Can You Automate Support Without Losing the Human Touch?
As automation continues to gain traction in the customer support space, there is a question customer experience professionals are asking themselves. Does automation have a place in an era where consumers universally demand human connection and “experiences“? The answer? Not only does it have a place, but automation is actually critical to creating the experiences customers are looking for.
Here are 3 ways automation can deliver a more human experience:
1. Automation Puts Customers in Touch with Agents Faster
More often than not, customer inquiries revolve around returns, login help, and questions with simple answers. Contact centers that apply automation such as self-help portals, virtual personal assistants, and chatbots resolve and deflect simple tickets, clearing the queue for customers with more complex issues.
This not only helps the customer with the complicated issue get to an agent faster, but also helps the customer with the simple question avoid the queue and get an answer quickly. Self-service can be as simple as having a rich and easily searchable knowledge base, but emerging technologies like chatbots are making an impact. Chatbots add an extra layer of convenience and intelligence by engaging customers conversationally, answering questions, making account changes, and, in many cases, provide an escalation to human agents when necessary. When agents deal with only those questions that actually require their help, they deal with fewer issues and devote more time to each one.
2. Automation Increases Personalization
This may sound like an oxymoron, but automation does actually increase an agent’s ability to personalize the experience. Automation technologies are being used to help agents identify the answers to queries more quickly by helping bridge the gap between systems. They are also used, in conjunction with digital engagement solutions, to create rich profiles of customers that help agents immediately know who the customer is and what their history is with the brand.
Agents armed with cross-channel customer histories—including purchases, social posts, and web activity—can confidently step into conversations and pick up wherever the customer last left off. They can address customers based on past behaviors, on what’s in their shopping cart, and what’s previously been said. They can even recommend additional products and services and upsell or cross-sell with greater ease. More familiarity leads to more human connection.
3. Automation Boosts Agent Satisfaction
Agent attitude accounts for at least half of customer service interaction success, and automation is making agents much happier—for all of the reasons we stated above. Being armed with the tools to deliver the experience customers want is part of the battle. Having cross-channel customer histories allows them to get to know their customers and develop relationships with them. Being able to deflect more simple routine tickets lets them focus on much more complex and interesting tasks. And having consolidated systems makes them more productive across the board. All of this leads to better job performance, lower turnover, and greatly reduced hiring and training costs.
Intelligent automation is becoming the cornerstone of many customer experience strategies—and for good reason. These technologies help businesses deliver on the expectation of superior customer experiences without adding additional work onto already stretched support teams. In an era where support can make or break a customer relationship, a more personalized touch can make all the difference.
Want to learn how to empower your support team with automation? Read our previous post, Delivering an A+ Customer Experience with Automation.