The word “headless” is quickly becoming a buzzword for SaaS companies of all kinds. Some even claim that the future of SaaS is headless. But what exactly does “headless” mean? In this article we’ll go over what headless means and how headless solutions are turning customer support automation on its head — or rather, cutting off that head completely.
So what does “headless” mean when it comes to software?
Essentially, a “headless” solution is one where the frontend (what users see and interact with) and backend of the system (the server side where data is stored) are decoupled. This means you can change something on one side without running that change through the other.
For example, you could change the software that powers your customer service chatbot (the backend) without changing the way the bot interface looks to customers (the frontend). In a traditional coupled system, the change has to flow through both — something that costs time, money, and can introduce risk.
As companies see the increased flexibility and scalability of headless solutions, their popularity is growing rapidly:
- Ecommerce sites are separating the front-end presentation layer from the backend commerce functionality;
- CMS platforms have a separate customer-facing content layer that doesn’t disrupt their business infrastructure;
- Customer service automation platforms are developing AI-powered virtual agents that sit behind the customer-facing customer service chatbot or ticketing system.
That’s where we come in. Here at Ultimate, we’re pioneering one of the only headless automation platforms to give our customers seamless integrations and to enable them to provide efficient, joyful, and personalized customer support.
Check out our customer stories to learn how automation helped our customers supercharge their customer support.
What exactly is a headless platform for customer support automation?
A headless automation platform is a platform that integrates into all the customer service software a company is already using so that it can automate tasks without disrupting the existing tech stack.
Think of the automation solution as a virtual agent that you would have to train on your customer service processes, just like you would a human agent. This virtual agent can access data from all your existing tools, including order management systems (OMSs), customer relationship management systems (CRMs), booking and reservation systems, and more, just like your human agents do.
So instead of replacing all or part of your system with a new technology, the headless system sits inside the ecosystem you’ve built. This ensures your data is consistent across all platforms and creates a better experience overall for both you and your customers. At Ultimate, we have spent the last 5 years creating and iterating on a headless, AI-powered virtual agent that does just that.
“The technology has been implemented with various different setups, configurations and integrations in our system environment. The easiness of teaching the bot and to see the actual results of it is amazing.”
- G2 review by Aarne L., Lead, CRM Center of Excellence, Customer Channels, Channel Support & Development
What are the benefits of headless automation?
In simple terms, headless solutions work with the tech you already use instead of replacing it. But why is that preferable? Basically, it ensures that you’re never looking at two different sets of numbers, meaning your data and reporting stay consistent; your agents and customers are already familiar with the current tools; and you can capitalize on your existing solutions’ functionalities. Let’s take a look at each of these benefits in more detail.
1. Headless automation guarantees no disruption of your tech stack
The most important benefit of a headless automation solution is that it seamlessly integrates into all your existing tools and technologies. So, for example, if you use Zendesk as your CRM, you simply plug your automation platform into Zendesk, and all your data remains housed in the Zendesk ecosystem. This means that no data silos are created, your data stays fully accessible, and your reporting remains undisrupted.
2. No need to rip and replace your existing chat widget with a headless solution
Another benefit of going with a headless automation platform is that, if you already have some sort of chatbot, a headless platform can work with your existing solution. The AI technology powering the chat automation all goes on behind the scenes, but the bot widget itself can look the same for your customers, creating a consistent experience. Furthermore, your agents are already familiar with the interface of your existing solution so they don’t have to learn how to use a brand new tool, saving valuable time and training costs for your business.
3. Improve the ROI of your existing solutions with a headless automation platform
Because a headless platform leverages your existing tools, it helps improve your return on investment with less tech disruption. Essentially, a headless solution can bring together all the technology and platforms you already use, and access all the data and processes within them that a human agent could. It then automates processes between these tools without creating a data silo. In customer support, this drives down the cost per ticket and average handle time, maximizing the impact of automation.
Read more about seamless CRM and API integrations
Traditional vs. headless automation platforms
Now that you know what a headless platform is, you might be wondering whether you should choose a headless or a traditional automation solution. The truth is, there are actually a ton of other aspect to consider including what channels you’d like to automate (not all automation solutions can automate all digital channels including chat, email, messages, etc.), what languages you’d like your bot to speak, whether it requires coding knowledge or is a no-code solution, and much more. And this goes for headless and traditional platforms alike.
Still feeling in over your head? We’ve created a checklist of what to look for in an ideal automation provider.
At the end of the day, a traditional automation platform will be able to automate tasks similarly to how a headless solution will, but it will create a new data silo, which could introduce errors or inconsistencies. This is why we recommend going with a headless approach that seamlessly integrates into your existing tools and technologies. Headless automation solutions result in a consistent experience for your customers and for your team, maximize your investment in your current tech set-up, and ensure you’re never left comparing two different sets of data.
Ultimately, to ensure minimal tech disruptions while maximizing ROI, a headless solution is the best way to get a headstart on the competition.