Why Automating Customer Service Makes Sense and How To Do It Right

If you’re a business owner or manager, you’ve had to adapt to a seemingly constant barrage of challenges over the past year. While many of those events are completely outside of your control, you can and should focus on the areas in which you have the power to improve your company’s stature and bottom line. Taking steps to leverage the latest innovations in customer service will help cement your reputation as a business that values and respects its audience. Here’s a look at one of the hottest trends and how to make it work for you.

Customer Self-Service Is Here To Stay

The year 2020 brought huge changes in how people work, shop, learn and socialize. Expectations have rapidly changed as people have become more comfortable with virtual experiences, and your business needs to keep up or risk becoming obsolete. Consumers today are increasingly appreciative of self customer service, which allows users to find their own solutions via technology. Once upon a time, customers were dissatisfied with anything other than a human being on the other end of the telephone line. Today, however, most people want an immediate response to their questions, which is often impossible with limited customer service staff. Instead of forcing your customers to stay on the phone, listening to the endless looping message “your call is important to us,” or waiting for an emailed response to an inquiry, consider introducing elements of self-service.

Chatbots Serve as Representatives

One of the most popular self-service devices is the addition of a chatbot to your website. Powered by artificial intelligence, chatbots can answer standard questions immediately, any time of day or night. They can also gather contact information and route more complex issues to the appropriate staff. While you should definitely ensure that the chatbot’s responses are professional, friendly, and reflective of your company’s brand, don’t try to fool customers into thinking they are interacting with a live human being. You don’t want to sacrifice trust and authenticity in the name of convenience.

Communication Is Key

Once your customers have made contact via email, chatbot, or phone, don’t leave them out in the cold. An autoresponder message provides reassurance that the question or concern has been heard and appropriate action is being taken. These automated messages can verify that an order has been received or a credit is being issued, among other things. Closely related to the autoresponder message is the canned response, which is a preset template that customer service reps can use to quickly respond to the most common customer inquiries. The template can easily be customized to the individual customer and provide relevant information while saving the customer service team time and effort.

Showing Is More Powerful Than Telling

If you’re selling a product or service that lends itself to a visual tour of its features, consider adding an interactive video that showcases what your potential customer would like to see. Make it clear, to-the-point, and entertaining, with options for your customer to skip over it or get additional assistance as desired. As with any messages that are integrated into your customer self-service plan, make sure the tone and content match your brand’s personality. Consistency is key in building trust and loyalty with your customers.

Feedback Leads to Continuous Improvement

Another way to use automation to improve your customer service efforts is by gathering feedback. Whether through a quick survey before ending a chatbot experience or an emailed one after an interaction, invite customers to provide input through rating scales or open-ended questions. You’ll save valuable time and effort by programming these communications to go out automatically while still receiving invaluable information for fine-tuning customer satisfaction.

Adapting to the realities of the market today is challenging but necessary for your company’s survival and growth. By implementing some aspects of customer self-service while not losing sight of the importance of the human touch, you can position your business for success not only this year but for many years to come.

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