AI and automation help improve the customer experience by continually learning about customers, so you can use those insights throughout your business to improve your product or service - and overall customer experience.
In customer service, this often translates to various forms of contact tracking and analytics. It’s also perhaps one of the most important, and most tedious tasks in many service organisations. When customers get in touch (whether it be by phone, email, or social media), a lot of the data entry has to be done manually - and information gets lost between systems.
Customer service chatbots do a lot of the data collection automatically, which generates rich insights and analytics about your customer service experience. You’ll be able to track your CSAT-scores, as well as which solutions are most popular (and most helpful!), and which topics your customers are interested in. Applying these insights to other departments will help you further optimise your product and your customer journey.
The speed and convenience of chatbots will encourage your customers to interact with them in situations where they normally would not go through the trouble of picking up a phone or typing an email (a situation often leading to f.ex. abandoned carts). Automating your customer service with chatbots can give you insights to these moments that have previously been a “black box” in your customer journey.
Since chatbots interact with customers thousands of times per day, they allow businesses to recognise which part of their customer experience causes an increase in requests—and, consequently, which parts needs adjusting.
2. The bots will do the heavy lifting
Applying automation in customer service is a rather new concept, but it is being quickly adopted by many companies. A recent survey by retail management firm BRP Consulting found that 45% of retailers are expected to increase the use of artificial intelligence for customer experience in the next three years.
For customer service organisations, chatbots are terrific at the “heavy lifting”; slashing the ticket volumes when it comes to the simple, repetitive questions, in particular during the peak hours and peak seasons.
It’s not uncommon for overall service quality to drop during peak seasons - which in some industries can last for weeks, or even months. But unlike humans, chatbots can handle endless numbers of contacts simultaneously. Removing hundreds - or thousands - of questions away from your service team’s plate is a true testimonial to the “heavy-lifting” capabilities of chatbots.
Furthermore, as I mentioned earlier, bots are great at taking on parts of contact tracking, gathering data and insights for your service team to use.
3. Improved customer relationships
Don’t let the hype fool you; AI and automation is often portrayed as an almost magical problem-solver. In reality it is just another tool businesses can use to improve their customer service experience.
Not being fooled by the hype surrounding AI means considering it as a tool rather than a cure-all and to use it judiciously to automate your most repetitive requests and free up your customer service team’s time.
This is the reality in many care teams: 30 people in the phone queue and a time-per-piece of 3 minutes, which is just long enough to answer the one burning question the customer has on their mind. The desired time-per-piece often has no leeway to work with, and most service agents struggle to have the time to really care for the individual customer they have on the phone.
Customer service automation allows for more personalised service, when they eventually come in contact with your service agents. Perhaps the customer is calling about adding items to their order, but it might delay the delivery. Do they know they can upgrade their shipping to a faster option, to ensure they get the order in time? Are they aware that by signing up to your newsletter, the can get 15% off their next order?
Personalisation, upselling and cross selling are powerful tools for service organisations to increase customer satisfaction, deepen customer loyalty - and grow your bottom line. With the support of automation, your service team has the capacity to evaluate each individual situation of your customers, and suggest to them the best solution.
4. Offering the right help, at the right time
One of the most significant benefits of customer service automation is its impact on the customer service funnel.
Every service leader knows this case: your customer has a problem, and decides to send you an email; however, they get impatient after 2 hours, and decide to call you. While listening to your hold music, they also look you up on Facebook and send you another message there. That’s three channels and three contacts for one single request!
Especially in today’s omni-channel service universe, it’s extremely hard to direct your customers to the channels that will be the fastest and most helpful for the specific problem they are having. Automating the front line of your customer support will decrease this “service channel hopping” as chatbots will resolve the majority of your repetitive requests without a single ticket landing in your system.
The reason for this is quite simple: people like interacting with people, but even more than that, people want to solve their problems quickly. So, when it comes to simple, repetitive questions - they don't really care whether they are serviced by a person or a bot.
Chatbots will always be the fastest way for a customer to reach you; they answer instantly, and they are available 24/7. If the request is urgent and complex, the chatbot will then hand the customer over to the right team member, either via phone or live chat. In this way, you offer the right help at the right time.
As the new year is approaching, there’s no better time to start. Show your customers you care, and transform your service experience.
Sara is a brand & content strategist at Solvemate. She’s really into chatbots, and improving customer experience. When she’s not writing about customer service automation, she’s an Italo-disco singer and a devoted housekeeping nerd. Hailing originally from snowy Finland, the Berlin winters leave her cold (pardon the pun).