In 2013, Paul Graham, co-founder of Y Combinator, famously said:
"Do things that don't scale."
Over the years, this statement has become a watchword for businesses trying to stay human rather than automate.
But the question lies: Is this true?
The answer is both yes and no.
While it's true that unsupervised responders can sabotage relationships instead of salvage them, the problem doesn't lie in the automation of services.
It's not knowing how to carry them out.
And this brings us to automated customer service. In simple terms, automated customer service is partial or complete support provided by a virtual system that's powered by artificial intelligence.
Artificial intelligence is poised to bring unprecedented change in the customer service industry. Today, businesses are increasingly investing in AI and robotics to delegate repetitive tasks to virtual tools, freeing up more time for human agents to concentrate on more productive tasks.
In fact, according to research by Oracle, 8 out of 10 businesses will implement AI-powered customer service by the end of 2020.
In an age where 78% of consumers expect businesses to know their contact and product information, we'll look at the following:
- How automation in customer support can further this end of support teams
- How this is revolutionizing industry trends
We'll also explore the different tools that businesses can deploy to leverage automation technology and provide exceptional customer support.
1. Use Cobrowsing to Boost Productivity
Customers like a live chat.
According to a report, 83% of businesses could have been better served if they provided better in-person customer service. That's why companies should always look for tools that do the next:
- Let them understand customer context
- Help them provide prompt and accurate answers
One such tool is cobrowsing.
With cobrowsing, you can interact with your customer’s screen at the click of a button. In fact, satisfaction ratings from a recent report by Forbes show that cobrowsing-aided support interactions sit high at 89.3%.
When customers open a live chat, they expect immediate help. Cobrowsinghelps you gather query context instantaneously by sharing the customer’s screen with a click of a button from a live chat platform.
Let's look at a real-life example of how cobrowsing can help support interactions and free up time.
HDFC Life Insurance, a life insurance provider, was being unable to both retain customers and attract new ones due to the lack of visual instructions for new operations.
Customers would call to apply and go through a tiresome session only to end up making a mistake while filling out the policy form to sign up for new policies. This happened because communication on the phone didn't provide the same level of transparency that direct contact did.
What HDFC did next was to seek out a live chat tool with a cobrowsing feature. This tool allowed agents to have temporary access to the customer’s screen, which helped direct them to their policy features page -- where customers could fill up customer details.
The results were simply astounding:
- Operating times decreased by 50%
- The company realized a higher query resolution rate of 65%
- A 62% rise in closed contracts was observed
2. Automate Data Storage
Data preparation for storage is an infamous task in data management because if often stands out as the most time-intensive task. According to a survey, data professionals spend the majority of their time, as much as 80%, in this area of data management.
Have you thought about how much you could do with that much time? Not to mention that overburdening IT resources end up costing organizations billions.
So, what do you do to overcome a roadblock as huge as this?
You automate the entire process.
I concede it’s fair to doubt the security of automated data storage. However, tools have far evolved beyond that point of concern. By leveraging a secure data collection tool, you can collect data anywhere while making sure that your data is always safe.
And after you collected data comes the time to automate, so you don't have to sift through silos to organize the data and act upon it. To do this, you can employ the use of an integrating tool for automating manual processes.
With such tool, you can integrate the data collected earlier by categorizing and manipulating it before delivering to other cloud services automatically.
Automating data storage not only frees up time on your hands, but also gives the customer a sense of empowerment. The ease of mind they feel upon being able to track data security and other key metrics furthers transparency and leads to increased levels of trust in their minds.
3. Implement Chatbots to Automate Regular Customer Queries
According to IBM, 265 billion customer requests are recorded each year, and businesses spend nearly $1.3 trillion to service them.
This is where businesses can use technologies like AI-enabled chatbots to cut down on operational costs and redefine the customer experience. In fact, businesses that implement conversational technology like virtual agents and chatbots can reduce customer service costs by up to 30%.
Chatbots can answer up to 80% of routine questions, leaving agents free to take up more challenging work, and resulting in reduced customer service costs and quicker response times.
Chatbots can be the best asset your business can come to bank upon in the short term. They can handle a huge volume of similar requests simultaneously. Besides, chatbots also have a quicker turnaround time.
This helps businesses that employ chatbots reduce operating costs by as much as 66% while providing a turnaround time that's five times as fast.
Today, more and more organizations are implementing AI chatbots as a part of their customer service experience.
Leading beauty brand Sephora automated their customer communications by deploying chatbot messaging apps. The brand wanted to utilize the boundless potential of smartphones to inspire shoppers to engage through chat and launched three bots to this end.
A simplified booking process that increased customer satisfaction by reducing the number of steps required to book an assistant leading to an 11% increase in appointments.
4. Email Automation to Escalate Conversion
Imagine this: you know that several users have carts full of your products, but they haven't done anything about it and left them abandoned.
What do you do in such cases? What if you sent them an email reminding them about it?
But emails hardly work because most people don't read them. This is when you need to ask yourself how you can leverage automation to trigger that need within customers.
The answer here's simple. Instead of sending mass emails that are generalized for everyone, you send out personalized and timely emails to boost revenues.
Inboxes these days are flooded with marketing messages. Cart dumps are frustrating. However, you can send personalized emails to garner customer attention and direct them back to the product they forgot to purchase.
In fact, personalized emails have been noted to have 2.5 times higher click-through rates, while being six times more likely to drive a conversion. Additionally, 73% of consumers have reported that they’d consider doing business with businesses that use custom data to augment the relevancy of their experience.
Personalized emails are 26% more likely to be read and have been found to lead to a 760% rise in email revenue from divided campaigns. One great example of email marketing automation was brought to light by Ralph Lauren, the fashion brand.
Ralph Lauren used an incentive to customers that didn't complete their orders. They sent out a "Forget something?" message to their customers with a chance to save $125 on shipping charges with the help of a code.
5. Utilize Voice-Based Customer Support
According to a study by ComScore, 50% of all searches will be voice-based by the end of this year. Since voice is more convenient than typing out queries, it's highly plausible that a good number of customer services will be enabled by voice-based technologies.
Organizations have already started making preparations to this end, with 46% of global contact center decision projected to expand their contact centers by 10% in the next year.
However, this growth is due to traditional interactive voice response (IVR) systems that don’t provide the same level of gratuity and satisfaction as the other customer-facing channels in this list.
That's why the solution here lies with AI assistants that are driven by an intent to improve the capabilities of conventional IVR systems by answering natural-language queries with smart replies.
An intelligent voice-based customer support agent can afford customers the convenience to utilize the same conversational speech they would while interacting with humans.
The system can then understand these sentences and choose the appropriate, natural-sounding replies to them. Moreover, voice-based virtual agents can also route specialized cases to live agents.
Observe.ai is a fine example of a voice-based AI platform. The platform used natural language processing and deep learning to understand customer context and suggest appropriate actions by coming up with suggestions to guide the agent.
The results? An increase in QA efficiency of 87%, leading to a 20% decrease in the onboarding time of an agent while lifting CSAT scores by 5%.
Ready for Support?
Automation technology has heralded a new era for customer support. If used wisely, automation can help you achieve the highest peak in customer service—deliver support at scale.
Moreover, with a plethora of cloud-based services, businesses can pay for the service they wish to use and drop it when it isn't needed anymore.
While automation can be fun to play with, don’t forget the end goal you are deploying it for - exceptional customer service. Automating as an act should supplement your overarching support process and not digress from it.