learn how Generative AI for customer service can help with automating the support department at a company.
Table of Content
- Introduction to Automated Customer Service
- What is customer service automation?
- Customers’ Expectations from Automation
- 4 Benefits of Customer Service Automation
- Disadvantages of Automated customer service
- Automation for Enterprises
- Optimizing an Automated Customer Support
- Automated Customer Service Best Strategies
- Is your business ready for Automation?
- Is this a Right Time for You to Start with Automation
- Aisera’s Supports Customer Service Automation
- Customer Service Automation FAQs
- Additional Resources
What is customer service automation?
Customer service automation is a way to help automate the repetitive nature of some common customer queries by using technologies like AI chatbots or Conversational AI platforms to help with self-service for the customer. An AI virtual assistant relies on NLP & NLU to easily handle customer support queries in a proactive manner and help scale your enterprise support needs more efficiently.
Expectations from an automated customer service software: Individual Differences
We also ought to acknowledge that individuals will have varying preferences, based on a number of factors. In today’s age of big data and fine-tuned market research, it’s silly to attempt to describe all “customers” generically.
People vary based on:
Not surprisingly, we see distinctions in preference across different age groups. As people get older, they tend to prefer human service, while younger clients prefer automated customer service. There are several potential explanations, including the fact that older people may be less familiar with technology and more accustomed to human interactions for resolving issues. It remains to be seen whether this is truly a reflection of age or more of a byproduct of contrasting generations and personal philosophies.
People may also vary in preference based on their general disposition and personality. People who are social and outgoing might be more inclined to talk with a human because they genuinely enjoy the conversation. People who prefer to remain independent and others who are annoyed by conversation may see human interaction as a chore, and lean more toward customer service automation.
We also must bear in mind the impact of historical experience. If a customer has had a poor experience with an antiquated chatbot on another company’s website, he or she may be less likely to respond positively to an automated customer service function on your website. Similarly, if a person has repeatedly struggled to get the service they need from a human, they may elect to use automated customer service as often as they can.
Nature of inquiry
An individual may prefer human service or automated customer service interaction, based on the nature of their inquiry. If they have a simple question or need a simple issue taken care of, automated customer service may be perfectly acceptable. But if their issue is complicated, and the automated customer service platform doesn’t seem capable of solving it, they may prefer to talk to a human, rather than waste time trying to navigate the automated arena.
4 reasons to bring automation in customer service (Benefits)
Most companies recognize the enormous benefits of using automation technology to augment their customer service team.
When you integrate artificial intelligence-powered customer service automation software, that means you can serve more customer issues simultaneously in real-time, save money on additional support team hiring costs, and worry less about the consistency of the services you provide by automating repetitive tasks and improving the response times for requests.
1- Supercharging Customer Experience
About 67 percent of customers used chatbots in 2018, and the number of customers using AI Virtual Assistants has been steadily growing ever since. More companies are turning to conversational AI solutions as their preferred method of providing service.
There are several reasons customers prefer automated customer service, including:
One of the biggest advantages for customers, when they use automated customer service, is speed. Chatbots and other automated tools are highly scalable and capable of serving millions of people simultaneously. Customers don’t have to wait on hold indefinitely, they don’t have to wait in line, and they don’t find themselves watching their email for 48 hours to see a response. Instead, they can start chatting and getting answers immediately.
The efficiency with basic queries
For basic queries, there’s no beating automated customer service. With a quick search or a few lines of chat, your automated system can render an easy answer and provide your excellent customer service with all the information they need to resolve the issue. This is highly streamlined and efficient.
People feel less pressure when they interact with automated systems. They can multitask while keeping a chat window open and explore customer service options at their own speed. Talking on the phone or speaking directly with a customer service rep demands more attention, greater formality, and quicker responses.
For most customer inquiries though, automated customer support resolves issues faster. Due to a combination of factors, such as reduced wait time, quicker responses, and more efficient solutions, customers tend to resolve matters much faster with automated services than with real people.
