Customers want faster, personalized, more joyful support — and they want it now. With 93% of CS teams reporting higher customer expectations than ever before, it can be hard for brands to keep up with these demands.
Traditionally, the only way to provide round-the-clock support was to increase headcount: either by hiring new agents or using Business Processing Outsourcers (BPOs) to answer support requests. With the rise of remote working it’s become far easier to source talent from around the world, but hiring and training new agents can be both costly and time consuming. And while BPOs might seem like a good option, outsourcing your support means giving up control over your brand tone, and the quality of service provided.
But there are ways that you can offer 24/7 customer service without having to scale your team. Here’s how.
Implement an intelligent chatbot
According to HubSpot, 90% of consumers say that an immediate response is important to them when contacting customer service teams. Enter: Chat Automation. While your team can’t be online 24/7, a customer support bot can take over when your agents punch out at the end of the day.
An automation solution for your live chat channel can help your brand to serve customers faster, and at any hour of the day — all without having to onboard new agents. Just make sure you choose an intelligent bot enhanced with conversational AI technology. Clunky, first-generation, rules-based chatbots (the ones we all know and hate) simply don’t cut it anymore.
While implementing an AI-powered bot to provide 24/7 support involves some financial investment up front, it’s predicted that in 2022 intelligent bots will save businesses $8 billion in costs. And as well as offering instant responses to simple queries around the clock, chat automation can help CS teams manage surges in support request volumes during busy periods.
Bots can’t handle every query, but even with more complex cases that require a human touch, automated chat can serve your customers by providing useful information. This might be details such as office hours, or giving a timeframe for when an agent will get back to them.
Learn more about scaling your support in our library of customer service ebooks.
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Automate processes and tickets
AI chatbots aren’t the only automation tool that can help your company to provide 24/7 customer support. As well as offering solutions for chat, the most powerful automation providers (like Ultimate) can automate processes and replies across every digital channel — including email, social media, and messaging apps.
Ticket Automation allows you to build out automatic responses to common questions, so your team can resolve issues around the clock. And just like chat, even if your virtual agent can’t fully solve a customer’s problem, you can use automation to push information to them and deliver a better experience.
Plus, a Ticket Automation solution can:
- Input data into tickets (like adding tags or a priority level) to save agents from manually updating fields
- Pull data from your CRM (if your automation provider can integrate with your CRM system) like email addresses, order numbers, or previous conversation history
- Route tickets to the correct person or department, without agent involvement
This gives your human agents the context they need to solve customer issues more quickly during their working hours.
Want to know more? Check out our educational module on customer support automation.
Empower customers to self-serve
Another way to provide 24/7 support is by creating resources to help customers solve issues themselves. This not only reduces the number of common, repetitive requests that agents have to answer during working hours, but allows customers to find answers to their questions when your team finishes work for the day.
Automation can be useful here too — as long as you choose a provider who uses your own historical data to train the AI model. By analyzing your existing customer service data, this clever technology can find out the support requests, or intents, that come up most frequently.
Once you know what customers are asking, there are plenty of different ways you can help them to self-serve. These might include:
- Setting up an FAQs page: that answers common questions and covers your basic processes and policies (like returns for ecommerce brands)
- Creating a knowledge base: where you can share how-to videos, written guides, and other resources that are updated regularly by your team
And people want to resolve problems on their own. Research by Zendesk found that 67% of customers prefer to self-serve over speaking to a company rep — so having self-service options gives customers what they want.
The technology available today makes it easier than ever to provide 24/7 customer support, without increasing headcount. With the help of virtual agents and strong self-service resources, CS teams can continue to keep their customers happy when agents switch off for the day.