How AI and Automation Improve Customer-Service Efficiency
By Kate Meacham
Tackling your organization’s inefficiencies
Driving efficiency in customer service can be a large, multi-step effort for many brands. Creating a streamlined customer-service process for both agents and customers is critical for any business, no matter the size. According to Microsoft’s 2017 survey, 56% of global customers stopped doing business with a brand because of poor support experience. So how can companies transform these less-than-desirable experiences into customer-service wins? Automation. Automation bolsters support for agents at various points and streamlines the support journey from beginning to end.
Why does inefficiency exist in the first place?
Inefficiency in service organizations can occur for a variety of reasons — agents waste time answering simple questions from customers such as “where is my order?”, poor ticket routing clutters an agent’s dashboard, and support requests get transferred between multiple agents who repeatedly ask the customer “Can I have your name and order number? What seems to be the problem today?”
Not surprisingly, this inefficiency creates frustration for customers. But what exactly is efficiency in the context of customer service? UX Magazine defined efficiency as the degree to which customer effort is facilitated. Simply put, if the customer exerts significant effort as part of the support process, they will define the experience as inefficient and feel dissatisfied. Instead, brands can leave the heavy lifting to automation. Automation makes the customer’s support experience feel effortless and efficient. Read further to explore specific use cases of automation’s proven success within service organizations.
Automation: One system, multiple solutions
Automation provides multiple solutions that can be adapted to every brand’s support needs. It’s especially important and useful because it can be applied to multiple steps in the customer-support process. The following examples demonstrate a few places where automation can provide value.
Chatbots for known workflows
When chatbots can walk customers through a specific known-workflow, it’s one of the easiest ways for a brand to quickly deal with simple customer requests. These chatbots can walk customers through commonly asked questions and provide guidance for issues such as filing a return or requesting a new credit card.
In the fastest, best-case scenario, the ticket gets solved through automation by a bot or with self-service. If the issue can’t be solved immediately, the ticket moves to an agent who has the knowledge and expertise to properly provide a resolution to a customer. In this case, AI has already equipt the agent with knowledge about the type of issue and gives the agent a full view of the chatbot-led conversation. This enables your agents to do their most efficient work.
This video provides a helpful use case and visuals of workflows for retail.
Sending push and in-app notifications
Often, the first round of automated support comes from in-app and push notifications. When used effectively, these notifications let existing customers automatically know when an agent is available or has replied to their request. Customers can click directly on the message and go straight to the request.
Answer bot and knowledge-base articles, imperative tools for self-service
Today, most customers prefer to resolve their own issues through links to knowledge base content or by engaging a chatbot for quick pointers. Through automation, Answer Bot quickly offers customers several recommendations (including knowledge-base articles) that provide relevant information.
Create a knowledge base with links to information you already have (e.g. articles, videos, etc.) and you will see customer satisfaction rise along with your own efficiency. In fact, a robust knowledge base, supported by AI, can lead to customers resolving up to 80 percent of issues on their own.
When customer support requests come through a service organization, issue classification is crucial in sorting the tickets and grouping them for agents to respond to. Segmenting your customers by channel, value, and other criteria allows agents to quickly understand how to best serve each segment. This eliminates the need for agents to do this sorting manually, and as an added advantage, takes the pressure off of customers to know which department or extension they should be contacting.
How automation empowers key players
Effectively coupling automation and agent power grants support organizations the tools for increased productivity and boosted customer satisfaction. Automation doesn’t mean that robots replace agents; rather it allows agents to focus on cases that require a human level of understanding, personalization, and empathy. By supporting your agents with technology, they can focus their efforts on more complex cases rather than simply collecting data.
Automation – the linchpin for customer service efficiency
Automation is the customer-service linchpin that remains vital to consumer brands. No matter the industry or scale of the company, use cases for automation exemplify its power to drive sustainable efficiency. Leveraging automation is necessary for any team that wants to provide high-quality service for new and existing customers while remaining productive.