2- Elevating Customer Interactions
According to some surveys, up to 86 percent of customers prefer human service over interactions with chatbots. There are various reasons why many customers prefer human service, including:
Some people feel disconnected when they have to engage with chatbots and other automated tools. They prefer what they describe as “real” experiences. Talking to a human customer service representative makes your brand seem more responsive and the experience is more pleasant for many people.
Sympathy and empathy
You can simulate sympathy and empathy with a chatbot, but it’s hard to fake realistically. Human beings tend to be better at providing an honest emotional response.
Complex problem resolution
Some inquiries are too strange or complicated for simple automated systems to handle. For complicated requests, a human customer service agent may be more effective.
3- Cut the cost of customer service
Organizations that face hyper-growth tend to need larger customer service teams to support customers and their business needs. However, most organizations that don’t take the customer service function seriously also stand witness to high churn rates and have a tough time with customer retention rates.
This is where adopting AI and automation for the enterprise is very helpful to cut the costs towards providing a scalable solution for automating customer service and improving agent productivity while auto-resolving the repetitive support queries in the form of digital, voice, or chat-assisted digital agents.
4- Help support team works efficiently
Giving time back to agents to focus on important tasks and escalations is one of the other benefits of adding an AI virtual assistant to the mix for resolving customer support queries that are of a repetitive nature.
By adopting AI and automation customer service agents are empowered to get more done with lower effort and improve the efficiency of the customer support requests being resolved with a hybrid between AI chatbots and human customer support agents.
Disadvantages of Automated customer service
The personal touch of human-to-human communication can be approached, but not truly duplicated by automating customer service. So human interaction is irreplaceable in some instances. However, the latest conversational AI technologies can resolve complicated problems without impacting CX.
That’s why it’s important to escalate a quick, smooth handover to support rep if a customer is unable to resolve their issue with self-service. If customers can’t reach a human representative ASAP, that can impact their takeaway impression.
Example of frustration:
A customer who has unsuccessfully searched a knowledge base and FAQs for a solution turns to your AI chatbot—and gets referred right back to the knowledge base!
You’ll want to watch for and correct the following concerns to ensure customers are comfortable with using your AI-powered tool like ChatGPT for customer support:
Lack of the “human touch”
A robotic, flat response is one risk of an AI-powered system, but improvements are arriving every day. The ability to empathize is being built into AI to de-escalate such frustration. Pointing customers to irrelevant articles also has a negative impact.
Inability to address complex issues
As AI evolves, it reaches for better comprehension of abstract concepts. Again, escalation to a human agent at the right point to respond to a customer who asks more than a simple billing query will pay off in a positive outcome.
The perceived threat to customer service jobs
The fears among staff that they will be laid off or displaced by AI are real, and you want to address this in your planning. Reps must be reassured as to their ability to provide personalized support; they should seize any opportunity to elevate their unique value, such as offering proactive alerts to emerging policy changes or cost-saving opportunities.
Cost issues for AI deployment
Financial concerns over the ability of a new AI customer assistant to execute cost-effectively are real and need to be addressed. For chatbots, look for high language capabilities (NLP and NLU). Before Conversational AI can emote like a human, it must recognize speech and text and comprehend the intent and mood of human utterances.
Slow-or-no escalation to a live rep
This leaves a customer stewing in limbo. If your current chatbot can’t interpret information to direct customers to make the appropriate routing decision, automation becomes a blocker rather than a resource—or a valid support method.
Excessive reliance on technology
Never let automation distract attention from your focus on delighting the customer. Because reliance on AI may potentially weaken the customer bond, ensure your customer service team understands best practices in communicating with customers, even when the toolset is readily available. Use data accumulated by chatbots to improve your customer service skills and team’s familiarity with customer concerns and people skills.
How enterprises are succeeding with automating customer service
Automated customer service can be simple or complex, depending on your industry and business’s size. Perhaps all you need your customer service software to do is assure customers that you’ve received their message and will get back to them. Or maybe your support team has enough volume to merit a sophisticated AI chatbot that can learn and problem-solve on its own.
