Pros and Cons of Customer Service Automation | New Media Services
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Last updated on July 2, 2021

Pros and Cons of Customer Service Automation

Exceptional end-user assistance means making every second count. A customer who has to wait for several minutes just to receive a response from your team is more likely to switch to your competitor. 

As your business grows online, you’ll also find out how much help customer service automation can do for your company. Its main objective is to remove pressure on your human agents and speed up your company’s service to suit the demands of your clients.
In this article, we’ll define automation of customer service and list down the advantages and possible drawbacks coupled with equipping one’s operations with it.

What Is Customer Service Automation?

When an automated system guides people by using AI communication channels such as chatbots, live chats, and other technologies, that is when customer service automation is set into motion within a company or a business.

As users become more demanding, their greatest expectation in terms of service is speed. The essential thing a business can do is value its time during a service interaction.

A customer service automation solution is an instrumental asset to your team. It allows them to do their tasks at a more optimum level while at the same time, provide your customers a high-quality service. Automation makes your company’s work more accessible and more manageable. In turn, the heightened level of efficiency in your operations draws more people to connect with you.

Small and medium enterprises that use mobile apps, smartphones, and the Internet to promote their businesses win. Typically, SMEs that use these channels more diligently see their revenues growing up faster. 

Over the past years, phone use for customer service has steadily decreased. But, once the Internet became a worldwide sensation, people started turning to the Internet for their customer service needs. Email became popular and remained a significant customer service aspect when more people began using it online for their service needs

Suppose business expansion is one of your core goals, a more advanced form of customer service is the future. Why? For one, it is not affected by time zones or public holidays. It’ll give you the ability to deliver always-on customer service to resolve problems as soon as they arise.

Amid the coronavirus pandemic, workers are among the most gravely affected. COVID-19 has a high impact on workers’ labor supply and earnings in many countries, especially the business industry. This is where automation enters the picture, given that it is programmable and you will not need more workers to run your business.

Advantages of Automated Customer Service

Nowadays, business owners see the advantages of automated customer service to reach more users and boost their sales. But, businesses are still struggling between choosing whether to stay in the old ways or go with the tides of advancement. Besides, business owners must compare and contrast the flaws and benefits of each approach.

Avoid human error

The use of technology removes human error. Even if you hire the best people, you have to accept the fact that people make mistakes. It can happen to anyone, any time. If your company wishes to focus on addressing and minimizing human error, automation is the best key.

Most support representative’s undertakings entail repetitive tasks. These routine tasks are easy for people to do. However, if a job is redundant, the quality of customer service is significantly affected. Another example is that humans tend to be forgetful. It is human nature to forget important details, particularly when swamped with work. But, the good thing about automation is they are programmed not to ignore the essential details in each end-user concern. It can upload a high amount of knowledge and memory with fewer errors.

Also, humans are prone to lapses in familiar tasks. Even if you hire highly skilled agents, it does not guarantee an error-free performance.

Minimize the long queue

As a customer service provider, it is significant not to keep your clients waiting for a long time. Long queues are substantial causes of customer dissatisfaction and leave a negative impact on your business. There are at least two alternatives if you keep having these problems. Either you hire more employees, or you streamline the queue process.

Having automated customer service will help you to streamline the queue process. 

How? 

Bots and other communication channels speed up the time it takes to accommodate each customer, regardless of the severity or complexity of their issue.. That way, they don’t have to wait for a long time for you to solve their issues and concerns.

For example, there is a long queue of customers. But your staff can only handle enough people in a day. By directing callers and inquirers to a more hi-tech and hassle-free manner of helping them figure out their concern, it reduces the burden of both end-users and customer service staff.

Lower your costs

Automated customer service helps you to operate with an efficient team. You don’t need to hire additional in-house staff since there is software available to respond to your end-users even without constant human involvement or supervision. In short, you do not need to hire more staff when your business increases its sales if you have the right technological equipment or program to do it for you.

If you think about it, hiring more employees seems to be the solution to enhancing your client assistance processes. However, if you do the math, it quickly adds up to unsustainable solutions. You can do surveys to identify which products or aspects of your services need to improve and what exactly your customer needs. Another factor that you have to check is if your current budget can cover the additional workforce. That way, you can decide if you will hire more employees or upgrade your customer service.  

