Did you know that US Businesses are losing $1.6 trillion annually by offering poor customer support?
First of all, this is alarming for businesses not because of its massive scale but because this could entirely be avoided. And one way to avoid such a disaster is by using evolving tech like AI for customer support process automation.
It is estimated that AI will power 95% of customer interactions by 2025. Using AI-enabled software for customer support will minimize the high call volumes, speed up the process, and improve productivity by limiting human errors.
This is just the tip of the iceberg — customer support automation offers many other benefits. But before I get into those, let’s quickly understand what automation really means here.
What does customer support automation look like?
Customer support automation is a process to automate support services requirements to answer questions as rapidly & accurately as possible without much human involvement. Through several ways such as self-service resources, proactive messaging, or simulated chat conversions, it becomes easy to achieve automation.
Prior to starting with customer service automation, it’s crucial to have a detailed understanding of your customers and prospects. A report by Oracle states that 90% of businesses believe in developing a complete customer view as their top or #1 priority.
Having a detailed understanding of your customers will enable your business to improve response time, prevent repeat calls for the same issue, reduce costs, and identify areas for improvement.
Let’s see what else automation has to offer.
Benefits of automating customer support
1. Adapting to evolving customer needs
Traditionally, businesses employed a team of in-house customer service agents or outsourced their support requirements. They managed service interaction through inbound phone calls, emails, and other channels. However, due to their lack of effectiveness, speed, and accuracy, 49% of consumers felt annoyed.
As users evolve, they expect businesses to offer improved customer service. A report by Qualtrics found that 8 out of 10 people believe customer experience needs to improve. Further, it has become essential for brands to offer world-class support in this cut-throat competition to keep consumers loyal.
By replacing traditional agents with automated systems, you can effectively meet the evolving needs of users. All of this without sacrificing the quality. As per a report, 73% of global consumers are open to businesses that use AI for customer support if it makes life easier. Thus, brands should listen to their customers and adapt to their evolving needs.
2. Improves customer satisfaction level
Put yourself in the customers’ place and think about what kind of support would make you feel happy. Find out what nightmares customers have to go through to get the kind of support they expect. Research by Zendesk uncovered that 50% of consumers will switch to competitors after one bad experience and 80% would do so after multiple bad experiences.
Further, it lists major frustrating aspects for bad customer service as seen in the image below.
Through efficiently implemented automation, you’ll be able to eliminate and optimize most of these aspects to maximize customer satisfaction levels. Automation will speed up your sluggish interaction, won’t need to repeat the same issue, be available 24/7, and can provide information customers need easily.
Just keep in mind that more complex issues may require human involvement and automation should not hinder when customers want to reach an agent.
3. Revamps efficiency & speed for customer support
The same Zendesk report also mentions that around 50% of the Millennials and Gen Z generation are willing to talk to an AI bot if it responds faster and accurately. With shorter response times and accurate information, customers can gain value from their interactions with automated bots.
Furthermore, diverting simple queries to chatbots will take a certain load off the support staff as already 68% of the agents feel overwhelmed. Automation will help them focus on resolving more complex problems. It’ll help them resolve issues in the first attempt instead of making them jump from one agent to another.
If your customer support process counts metrics like First Contact Resolution, and Average Handle Time, then automated systems could help you revamp these indices.
4. 24/7 real-time support
Artificial Intelligence has grown so powerful that it can analyze a massive database of customer feedback and interactions to offer resolutions in real-time. Where support agents wonder how to manage customer feedback, AI can efficiently do so with a blink of an eye.
Plus, human agents can only work for a limited number of hours a day. After which, your support operations are left to dry. As per 99 firms report, offering 24/7, real-time support accounts is the second most important aspect of a good service experience.
Wondering how you can implement the same for your brand? Through Chatbots.
Chatbots are developed and designed in such a way to interact with customers round the clock without any interruptions.
Many web applications and websites have already integrated Chatbots into their customer support process. Seeing the rise in this trend, many other startups and businesses have already instructed their web design and development team to integrate Chatbots as their preferred way to offer 24/7 real-time support.
5. Reduced human involvement & errors
Another benefit of automating your support processes is reduced human involvement and errors caused by them. None of us are infallible as we do tend to make mistakes at some point or the other. Since support agents are human too, they are prone to it as well.
However, as mentioned earlier, automation reduces human involvement for pretty basic queries. Sometimes, it can even resolve complicated issues without needing human intelligence. As per Statista, over 20% of consumers have rated their experience with AI 8, 22% rated 9, and around 17% rated it 10 on 10.
And in the coming months, this figure is sure to rise as AI-powered support tools keep getting advanced at understanding customer needs. This translates to a reduction in human involvement & errors.
6. Decreases customer service costs
For businesses with tight budget schedules, financial pressures are a never-ending loop month after month. And investing in AI for automation seems a better option to cut costs and at the same time not compromise on service quality.
Since human interaction will reduce, the need for human service agents will also decline. Also, less staff means less number of seating arrangements, office space requirements & remuneration cost will go down too. This will further save your cost spent solely on customer service needs significantly.
As per a report by Appen, 48% of business leaders have seen a reduction in cost after using AI. Another report by Salesforce mentions that 57% of business leaders have seen cost reduction of 11 to 50% after implementing process automation.
Automating your customer support requirements would take off some of the cost burdens from your business and free up some of your employees. This saved money can be utilized to reward your team for their hard work.
Industry automation sees no signs of slowing down. From internal admin processes to marketing, project management, and customer support, automation has proven its effectiveness. As mentioned, automation will improve customer satisfaction, enhance speed and efficiency, and decrease human error & the cost associated with it.
However, one thing to keep in mind is that AI software tools have not grown to a level so advanced that human intelligence is not completely needed. There are certain issues customers face and want to talk to an executive either on-call or face to face. And automation should not come in the way of customers reaching out to executives for help.