What Is Customer Service Automation? Why Is It Important?

Customer service automation answers the needs of the time-constrained, efficiency-oriented customer.

Automation frees up time for higher-value activities


As we wrote in a previous article, automation has been around for almost 75 years, starting in the factories of the automobile industry. Then and now, automation is used to relieve humans of repetitive, painful, time-consuming or dangerous tasks, freeing up time for them to engage in more meaningful activities. Today, AI-powered automation is spreading rapidly through the tertiary sector; as such, it is already deeply changing the way customer service is carried out.

The different forms of customer service automation

In 2011, Gartner predicted that by 2020, 85 % of all customer interactions would be handled without a human agent.

Time will soon tell whether that figure was accurate, but what is sure is that customer service automation is a must-have for companies -- and it goes beyond strict customer interactions. Automation can, in fact, take different forms: a self-service online library that allows customers to find solutions for themselves; a tool for agents to merge all conversational channels into one; good auto-reply emails; chatbots and live bots, among others.

Customer service automation is linked to higher levels of satisfaction


What these tools achieve is two-fold. On the one hand, they allow agents to rid themselves of repetitive tasks, letting them focus on more complex issues instead of answering the same handful of questions over and over again. On the other hand, customers experience higher levels of satisfaction.

According to the Interactive Intelligence Group, for 75 % of customers, short response times are the most important factor for good customer service; automation can reduce these response times drastically (the Autodesk company says their virtual assistant has sped up their customer service by 99 %).


Automation also satisfies the expectations of younger generations: according to a Captera study, 60 % of Millennials feel good about themselves and the brand when they can find a solution to their problem on their own. Salesforce finds that 39% of them go first to the FAQ page when they have a question. If done well, with automation, the bulk of customer service can be carried out anywhere, anytime, 24/7, and faster than ever. Who wouldn't want that?

 

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