Flexible implementation

Efficiently addressing end-user needs and demands is crucial to the success of your business, especially if you are too busy to handle every communication channel. You cannot ignore customer service calls, but you also cannot sacrifice operations.

As your business grows, you may think of outsourcing your user help desk services as the best option. By outsourcing, a company takes advantage of a third-party service provider and uses their resources to handle inbound and outbound calls and non-verbal communication with customers. It also means that you are collaborating with an international and more advanced pool of tech experts.

Many companies realize that flexibility is about having an omnichannel capability to respond to specific query types and end-user segments, a seemingly impossible feat that automation helped achieve. A quick look at the accomplishments of ventures who have exhibited strong commitment to overcoming the setbacks caused by COVID-19 proves how expediting modernization increased user trust and the credibility of their brand. Automation was, in most recent cases, the saving grace for businesses that raced against their competitor to get their customer support up and running especially during the pandemic.

Disadvantages of Automated Customer Service

Nowadays, even the most traditional entrepreneurs find it tempting to finally give in to the evolutionary influences of tech advancement in the field of addressing customer concerns. It is especially true when it offers numerous advantages to both businesses and customers, such as reducing customer wait time, lowering operational expenses, and improving overall quality, to name a few. Meanwhile, there are also a good number of business owners who are still reluctant to adopt automated customer service despite these advantages.
The polarity that this innovation has caused has made it all the more confusing for startups and SMEs to decide whether to opt for electronic self-service or stick with the traditional approach. To balance your choices and help your company make a sound decision, here are the disadvantages of automated customer service worth pondering on:

Difficult to use

A common problem with including innovation in customer assistance is most tech-savvy customers can use them efficiently. Though most digitally advanced self-service kiosks have a relatively easy-to-use navigation menu backed with audio instructions, it can still be a frustrating experience for some individuals. 

Mainly, seniors are uncomfortable using the navigation menu because they are vaguely familiar with how to operate it. Other customers feel uneasy due to the possibility of making mistakes, or that they need additional guidance to help them flesh out and elaborate more on the concerns they want to raise.

Unable to resolve a complex problem

In every user support help desk, everything’s better with an integrated workflow. Particularly, it is instrumental in generating end-user data and monitoring interactions between your customer service reps and your customers. Once your contact center is fueled by both human and AI, your approaches to handling complex customer issues become more carefully strategized and you are also capable of offering more viable options to settle the matter.

Say, a customer demands a refund on a product they purchased two weeks ago. For pandemic reasons, you wouldn’t want the customer or your agents to leave the comforts of their homes and risk their safety in a bid to grant the request. Thus, your best course of action is to check online records of the customer’s latest purchase and verify the refund policies with the product in question. Simultaneously, your call center staff retraces previous call logs and chat history with the client while they engage the latter in a conversation via voice support.

Impersonal Interactions

Many people prefer a human touch and want the attention of a human agent when they call in for help. If you know your clients well and have done research into their communication preferences, you will gain a deeper understanding of their expectations regarding customer service. People typically prefer to speak to a lively agent, so depending solely on automated agents to strengthen your B2C connections will not help your business. Also, chatbots tend to lack human empathy, a trait that is of grave importance in delivering excellent client assistance.

5 Simple Ways to Automate Your Customer Service

A poorly configured system will leave customers feeling frustrated and taken advantage of. An effective and innovative tool for handling user concerns entails choosing which tasks will best suit it in the first place. This may include repetitive support cases, self-service resources, knowledge bases, checkout pages, and usage monitoring. For your reference, here are five of the finest automated customer service examples that you can include in your help desk strategies:

Live chat services

Live chat is a unique business communication tool designed to encourage more consistent interaction with your customer. You can save time, serve quick replies, and prevent customer representatives from being repetitive. They reduce typo error and regulate the stress that comes with handling multiple queries and concerns. 

Initially, you can use live chat services to capture leads when offline, but the point of live chat is real-time and proactively engaging with your website visitors and generating leads. This will allow you to turn your visitors into paying customers. Also, it will enable you to quickly save data that you can use to realign your strategies with your target audience and build stronger trust with prospective customers.