Depending on your needs, you could set up any one of the following systems:
- Knowledge Base or FAQ page as a searchable database.
- Canned greetings that assure customers the team is working to resolve the issue.
- Pre-written responses to common customer questions and greetings
- Gathering customer data (like account numbers) to populate future forms
- Reset password prompts
- Account Verification
- Basic troubleshooting procedures
- Triaging tickets to relevant agents
As more businesses acknowledge the striking advantages of automation, they explore these available resources to enhance the customer experience, including these:
The popularity of chatbots is growing in customer service; you can choose solutions of varying sophistication—from handling routine questions such as upcoming deliveries, balances due, order status, and other information.
- Agent Assist
Contact centers are increasingly using advanced omnichannel agent-assisted AI technology to understand customer communications and interpret the issues; they can quickly search knowledge articles for an agent and display them while the agent is engaged with the customer. This saves time for both the agent and the customer.
Self-service is an ideal way for customers to locate the support they need autonomously, without the need for a customer service agent. Customers would much prefer to do their own research and solve issues themselves if the process is well-designed and offers them the proper tools and information.
- Robotic process automation
Robotic process automation (RPA) is a hot technology that automates numerous simple tasks that used to require agent participation. Bots can now update records, manage issues, and proactively remind customers of beneficial new resources, sales, and programs that align with their interests. RPA has proven it can dramatically lower costs while boosting efficiency and cutting processing time.
- Machine learning
Machine learning (ML) is at the heart of processing and analyzing large data streams and gaining actionable insights. When it comes to customer service, ML can provide predictive analytics to agents that identify common questions and responses. It can also remind an agent of missed opportunities or relevant new facts. ML can also assist chatbots and other AI resources in applying results to a situation and supporting self-service problem-solving.
- Natural language processing
Customer service AI relies heavily on natural language processing (NLP) for interpreting customer feedback and deriving useful insights. Customer service agents use NLP to understand customer feedback and interactions across the omnichannel—phone, email, chat, and SMS. Today, NLP cuts through tedious redundancies to create better customer satisfaction.
- IVR automation
Interactive Voice Response (IVR) systems are not brand new and have automated simple transactions for decades. However, now AI is used in new, conversational IVR systems to deal with tasks. New IVR can verify users by means of voice biometrics and can use NLP to explain to the IVR system what needs to happen. This simplifies the conversational customer experience (CX).
- Sentiment and advanced analytics
Sentiment analysis actually registers and identifies the emotional tenor of a customer, and it’s becoming a part of the customer service measure. The utility is flagging a customer who may be upset and then alerting a team leader or agent to interject and de-escalate the situation.
- AI training
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and employees working remotely, training teams turned to AI for simulations that assess employee ability to handle assorted situations. This takes the place of training that involves classroom, self-paced learning, and final assessment.
- Smart speakers
Smart assistants such as Alexa, Google Assistant, and Siri provide a new level of personalized service. Customers appreciate an organization communicating in their preferred platform, which may be via their smart home device and smart speaker.
Optimizing the customer support automation system
If you’re embarking on customer service automation, consider where the effort will have the greatest impact and deliver the highest advantages. There may be an area where the need is obvious. Perhaps people waiting in phone queues outpace your email inbox.
That’s a signal you may want an IVR system. Think omnichannel, because people are accustomed to “Alexa-level” responses and intelligence. If people are avoiding your online chat resource, it may need some improvement.
This is why it’s vital that you choose a platform that has high functionality and responsiveness. As you determine the best way to incorporate your software into your company’s workflow, keep in mind that it should be powerful enough to keep pace with changes.
For example, say you’ve installed a sophisticated AI chatbot onto your website. An integrated customer service platform allows your agents to transition easily to wherever demand automate customer support is highest. What customer service tasks should be automated? Your automated customer service software is your first line of defense. What are the high-volume, simple tasks that your support representatives spend their hours on?
