5 Ways to Improve Customer Service with Automation

Improve Customer Service

I recently came across an article with a headline I couldn’t resist clicking on.

The headline read “New Study: 62% of Companies Ignore Customer Service Emails”

I thought to myself, it must be clickbait, but I clicked it anyways. What I found was shocking.

This was an interesting study because it truly shows the break down between customers and the service they expect.

The stat originated from a 2018 Customer Service Benchmark Report conducted by SuperOffice. For the study, they sent an email to 1,000 businesses with two simple questions:

1) Do you have a phone number I can call you on?
2) Where can I find pricing information on your website?

Sounds easy enough to answer right? Not so much.

Besides the 62% of companies that did not respond to the email, 90% did not send a confirmation email stating that the message had been received, 97% did not follow up to see if the customer was satisfied by the response, and the average response rate was 12 hours and 10 minutes!

Besides the lack of response, even those who responded took way too long in my opinion.

So many questions entered my head when I saw those stats including why couldn’t they respond to such simple questions and why did it take so long for some to answer?
There could be many factors that contribute to this but there is one thing that can be the resolution to this problem. Automation.

Here are 5 ways automation can help improve customer service.

1) Triggered Automation

For businesses dealing with hundreds or thousands of customer service questions each day, having a human respond to every request is just not possible. Even if they tried, it would lead delays in responses and possibly increase in errors.

Triggered automations enable businesses to respond to customer service requests without human intervention. One popular example of a triggered automation is the cart abandonment triggered email.

Email automation example best buy

As a best practice, always include other methods of contact (phone, live chat, text message) to give customers an option of getting help if it’s urgent. You may also want to include contacts for specific departments, so they can reach the right person quicker.

2) Saved Templates

Customer service often receives the same questions from different customers. One way to speed up the response process is by having saved response templates. Instead of manually typing in the same response over and over again, templates allow customer service agents to quickly select a saved response and reply within seconds. Templates can be used in various channels including live chat, email, and even text messages.

3) Feedback Automation

Businesses can’t improve customers service if they don’t know what customers are thinking. Getting customer feedback can be challenging but having a method that reduces the level of effort from both businesses and customers can increase feedback. Feedback or satisfaction surveys can be automated post-purchase, post service or based on other types of interaction such as website visit or phone call.

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4) CRM Integration

One major aspect of providing great customer service is knowing your customers. Integration between your CRM and customer service software enables agents to better understand customer activity and automatically identify issues to follow up on.

For example, CRM systems can be set up to identify things such as customer inactivity, increased visits to the help page, or low NPS score. Any of these indicators can trigger an automated alert to the customer service team to follow up and resolve the problem. Without that customer data, the customer service team will not have the ability to improve the service.

5) Process Automation

The longer it takes to resolve a customer issue, the less likely they will return. In fact, 82% of customers have left a company because of a bad customer service experience. Therefore, it’s not only important to respond quickly, but also resolve the issues quickly as well.
A great example of businesses automating processes to streamline both communication and service requests is in the hotel and hospitality industry.

Providing great service is a crucial part of the hotel guest experience. Many hotels have adopted text messaging as a way for guests to communicate with hotel staff no matter where they are on the property. Hotels have integrated text messaging into their property management systems to automate service requests.

For example, if a guest requests more coffee via text message, the message would automatically get routed to the room service department to fulfill the request without any manual routing by staff.

The same process can be applied to other businesses such as restaurants, retail or other service-based businesses where orders can be placed and appointments can be made automatically by simply sending a text message.

Automation can greatly improve customer service if implemented correctly. Automation should never replace the human touch, but a way to assist the overall experience. Before you dive into automating communication and processes, examine your current workflow and see where automation can best fit into the overall customer service experience.

You may also like: 5 Ways Text Messaging Improves Customer Service

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