Automated Customer Service: The 7 Steps to Getting Started

A customer service agents take a call in front of a computer at her desk.

Automating customer service for the first time doesn’t have to be complicated. Here are the 7 steps to getting started with customer support automation.

Ok, so you’ve decided you want to automate your customer service. You’ve read the articles about AI chatbots and virtual agents and it seems like a win-win situation. Automation can take care of the simple, repetitive tasks while your agents spend more time on the challenging cases. 

But what exactly does it mean to implement automation? How much time and what resources do you need to dedicate to a project like this? And what actually is the difference between all the various automation providers? If these questions resonate with you, don’t fret — that’s why we, as the leading customer support automation virtual agent, have  created this guide to getting started. Here are the 7 practical steps you need to follow to implement automated customer service for the first time.

1. Educate yourself on customer service automation platforms

If you’re reading this blog, that means you're already on the right track. Knowing how conversational AI works and which solutions are out there is the first step to choosing the right solution to meet your needs.

Not sure how to choose an automation provider? Here are the 10 most important aspects to consider.

2. Design and align on your goals 

Set clear expectations, goals, and strategies by deciding on KPIs. Then, map out existing workflows and prioritize which you’d like to improve. This will determine which products or channels to start with for most effective results. 

“Make the virtual agent a member of your team. Don't think of it as external software that you need to get the hang of, but a tool that you can teach to follow your processes.”

- Maeve Condell, Customer Success Lead at Ultimate

3. Set up your team for success

We advise assigning a project lead, a bot builder, and a CRM expert to get started. As with all things automation, your mileage may vary, but we recommend having 2-3 team members spend about 5 hours per week on your initial setup.

Learn more about what resources you need to allocate for implementing automation. 

4. Set up your existing technology for success 

Look for automation providers that can seamlessly integrate into your existing tech stack, including your backoffice systems like your CRM or your order management system. While many automated customer service platforms are no-code, you may need additional IT support for backend integrations. 

5. Obtain your main customer pain points 

Many automation providers offer tools to discover your most popular customer intents. Testing them on your unique support data is a win-win for you: If you already have an idea of your top intents and their tool confirms that result, you know the AI is good. If you end up finding additional intents, then you have an even more precise idea of what to automate first.

Want to find your most common customer intents and discover your automation potential? Get your free, customized report from the CS Automation Explorer. 

6. Prep for launch success

Most automation providers will help you go live within 2-4 weeks, depending on the channels you’d like to automate first. (Generally, ticket automation can go live a little more quickly than chat automation.) Before your official launch, it’s time to put your new virtual agent to the test and throw everything at it! For example, at Ultimate, we usually guide customers through a ‘break-the-bot’ session to test their AI’s performance and improve chat conversation flows

7. Achieve long-term success 

Now’s the time to monitor and iterate, and assess your performance against your KPIs. You’ll want to raise your automation rate further by training your AI and expanding the number of automated intents. Then, it’s time to think about a long-term growth strategy with added KPIs around 24/7 support, additional languages, or channels.

Learn how to get started with support automation from TransferGo's CCO 

So the steps to getting started sound simple enough in theory, but what about in practice? We sat down with Povilas Čiuplys, Chief Customer Officer of TransferGo to chat about: 

  • What pain points led TransferGo to consider automation
  • What the onboarding and launch processes were like
  • What results they saw immediately after launch as well as further down the line 

Watch the free on-demand event and hear what the getting started process was like from someone who’s gone through it. 

Read the complete guide to getting started

Download your free copy of Getting Started with Automation: How to Scale Your Support with AI