Automation means an automatic machine, it is a technology which processes the task with minimum human involvement.This will automatically imply that you’re planning to cut down human labor costs and decrease the number of customer support staff.
Actually, the automation process is possible without firing anyone – what it really means is optimized operations, better response time and higher productivity.
At the same time, it’s important to remember that the development of AI technology is not cheap and every form of technology requires maintenance and updates. That’s why it’s important to have a balance between human work and technology.
1. Collecting Data
If your company wants to create an automated service of any sort, first you have to collect data. One crucial step to take is to find out which questions customers are asking the most, which products/ services are causing the highest number of support inquiries and what type of customers are most likely to create those tickets.
You’re looking to find out the pareto principle or pattern in your data. You want to find 20% of customers who are creating 80% on inquires or a similar pattern.
Once you collect the data, it’s possible to move on to the next step:
2. Shorting out the data
Whether you want to create a dedicated online site for customer support inquiries, create AI chatbots or simply just want to help your team to answer emails/ calls more efficiently, you will have to sort out the data and make it easily accessible for any type of support.
The best way to sort out the data is to use tags. Tags are efficient with any type of data, whether you want to congregate your customer data or their questions.
The second step is to prioritize the questions based on your knowledge and experience. Your team knows the best which questions have a higher priority.
The third step is to make a decision about the level of transparency you want to allow on your site. If you’ve visited any customer support site you will notice that questions about a refund, cancellation policy or anything that’s connected to the money is usually not listed at the top Q&A list.
We all know that these questions are the most important ones, but for one reason or another companies decide to keep them off the list, usually due to legal issues and to lower down the cancellation rate.
3. Centralization and Simplicity
These two words have to be your most important guideline for any decision you make throughout the process. Everything you create on your site and every touchpoint for the customer has to be simple and easily accessible.
The customer support system is there to keep the situation from escalating further, to uphold your company reputation and to keep your reviews at a high rate. You don’t want to make your customers more frustrated by creating a voicemail system where they have to wait for 5 minutes or have to choose between many different options. Make it short and keep it simple.
The centralization part is there to help out your team. If your customer fills out the online form or sends an e-mail or asks the question via chat, these different channels have to be in alignment and transparent to one another.
You don’t want the customer to explain the situation all over again every time he calls or sends a message.
4. Centralization and Hierarchy
Some companies are using tickets and others are creating cases. Anything you choose has to be simple to use and easy to read for your team. It’s really important to create a quality UI that’s easy to navigate and simple to read and use. This UI must have everything required for your team to provide quality support:
Notes or comments
Priority level (low to high)
Assignment (team or individual)
Additional features that are unique for your industry (for example to upload photos or files to the case).
Centralizing your system with the software will have a tremendous impact on the quality and efficiency of your team. After you’re done with helping out the customer with simplicity, it’s now time to help your team members to easily locate the customer in your system and to provide quality support.
Your team members must have different options to easily locate the customer: full name, phone number, order/ case/ ticket ID, product ID, etc.
In order to speed up answering time, you need to create different tools to have automated responses for:
Emails to have canned responses
Chat questions to have automated responses
Calls to have scripts
The steps listed above are the basic pillars of the customer support system.