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With so many tools available, it may be tempting to throw customers to a fully-automated customer service system. But doing so may make them feel alone and unappreciated, so using customer service automation is a risk. But those who risk wisely get benefits like lower operational costs, happy management, a grateful servicing team, satisfied customers, and demonstrated leadership through innovation.

How to find that balance and wisdom? There is a common ground of what you should do and avoid doing at any cost.

The Do’s of Customer Service Automation

  1. Automate routine, simple tasks.

FAQs like “how can I order this,” “where is the closest store,” and “does this product have X feature” are the best fit for customer service automation. About 75% of customers expect “now” service within five minutes of making contact online. And with such types of questions, people quickly get impatient.

Don’t make people wait. Those questions are simple enough for self-help. So chatbots and knowledge bases are great ways of tackling those kinds of requests.

When you create a chatbot to cover your routine requests, there are always two choices. You can go either with a chatbot builder or a chatbot development company.

With chatbot builders, you can start small and launch a POC within weeks. It requires almost no budget. But you’ll need to figure things out on your own, and your solution will be limited. So if it works and you want to scale, you’ll have to build from the ground up with a chatbot development company later.

With chatbot development companies, you have the flexibility to build what you need, and you can start with a POC as well. The company option is more complicated and expensive since you have contracts, kick-offs, maybe procurement, etc. But by paying more, you don’t need to do things on your own, and it’s easy to scale if the POC proves to be successful.

Imagine a 100-page manual most of the companies have for their products, policies, branding, etc. 

A knowledge base is a way to make those documents user-friendly and searchable. Instead of scrolling through the pages, you type your question and get the answer from the document.

You can build your first knowledge base with the FAQs from your customer support team and then expand. The software solutions allow you to analyze queries and grow your knowledge base by answering the most common requests.

  1. Use sentiment analysis

Sentiment analysis applies mostly to chatbots when combined with live chat. During a conversation, sentiment analysis will help to understand the emotional state of a customer based on their language. So if I irritably ask about my shipping, the chatbot will understand my mood and redirect to a customer support agent right away.

  1. Provide a convenient way to contact human support

If a client wants to talk to a human agent, he or she should be able to do that. Look into live chat if you still don’t have it. Phone calls and emails are becoming outdated. You should probably still use them if you deal with an older audience. Yet, for a younger generation, it is preferable to use live chat.

  1. Review and update your automation

Customer service automation is never a “set and done” thing. By testing your automation on a focus group, you can spot problems and make improvements early on.

Regularly review and improve your customer service automation to keep it up to date with your company and clients. Analyze interactions, review analytics, and upgrade the system when needed.

  1. Integrate all tools and services when possible

Make sure all channels and tools are connected. That way, you’ll have a full client portfolio and interaction history to provide better support. You’ll have all the data and stats in one place, which will make analyzing and reporting easier.

This will also help with personalization. Let’s say each client has their profile with personal, geographic, and behavioral data fields. Each field can be used as a personalization point. 

The Don’ts of Customer Service Automation

  1. Don’t automate everything

Review and understand which queries should be tackled by customer service automation and which ones should be addressed by humans. If the customer’s question requires a unique approach, then don’t automate that.

  1. Don’t try to disguise the automation as a real person

You would never want your customers to feel dumb because they didn’t recognize they were talking to a bot. It would harm their loyalty severely. Let your customers know they’re talking to a virtual assistant from the very beginning of the conversation.

  1. Don’t force people to use automation

Don’t make it harder for people to contact support. While customer service automation is a cost-effective support channel, it’s not profitable to have a disloyal customer because he or she was unable to reach out to a human to assist with an issue. Make contact options visible and available at any point in the automation flow. 

The final word

Customer service automation is a powerful tool in the right hands. But automation should never take precedence over personalization and a customer-centric approach. Using automation, you can make your customer service team more efficient and happier while cutting operational costs.

It takes courage to find the balance between a human approach and automation, but it is always rewarding when done right.

Daryna Lishchynska is a Content Manager at BotsCrew – a chatbot development company that has worked with companies like Samsung, Virgin, Mars, BMC, and many more. Daryna has years of experience in marketing with the focus on the chatbots and customer service technologies. Daryna covers topics like customer service, CX, and customer engagement, and she has wide expertise in automation. You can connect with Daryna on LinkedIn or Facebook.