Isn’t it wrong or unfair to automate customer support? After all, who wants to talk to a robot rather than a real person? In reality, automated customer support enhances the customer experience if it is done correctly.

Much of the customer service process involves gathering information and/or giving out advice that is already available on public FAQ sections. Automated customer support can do these tasks. This leaves human customer support workers free to handle trickier or more in-depth customer problems.

The Most Basic Form Of Automated Customer Support

Google is probably the biggest example of the most basic form of customer support. That is to have no customer support at all and have users rely on the massive knowledge base that it holds.

For example, if you are using Google AdSense and your ads are not running, there is nobody you can contact. You have to search through the many FAQ sections and Google articles on the subject until you find a route to your solution.

Automating Customer Service With Auto-Responders

Let’s say you are a small business or have a small online enterprise. You are scaling up so you decide to add a customer service department. Starting small probably means you offer customer support through dedicated email addresses.

You have a widget on your website that asks the user what category their problem is in. After selecting the category (e.g. sales, tech support, complaints, etc.) the user fills out a contact form. The widget sends the message to the relevant email recipient depending upon the category chosen. For example: if the complaint category is selected, the email is sent to the complaints department.

Even this form of basic customer support can be automated with email auto-responders. Each email address has its own automated response that firstly tells the user the email has been received and then offers a series of solutions. For example, if the category was “Login issues,” the automated email may offer the most common log-in issues and their solutions.

If the solutions do not work, a personal email address is offered at the bottom so the customer may get in touch with a human customer support worker. This method alone will dramatically lower demand for customer support workers. The salient point is that the advice given by the automated email is the same advice the human customer support worker would usually give.

Automate Customer Support with Chatbot Canned Replies

Online chatbots are becoming more and more popular. Their most common use is to keep a customer busy until a human customer support worker is free. Plus, most initial interactions start the same way. Typically, they ask for the user’s name, maybe for a customer number or the customer support pin, or a password. These are all things the automated chatbot can do with canned replies.

When the human support worker enters the scenario, all the basic customer information has been gathered. The support worker reads through it and picks up on the conversation.

Automated chatbots are also handy for weeding out users who are just using the chat function for merriment or to vent. Examples are people who type in funny questions and those who type profanity into the online chat system because they are sick of the website’s popups.

Basic Telephone Automation

Telephone automation has been around for years. It is a proven way to improve customer support productivity. The whole, “Press 1 for X, Press 2 for Y” is a very simple-but-effective form of telephone automation. Things are becoming more advanced with spoken passwords and speech-recognition automation, but you can strike a happy balance between the simple and advanced stuff.

For example, you can start with the press-number options and once the user reaches the correct department or category, further details may be taken. Taking details such as date of birth and account number will help save the human customer support worker from having to ask for the information. This will save a lot of customer support time.

Rules And Logic Automation

There are many ways you may apply rules and logic automation to replace your customer support or lower the number of customer support requests. The easiest is to have the user log in to their account and then restrict their access to certain FAQ sections and tech-support options.

For example, people who are using an Android Smartphone will only see automated tech-support answers for Androids. One such example is that people with a Silver subscription will only see account-information or tutorial sections for Silver subscription functions.

Ways to reduce the demand for human workers with the application of rules and logic automation are:
• customer support ticket systems
• tiered customer support systems
• trigger-action tool systems

These will all improve the customer support process.

Examples of the application of the ticket system are
• customers who are wishing to leave the company are bumped up the queue
• people who have already had two or three customer support replies are bumped up the customer support waiting list.

Using Diagnostic Tools To Lower Customer Support Demands

Let’s say you are upset that your website is not appearing on Bing. You could look at their knowledge base, but you do not find an answer. When you try to get in touch with their customer service department, you are directed to Bing’s diagnostic tools. You are not directed to a support worker.

The Bing webmaster tools will offer ways for you to figure out why your website is not appearing on the search engine results. As an added incentive to find the problem yourself, Bing will make you jump through many hoops before you ever gain access to a real human worker via their email support.

Automating Your Entire Customer Support Department

The methods listed above on how to automate customer support seem to suggest that a human customer support worker is still required, albeit to a lesser extent than with non-automated systems.

This is because most online entities and online enterprises will still need some form of human customer support. Unless you are running a blog or an entity where you are not bound by long-distant selling laws, you are going to need to give people access to human customer support. However, through the use of automated customer support, you can dramatically lower your human customer support’s workload.

If you are looking for more expert opinions, professional advice, and business guidance, then check out the other posts on the blog.