Can automation improve customer service?

Posted by - Tim Morris on the 1st May 2020

Have you ever asked the question, can automation improve customer service? Well, look no further as we’ve got all the answers you need to whether automation can improve your customer service or not in this article.

If you’re looking at automating part of your business with the goal of improving your customer service, contact our team where they will be happy to discuss how we can provide the right solution to help your business grow.

What is automation?

Wikipedia’s definition of automation is a ‘technology by which a process or procedure is performed with minimal human existence’.

Automation is designed to make our lives easier, permeating much of our personal and business worlds and allowing us to focus our efforts and resources on aspects automation can’t do.

If used well, automation can save time, money, and effort resulting in higher throughput, better customer satisfaction, and increased capacity to do more business.

However, automation can also be done badly due to not being implemented correctly and costing the business more than its worth. That’s why it’s essential a business looks at the pros and cons of implementing automation.

What is an automated customer service?

Intercom highlights automated customer service as a way of providing customer support with no human intervention. An example of this would be a managed live chat service where potential customers can get information 24-7 with no human interaction.

Forrester reported that live chat has become increasingly popular and that companies who are not using it are missing opportunities for sales and better customer experiences.

Can automation improve customer service?

Benefits of automation

Automation often allows customers to direct themselves more easily towards their goal.

How often do you ring a business to be greeted with ‘Press 1 to talk to someone regarding your account’, ‘Press 2 to talk to someone regarding a technical issue’ etc.?

This automated service allows us to cut through the long process of being transferred across multiple staff to reach the person that can deal with our query.

Phoning a company can often result in long hold times, causing frustration.

A great response to this is using automation.

Rather than being left on hold, customers are now sometimes given the option to leave a name and number and the required person will call them back as soon as they are available.

This allows the customer to carry on with their day and receive a call in the same amount of time they would be left on hold anyway.

Many queries can now be solved through automation.

For example, call your mobile network provider and an automated service will tell you your remaining balance and usage of certain features.

If simple queries can be efficiently answered like this, it will free up a lot of your time as a business.

It allows companies to focus on other areas of customer service and prioritise customers that require a more immediate response.

Is automation a good idea for improving customer service?

Automation can be a great tool for businesses when looking for ways to improve their customer service.

How often after contacting a service have you received an automated email or SMS asking for feedback?

Probably at least a few times.

This is becoming more and more popular and it’s easy to see why. Find out how your customers are feeling through a short review allows you to directly focus your attention on areas for improvement for your company. Essential in gaining loyalty, reputation, and growth.

Drawbacks of automation

Despite its uses, automation can be really frustrating if not implemented correctly or members of the team have not had the correct training on the task(s) being automated.

An example of this is voice recognition technology.

There’s nothing more annoying than calling a business and being asked to record information verbally which it’s then left to interpret.

Whether it’s because of an accent, sound quality, volume, or it just doesn’t seem to like the sound of your voice: if voice recognition software doesn’t work, it can get customers really riled up.

The point of automation is to make customers’ lives easier, making it 10 times harder will not result in good customer service. Automation is only good if it works effectively and people know how to use it.

Frequently customers now receive follow up emails regarding a service.

Although this is really useful for businesses, it can become irritating for the customer.

The more surveys they’re invited to fill out, the less likely they’re probably going to find the time to do them.

It’s also important to remember that customers are more likely to give feedback if it is negative or if there is an incentive involved, so the results of your automated messages may be slightly biased.

Can automation improve customer service?

Automation can be a great tool for improving customer service if it is used correctly.

Automation must aim to benefit the customer first; whether this is saving time or improving convenience.

Target automation towards your customers’ needs and make sure they understand how to use it.

Keep it simple and both you and your customers can reap the benefits.