Companies are facing unprecedented challenges, from balancing employee work environments to addressing increased online customer activity. They need tools that can keep up with the demand without sacrificing the quality of service. Otherwise, they will frustrate both customers and employees. Support automation is designed to eliminate frustration by minimizing wait times and employee involvement to improve the customer experience. Let’s look at ways that only support automation can help.
Reduce wait time.
Customers hate to wait. Whether it is on the phone or online, no one wants to hear “Anticipated wait time is 30 minutes” or “There are 15 customers already in the queue.” Unless it is an emergency, people will look elsewhere for answers. If they remain in the queue, they’re already frustrated when they reach a customer support agent. Companies can add support agents to reduce wait times, or they can implement support automation tools that can:
Answer routine questions.
How often do customers ask the same question in a day? Each duplicate question adds to the wait time. Giving customers access to information that answers routine questions minimizes wait times and reduces frustration for both customers and employees.
Employees can tire of answering the same question over and over again. Sometimes, those feelings seep through when speaking with a customer. If the customer is irritated at having to wait for an answer, the combined emotions can result in a poor customer experience. Automation technology doesn’t care how many times it answers the same question.
Whether it is querying a knowledge base or interacting with a chatbot, customers receive the same quality response. Because technology can respond to multiple requests simultaneously, customers do not have long wait times. Instead, they can receive a quick answer and move on with their day, which is a better outcome than a 15-customer queue.
Find the best support agent.
What percentage of customer support calls are resolved by the responding agent? Automated tools with AI capabilities can match agent expertise to customer needs. Instead of having a request go to the first available agent, AI technology collects information from the customer during the in-take process and searches its information to find the best agent to answer the customer’s concern. Even if customers have to wait, they will have their questions answered quickly.
Customers dislike being transferred to another agent almost as much as they dislike having to wait. With each transfer, the frustration grows. For example, customers call to check on the status of a loan application. The request can be routed to the first available agent because there’s a centralized system for updating status. But, what happens if the customer has a question?
Rather than route the question to any agent, automation can direct the call to an individual or department currently processing the application. With this approach, the customer speaks with the agents actively involved. They understand the steps and can address customer concerns without having to transfer the request to someone else.
Offer 24/7 availability.
Technology doesn’t sleep, take vacations, or call in sick. It’s always there and always working. By offering 24/7 support, companies can reduce the flood of calls that come with the start of a business day—calls that can overload the system and increase wait times. If customers have a question in the middle of the night, support automation tools can provide the answer. A weekend request can be answered as promptly as a weekday call.
Having to wait until “regular business hours” to find the answer to a simple question causes friction for many customers. Add to that irritation long wait times or misdirected calls, and businesses have a recipe for customer dissatisfaction. Deploying support automation tools can alleviate much of that friction, contributing to a more positive customer experience.
Reduce employee involvement.
By deploying support automation, companies reduce wait times and minimize employee involvement in less productive work. The technology provides a better customer and employee experience. Whether it is automating workflows or collecting tacit knowledge, support automation can reduce the time employees spend on routine tasks, freeing them to work on higher-value endeavors.
Customer follow-up is time-consuming. Yes, employees can add a personal touch, but so can technology. For example, customers open a helpdesk ticket, and an automated response indicates that the request has been received. After that, the appeal seems to disappear into a black hole. Customers have no idea when or if they will get a response.
Building automated workflows can solve the dilemma. By integrating enterprise-wide applications, a workflow can be created that updates customers automatically at each point in the resolution process. When customers start the appeal process for a denied loan application, an initial email is sent confirming receipt of the request. As the review process moves forward, emails can be transmitted based on triggers set up within the workflow. These informational emails keep the customer updated without adding to the workload of an employee.
Helpdesks and knowledge bases aren’t just for customers. They can be a valuable resource for employees because they have questions too. A company has just deployed an update to its CRM solution, which usually results in a barrage of employee questions. Instead of having employees disrupt the IT department with questions, update a knowledge base so that employees can find the answers themselves. Or, modify the helpdesk solution to answer most queries and route the few that require IT support to a human.
Creating a knowledge base with detailed information for support personnel improves the customer and employee experience. Employees can query the system while working with a customer to get the latest update on product details. Customers receive an immediate answer rather than being placed on hold or transferred to another department. Employees can resolve customer concerns quickly and with less stress.
Capture tacit knowledge.
Tacit knowledge is all that information that employees carry around in their heads or in notes that rarely is shared. Capturing that knowledge and integrating it into support automation tools makes for a more satisfying customer and employee experience. Suppose an employee has exhausted all known resources to answer a customer’s question. Where else can an employee look?
Sometimes the most knowledgeable person is not the person you expect. Maybe a field technician or a salesperson is the go-to person on a given subject instead of the engineer or developer. A well-integrated automation system can identify and direct the employee to that person. Extending resource capabilities enables employees to find answers quickly and with less frustration and stress.
Support automation is uniquely designed to improve customer and employee experiences. When integrated across the enterprise, automation tools can make for a collaborative environment for employees that allows them to be as productive as possible. At the same time, support automation provides customers with a fast and accurate way to receive the service and support they expect.