At the starting point of the pandemic, online transactions instantly became of high demand due to its capability to help settle bills, buy products or ask for discounts for specific products, and buy essential goods. People intend to stick with cashless transactions for safety purposes, a shift in customer behavior that is expected to stick even after the coronavirus is gone for good.

The good thing about live chat services is that they can address concerns even outside office hours, unlike a human support agent that only works during business hours. Customers don’t choose a time if they want an answer to their concerns. Suppose your customer is on the verge of making a purchase, asking for a simple query, or asking for a refund. In that case, a solid answer provided quickly by a live chat bot can make them happy and satisfied.

On the other hand, there are complex issues that a live chat service alone cannot resolve. As such, they are best used to reduce the volume of messages that your team handles daily. In turn, your customer support team spends more time addressing more complex issues and concerns.

Auto-reply emails 

Automated reply emails also help establish a professional and stable discourse with your customer, especially when there are no in-house agents available to monitor the said channel. There are several ways to implement it in your business. For instance, if you are busy enough to answer queries, an automated message can set the right tone for your business and inform your clients when they can expect to receive a reply to their inquisitions. 

It should like something akin to this: 

  • Hi, good morning! All our customer representatives are busy at this time. Your estimated queue time is 5 minutes. Thank you for reaching out to us.

If your customer lands on your website after business hours and does not get any response immediately, they might probably slip away. Businesses can create offline automated messages to inform them about their business hours. Here’s the example:

  • Our company’s operation hours are from 9:00 a.m to 6:00 p.m. You can fill up the queries form, and one of our support teams will reach out to you within 24 hours.

Combine your knowledge base

Using your customer support chat interface, customer service can quickly search for articles and send them to end-users without the need to leave a chat.

Moreover, you can always consolidate a knowledge base into a chat widget if your tool allows. Customers will find it effortless to find quick answers right in a conversation. 

Plus, you can take your customer service and support automation to the next level by installing an answer bot. This hi-tech tool can analyze and process customers’ requests in a chat on the fly, offering helpful knowledge base articles that match their needs

Install chatbots

It is a brilliant idea to invest in customer service automation.

With the help of chatbots, it makes it easier for clients to get answers immediately, so they don’t have to head to a business’s social media accounts or send lengthy complaints via emails. There are easy and repetitive tasks that chatbots can do for you. It uses its systematic program to ask questions, initiates a dialogue, and reanimates past issues or concerns that were marked inactive due to the lack of personnel to handle the problem at the time it was brought up by the customer.

Bots are also applicable no matter what business or industry you are in. You can be running an online store, developing online dating and mobile messaging apps, handling real estate, or even offering business process outsourcing solutions like we do at NMS. You are sure to experience reduced workload once you set chat bots in motion to augment your processes for helping your end-users.

Troubleshoot

Debugging or troubleshooting your help desk software depends on the following factors: A communication channel, a rich video, images, or a knowledge base article that could be shared at optimal times to help customers use the self-help option more effectively. AI is also useful in offering care advice proactively.

For instance, Nespresso uses AI to help customers descale their coffee machines using step-by-step tips delivered naturally based on past conversations.    

Walmart, a brand known for tremendous warehouse stores, had the problem of restocking its products. It took their employees hours to walk up and down all the aisles and figure out which items needed to be replenished. After identifying this problem, they turned to AI. 

AI was trained to ‘see’ empty shelves, and as they check down the aisles one by one, they save all the data needed to help the employees restock the shelves in an orderly and speedier fashion.

Alibaba, the world’s largest e-commerce marketplace, invests in AI and machine learning because of its essential support in the business industry. For example, their City Brain Project hopes to help cities run their operations by AI to improve traffic issues. City Brain Project takes advantage of AI algorithms to store data about the town and everyone in it. By monitoring every vehicle in the city, the project’s success was achieved by reducing the traffic to 15%.   

Final Thoughts

These benefits of customer service and support automation may lure you into automating everything. However, there are still the pros and cons that you need to explore before you avail the help of an automated end-user help desk.

Ultimately, if you want to have a perfect way to improve your company’s customer support, giving technology the go-signal is the key. Automation is always there to provide an improved quality of assistance to your clients through live chat, customer support, and email support. 
New Media Services offers customer support services that will significantly help your business. Our company is here to guide you on the road to success with tailor-made solutions designed to equip your business needs and reach your goals!

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