Proven automated Customer Service Best Strategies
So what’s the best strategy for you? Clearly, there are advantages to either automated customer service tools or human customer service.
There are also people in your audience who will strongly prefer automated customer service systems and others who would rather get human customer service. The best way to capture the full advantages of both strategic directions is to include both as part of your comprehensive customer service processes strategy.
Conversational AI and automated customer service should be integral parts of your modern customer service strategy. If you’re looking for new solutions to help you boost the power and appeal of your automated customer service, you’re in the right place.
Is your business ready for Automation?
In the past, customer service was traditionally seen as a cost center, so it didn’t receive the attention it deserved as an attractive—let alone a vital—technology investment. But those days are over. Opportunities to enhance customer service and turn it into a source of new revenue streams abound. Increasingly, today’s customers expect self-service, automation of tasks, and shortened response times.
Next-gen omnichannel experience platforms are enriching customer service as they quickly gain sophistication and agility; it doesn’t take a crystal ball to foresee how they can cut operational and other costs while raising efficiency and paving the path to more satisfied users and customers.
Businesses that gain the ability to improve their customer service metrics by resolving and automating customer service requests autonomously can look forward to achieving 80 percent MTTR, up to 50 percent increased CSAT/NPS scores, and cost reductions reaching 90 percent. Even if you already have data from service and sales reps, social media, Net Promoter Scores, and Customer Effort Scores, you may not have optimal insight. Use AI to categorize, organize, and analyze customer data.
You may have a trove of valuable customer information, such as historic emails, call logs, and past social care messages. Find out from Aisera how to fully inform your metrics and ensure that every customer journey generates more customer satisfaction surveys and loyalty.
Aisera can support your customer service automation goals
Discover the many ways that Aisera takes the weight off your shoulders when it comes to automating customer service. After a quick, simple integration, we help you offer the response, empathy, and intelligence that add up to a delightful customer experience.
Aisera’s next-generation AI Customer Service solution is a scalable cloud service used by millions of users. AI Customer Service automates requests, cases, tasks, and actions for Customer Service, Support, Sales, Marketing, and Finance.
Aisera’s Customer Service works with existing service cloud products (Salesforce, SAP, Oracle, Workday, Zendesk, and ServiceNow) to deliver a revolutionary end-to-end service experience for users—improving customer satisfaction, NPS, and drastically reducing support and operation costs.
Enterprise customers using Aisera’s AI Customer Service automatically resolved 65-80 percent of customer service requests and support cases with self-service. Aisera’s unique AI Customer Service solution delivers 10x ROI in 3-6 months, reducing support costs by 90 percent.
Schedule a demo of our AI-powered customer service technology today!
Customer Service Automation FAQs
Is customer service still a cost center?
In the past it was, but the trend is rapidly changing. Customer service can raise a brand’s competitiveness and empower customer retention. Customer service teams are adapting to answer that call, by investing in the gent experience and the resources agents need to effectively improve the entire customer journey and experience.
What direction is customer service moving in?
Now that AI has made real-time support a revenue resource, integration with social media platforms has expanded and achieving a positive customer experience is now considered an enterprise-wide target.
Technology enables agents to take a more proactive role in raising revenue through upsell and cross-sell, customer retention, and other activities. This empowers customer service and support reps to be more effective and efficient when Conversational AI releases them from the burden of routine activities.
What are ways to improve automated customer service?
Leverage your data to inform your automation and make it smarter and more relevant. Monitor your automated customer service by collecting and auditing your data frequently. Additionally, check in on your support queues to ensure people aren’t waiting. And check every channel of automated support for bugs, broken links, outdated information, or any other issues.
Where can customer service automation deliver the most value right now?
Focus on simple, repeated tasks that eat up the majority of your support team’s time. This includes troubleshooting for defective products, verifying user accounts and identities, gathering customer data, and other tasks that automation can handle.