Should I automate my customer service? 

Should I automate my customer service? 

When Covid-19 arrived back in early 2020, it soon became clear that working patterns would be turned on their head. Instead of the standard 9-5, many of us found a more flexible way of working. This certainly proved to be challenging for many industries, particularly customer service. It’s all very well implementing new systems to better serve your customers, so you can be available to them, whenever and however they wish. But how do you still retain the human touch that we all crave when they have a particular query or problem to resolve?

The benefits of automation

Customers these days are inundated with options when it comes to customer care. As well as the traditional phone call, we can email or fill out a contact form, start a web chat or a live video, use messaging apps, not forgetting the many options available on social media. We’ve become very adept at keeping ‘connected’ and we will all have our preferred channel to do so, whether it’s paying for a product or service, or looking for a service manual. ‘Automated’ customer service is when the process reduces the need for any human involvement, for example, automated answering services, chat bots, email automation or self-service help centres.

Automating your customer-service offering can bring with it a variety of benefits, particularly in the following five areas:

  • Time – Automated systems generally offer fast response times. Because they can quickly identify the query and automatically find a resolution, it’s likely that simple questions will be solved first time, without the need for a referral upwards.
  • Cost – Once you have made the initial investment into automated technology, it’s much cheaper to run an automated service rather than hire a customer-service representative.
  • Workflow – As well as logging each support ticket for the customer-service team, some customer-service helpdesks will provide reminders and updates, to keep everyone up to speed with each query.
  • Consistency – An automated service will make sure that each interaction follows your company’s brand values, be it through a specific tone of voice, a preferred greeting, or even the choice of hold music.
  • Coverage – Help desks can’t generally be manned 24/7 unless you have a considerably large workforce, willing to work night shifts. An automated customer service system can be set up to provide support throughout the day and night.

If you haven’t yet automated any of your customer service offering, you may risk limiting your reach when it comes to your clients who expect a quick answer, or who may be adept at using self-service solutions, particularly Millennials who are much more digital savvy.

The importance of human contact

When it comes to customer service, there are a few golden rules that apply even in this ever-changing digital world. Not least, being attentive and listening properly to each customer is key to building up a successful business relationship.

Even the best automated systems can come across as robotic and will be unable to customise a truly bespoke response for each customer enquiry. The absence of a real person at the end of the telephone line, phone or computer will mean that your customers’ queries will be met with no real empathy or emotion, even if they are upset or angry. And here lies the problem. The technology used in automated customer-service systems may be able to resolve simple problems, but it’s no real replacement for a customer who is looking for a meaningful conversation with a human, or has a complicated query.

Each of us will remember some occasion where we’ve been upset by not receiving the right customer support we need to resolve a problem. Automation can make this even worse – by taking a customer the wrong route or not being able to de-escalate a situation. Successful customer service systems can certainly benefit be automated, but they still need to include helpful human interaction when necessary, either on the phone or through a web chat.

You don’t need to have the customer services team in-house to manage calls with humans – there are many great telephone answering and chat answering services like Verbatim, who can do this for you. If your business still relies on an in-person telephone call to help your customers, this is a great way to offer your customers the best of both worlds and you can be rest assured that you are covering all bases.

For more information visit Verbatim 

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