What is Support Automation?

An illustration depicting support automation. The illustration shows a man in a space-like digital landscape with information, data, and support tickets floating around him.

Invariably, many of us already automate our tasks on a daily basis. Consider how you manage your social life, your daily work routine, or even grocery shopping. Automation benefits every arena of life—and support automation is another addition to the list.

In the digital era, customers have learned to expect a faster and better experience. Further, they are much more aligned with the latest technologies and the digital devices that deliver the apps. So, naturally, they want more and they want it now.

If support automation is already a topic of interest, you may have perused current reports, studies, and news on the topic. What you may have found is a distinct transition from the trending robotic process automation (RPA) to AI-based automation. As business processes become increasingly complex, it makes sense that one of the biggest factors in digitization and digital transformation would be AI. Further, it makes even more sense when discussing the future of work.

How can you define support automation?

When customers start to expect more than humans can give, or than resources allow, in comes support automation to save the day. Essentially, the objective is to decrease the requirement for human interaction in terms of responding to consumer inquiries. Instead of overwhelming your agents with questions that are easily answered with support automation, they can invest more time helping clients with complex issues.

When you think of support automation in terms of the customer experience, it’s about solutions that can meaningfully respond to customers’ needs.

Certainly, there are evolving customer expectations and different skill levels within your workforce. But when the two are better aligned, you’ve just come a long way in improving the overall customer experience with your organization. Your desired results are achieved when support is reliable and relevant, and the customer leaves feeling that their needs were adequately met.

The overarching objective of support automation is to improve the customer experience without having to tie up all your financial resources. Think about the cost differential between hiring 10 new employees versus implementing one support automation platform—deployed in the department of your choice.

In this regard, you don’t have to grossly increase company expenditures to retain customer satisfaction and loyalty. In addition, you can quickly spot issues, manage every interaction, and get a thorough analysis of overall performance. Moreover, support automation reduces human error, responds quickly repetitive inquiries, and gives more attention to your customers. These are all factors that will contribute to a stellar customer experience!

What are the foundations of support automation?

You’ve probably dialed support numbers and were prompted to either press a number or speak an automated prompt. What you’re talking to, initially, is an Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system. The IVR can understand phrases such as “customer support,” or, “billing,” and automatically transfer your call.

With conversational AI and natural language processing (NLP), you can increase the accuracy even more. Thus, when we’re talking about the foundations of support automation, we’re talking about AI, machine learning (ML), and NLP.

When machines replicate human intelligence in terms of continuous learning, self-correction, and decision-making, it is called AI. But how does AI work exactly? With a support automation platform, the AI will use different technologies to understand, analyze, and produce information with ML and NLP.

You’re interacting with ML when you talk to chatbots or ride around in a self-driving vehicle. When emails get sent to your spam box, that’s AI working in the background. Additionally, AI enables chatbots to know exactly how to respond to you.

Now, in terms of NLP, it is a branch of ML. Not only can NLP understand full sentences, but it can comprehend the context. You know how words have different meanings, depending on how you say them? 

NLP can read that, and learn as it goes along. Once it analyzes a customer service inquiry, it can provide a quick response, no or little human interaction necessary.

So, with tokenization, parsing, identifying semantic relationships, and understanding languages, NLP can turn text into understandable data. Machines can use NLP to draw conclusions about the relationships between words such as “massive” and “huge,” and label them accordingly. Just think of all the time that can be saved with these types of technologies.

Think of the questions your company gets asked each and every day. Invariably, many of the questions will be similar. A support automation platform can take out the manual labor involved in typing a response when NLP can respond quite thoroughly.

Further, NLP can make your processes and workflows much more seamless. Say a customer submits a support ticket. While a human agent can try to properly route all the tickets, it’s much easier when AI can comprehend the topic. As a result, tickets get routed and resolved much more quickly and your organization is able to assist far more customers around the clock.

With this in mind, it should come as no surprise that customer support automation and AI-driven ticketing systems are experiencing rapid adoption. Artificially intelligent, automated customer service “bots” can extract data from your knowledge base and deliver helpful results via live  chat faster than any human.

Of course, data should be user-friendly. For organizations in the BI space, the option would be to convert BI into an easily accessible conversation with an automated chatbot. This can then be used in departments rife with big data. 

Instead of sorting through an overwhelming amount of data, the chatbot can and should answer complex questions easily. Processing can also take place in the cloud as opposed to onsite.

As expectations of immediate gratification are now the norm, solutions with AI and NLP-based foundations will pick up speed. The growth of big data, along the demand for a better customer experience will drive adoption of AI-based support automation.

Keep your processes simple

For the most redundant support issues, support automation can easily streamline your workflow. And you can improve morale because your human employees won’t have to type the same responses repeatedly.

Support automation can even be used for designating key tasks such as follow-ups for more complex support inquiries. By reducing the workload of your human agents, you can save them days or even weeks of time over a year’s time frame. Those weeks can be used for higher-level tasks or even to participate in upskilling programs designed by your company.

