The most important aspect of your business is the service you provide to new and current customers.
In today’s digital age, where everything seems to be moving to automation, we pose and answer the question, “Is customer service automation right for your company?”
In other words, can you add automation for the benefit of the customer without losing the all-important human aspect?
Let’s look at the pros and cons.
The Pros of Customer Service Automation
Many people you do business with “want what they want when they want it.”
Because of this, a certain degree of automation can actually help your business. For example, if your customers need and expect quick action, automation puts you ahead of the competition.
Your customers don’t have to wait for a person to respond to them. Automation can handle simple customer service tasks like providing computer generated solutions to problems.
Another way customer service automation can help your company is through automated emails.
For example, someone signs up for your email list and requests information about a specific product. Your automated system then sends out the requested information that is specific to the customer’s needs.
When you use automation, you offer extended support to your customers. You offer this in areas that human interaction isn’t possible.
Automation allows you to be proactive, anticipating a customer’s needs and taking care of them when people aren’t available.
With automation, the following is possible:
- It alerts you of customer service needs. For example, someone contacts you after hours with a problem, and you receive a text/email so you can attend to it.
- You’ll find that automation helps with customer retention. Once a customer has purchased from you, automation can take over, helping you build a long-lasting customer relationship.
- Automation can provide tutorials, learning centers and white papers to solve your customers’ problems.
- It helps you solve customer service issues in a timelier manner. Automation provides an immediate response in the interim between the initial contact and your response.
- You can also use automation at different touch-points in the customer funnel: when the customer is thinking about making a purchase, after the purchase, when they’re in need, after a time of inactivity or to nurture your relationship.
The Cons: When Not to Use Customer Service Automation
Many surveys show that customers are likely to take their business elsewhere after a bad customer service experience.
This is why deciding what to automate and what to keep with your employees is so important.
Don't use automation to avoid personal interaction with your customers or to make your life easier. If you do, you just might lose the customer.
It’s also not a good idea to use automation to reduce expenses. Why? Because if you do it to reduce expenses, you might end up losing money in the long run, especially if you take out the personal equation.
Your goal is to provide the absolute best possible customer experience. Doing this increases customer retention and customer referrals.
Automate only the things that complement the personal touch.
Customer service automation can be right for your company, if used in the right way at the right time.
You don’t want to use customer service automation to replace human contact and interaction.
To provide the best service possible, a mixture of automation and human support is often the best answer.
The bottom line – you have to do what’s best for your customers. Before you add automation, always pose the question, “In what way does this benefit my customers?”
If you do this, you’re sure to use customer service automation in all the right places.
Finally – automation should always balance your existing personal interactions, not replace them.
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Image: Mary Pahlke