Customer Support Automation: Five Myths and Facts

Whereas customer support automation has become a standard tool that circa 58% of B2B businesses use to improve their processes, it's still surrounded by myths. This misinformation holds companies back from leveraging automation, keeping the quality and efficiency of their customer service lower than they could be.

So, we’re going to break down five perpetuated customer support myths about automation and dispel them with facts. This will help you make an informed decision about whether or not your business needs to automate your customer service functions.

Myth 1: Automation can’t deliver personalized customer support

Fact: Automation propels personalization and increases support quality.

The myth that automation will “depersonalize” your brand by delivering identical robotic responses to your customers is quite common. The reality, however, is that the broad automation functionality fosters personalization in many ways.

Take proactive messaging as an example. Proactive messaging allows you to target key customers and address and solve their problems before they even get to voice them. The AI bot will keep your customers informed about shipment delays, system updates, outages, and other events, preventing these issues from growing into problems or frustrations.

Besides, unlike your reps, chatbots can spot returning users and trigger the conversation to convert them into customers. The AI also can understand if a customer needs help checking out or deciding upon which pricing plan is a better fit for them and assist them before the user gets too frustrated or abandons your website.

Thanks to adding tags to tickets your agents can categorize all the incoming queries and route them to a particular department or specialist who can help solve the issue quickly. You can also label some ticket categories as urgent or VIP, which will automatically prioritize them in the queue and ensure that they won’t slip through the cracks.

Myth 2: Customer support automation is another word for chatbot

Fact: A chatbot is one of many tools that make up customer support automation.

This is one of the customer support myths that comes from a lack of tech-savviness. Automation is a broad term encompassing all services that help minimize human involvement in repetitive tasks. A chatbot is just one of these services. It’s a conversational AI that simulates a discussion to assist customers 24/7 with instant answers.

The hype around chatbots and virtual assistants, while well-deserved, may have overshadowed a wide range of capabilities automation provides, including:

  • Automated workflows that streamline your team’s work by taking over all repetitive tasks. You can automatically route, categorize, prioritize, and escalate tickets, create canned responses to typical questions, form ticket templates, and more.
  • Email automation allows you to create and send automatic email responses to common questions and follow-ups to users who didn’t get back to you after seven or more hours.
  • Self-service tools like intelligent FAQs and Knowledge Base enable your users to solve simple problems quickly without your agents lifting a finger. These services can provide extensive knowledge management functionality and contextual answers that take the user journey into account.
  • The Interactive Voice Response (IVR) phone system interacts with customers via a prerecorded voice menu before routing their calls to the appropriate representative.

Myth 3: Automation will replace human support entirely

Fact: Automation takes over basic tasks, allowing your support reps to take on more complex and valuable tasks and tickets.

Does customer service automation help you scale your support without hiring hundreds of new staff members? Yes. Does it refine their work by eliminating human errors? Yes. But can it replace your agents altogether? Absolutely not.

Like automation in any industry, help desk automation helps your support agents concentrate on solving intricate problems and attending to high-value clients instead of getting buried under low-impact and repetitive tasks.

However advanced the AI algorithms are, they are not close to being as sophisticated as the human brain, at least yet. So any task that requires human intuition, reading social cues, and juggling mutually exclusive concepts can only be handled by a human.

Myth 4: Customers only want to talk to real people

Fact: Customers want to solve their problems fast. It’s secondary whether it involves real people.

This is, potentially, one of the most prevalent customer support myths out there. In reality, however, circa 60% of US consumers prefer solving simple tasks without involving a real human on the other end.

When you hear that customers prefer talking to humans over machines, you should always consider the context. For example, if a customer is presented with a choice: to speak to a real person but get redirected to two other support reps, or to interact with a prerecorded message or a chatbot but get the job done in minutes, which do you think they will choose?

Another question: would your customers rather queue for an hour to talk to your agent or sort out the problem in five minutes after being sent to the relevant FAQs section by the AI? The choice is clear.

So when customers say they prefer talking to humans, what they mean is they prefer having a familiar way of solving problems. But present them with equally, if not more efficient, alternatives to their problems, and they will happily accept whatever gets them sorted out faster and easier.

Myth 5: Automation only benefits customers

Fact: Automation reduces customer service costs by 30%, improves processes, boosts efficiency, removes tedious manual tasks, fosters collaboration, and makes room for more meaningful work.

Leveraging customer service automation is equally beneficial to your clients, business, and customer support teams. If anything, it’s hard to pinpoint an aspect of customer support work that doesn’t get a significant boost from automation.

There is no more need for your support reps to scan through, prioritize, manually assign, or reroute every ticket — automated workflows with ticket routing will take care of that. No more juggling between email, live chat, Facebook, and phone, as you process all the tickets from one window. Likewise, there is no need to dig up logs about every customer and their request history — tickets arrive at your reps’ hands already packed with all the relevant information.

With canned responses and automated follow-ups, your agents don’t need to waste time answering the same questions repeatedly. In addition, the collaboration functionality allows your team members to leave notes, share ticket ownership, and tag other specialists to solve the ticket faster.

On top of that, an automated ticketing tool provides you with data-backed reports about your state of affairs. With dashboard and reporting functionality, you eliminate guesswork about your crucial support metrics like average response time, unresolved queries, customer satisfaction, and whatnot.

Summing up

When deciding whether your business should embrace customer support automation, try to base this decision on facts and your business needs, not customer support myths. Ask your support team if they manage the load or if they could use some help. Read how your customers rate your support. Learn more about help desk systems. But don’t let misinformation stop you from leveraging technology when it can help you scale your customer support and improve your bottom line!

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