Remember, great expectations need a great customer experience based on quick response times with relevant results. Any time the customer chooses to interact with your company, they should have a positive experience. They should be satisfied with the response they receive and the timeliness of the responses. And increasing customer interactions—along with satisfaction—should not drain your resources.

With the many complexities and inefficiencies facing global businesses today, it makes sense that companies are turning to AI. One of the modern customer’s major pain points is waiting too long. They know your competitor is just a phone call away, and my not have long hold times whatsoever. 

In this case, your organization has only two options: hire more staff, or invest in a support automation platform. With support automation, you can reach more customers with fewer human agents.

Why choose a support automation platform?

If you choose to ignore the opportunities presented by AI-based support automation, you may not thrive in the digital economy. Meanwhile, your competitors have taken the support automation plunge and are leaps and bounds ahead. Unquestionably, AI is not going to completely replace human support agents. Rather, it is a side-by-side protocol which will, in fact, create new roles for humans.

Simply put, humans like that support automation can assist with redundant tasks that were taking up too much of their valuable time anyway. Human employees can easily get burnt out when they’re forced to respond to the same inquiries, day in and day out. Support automation is the right solution for repetitive tasks and questions. According to Gartner, in 2020, almost 85% of customer interactions will be handled by a machine.

By utilizing Capacity’s support automation platform, you can deliver a customer experience that otherwise wouldn’t be possible without the aid of computerized systems. You can also understand how customers interact with your brand. And through detailed reporting and analysis, you can eventually predict what your customers will be searching for.

What’s more, Capacity’s support automation platform is designed for an optimized omnichannel experience. When customers are seeking help, they know they can use more than one channel.

For instance, they might tweet their concern to your company’s social media page and then pull up a chat menu on your company website. Without question, the omnichannel is not going anywhere. Organizations who are not prepared to give the best customer experience, on any channel, will lose their competitive edge.

Further, when a customer reaches out to your social media page, then to your chatbot, they just don’t want to spend time repeating themselves. Let’s take this a bit further and clearly state that regardless of the scenario, no one likes having to repeat themselves. But how can you connect the platforms if support tickets are logged on different apps?

How can you prevent frustration if a customer is asked to repeat themselves? You can now depend on support automation to take over the manual CRM updates that your agents formerly had to execute.

Also, every minute your employees spend typing is a minute they are not spending with your customers. Capacity’s support automation platform can give your organization a 360-degree view of what occurs on every channel. And, your human agents can get a real-time view of important customer information.

There is a beauty in having customer data centralized, and not having to search for it on different systems and platforms. Your human staff spends less time typing and more time talking to clients.

As counterintuitive as it may sound, one of the benefits of Intelligent Automation that people may not expect will be new jobs. Usually, automation is associated with the loss of jobs by people who perform manual tasks. But some researchers would argue that, although innovation can displace some jobs, automation simultaneously creates even more new roles.

Some of these roles include support for the platform, engineering jobs, and other skilled positions created when overall productivity is improved. Naturally, when efficiency goes up then so will the demand for more skilled jobs that mandate creative and critical thinking.

With the advancements in AI and ML, your company can now eliminate responsive support and move into the more advantageous option of predictive support. Instead of just simply responding, you are instead taking the proactive approach—which is more desirable for contemporary customers. Your company can respond at any time, regardless of the day.

You also gain visibility and detailed insights which can help to find and eliminate bottlenecks. Once these are addressed, you can improve your support team’s performance levels.

Of course, there are some support inquiries that will either take time to respond to or will need to be escalated. These are the more complex issues. With support automation, you can immediately close tickets where a customer has not responded after a designated time frame. If the customer returns at a later date, the Capacity platform will quickly re-open the support ticket and assign the right priority level.

With our digital devices, AI, ML, and the Internet of Things, the world has become a much smaller place. It is crucial for companies to adapt and improve upon their current technologies to meet the needs of the modern customer.

For many companies, the only way they can remain competitive is to take advantage of the opportunities created by support automation. If resources are tight, this may be the only viable option. Unquestionably, having higher labor costs means a decrease in revenue.

In conclusion

For every business, a good customer experience should be the number one priority. Today’s customers want to feel that their needs have been addressed. Unfortunately, offering a consistently positive customer experience is truly difficult. 

To begin with, if a customer asks for help, they’ve probably already encountered an issue they could not figure out on their own. It is such a challenge for human support teams to tackle as many issues as possible, without sacrificing the customer experience in the process.

If the human support team isn’t operating seamlessly, it can lead to business stagnation and a decrease in customer loyalty. Who wants to contact a company they know will leave them hold for an hour, and once an agent is available, be of little help?

In order for your human employees to reach their long-term objectives, they need support automation to simplify redundant tasks and microprocesses. In the world of big data, there is more to manage, and humans can’t do it alone.

Support automation gives your company the ability to provide an unparalleled experience. There was a time when it was a trade-off between support automation and personalization. With AI, ML, and NLP, that is no longer the case. When you implement support automation, you can focus more of your efforts around improving the customer experience and learning from the detailed insights.