Highly skilled agents can address customers’ needs with bulls-eye accuracy. But not all customer queries require the expertise of a live support agent. These days, agents are inundated with frequently asked questions (FAQs), many of which revolve around returns and login help – typically time-consuming queries with easy fixes.
Fortunately, companies can preserve the skills of their agents for higher-priority or more complex issues by introducing intelligent automation. Automation relies on a wide variety of tools, including self-help portals, virtual personal assistants, and chatbots, to quickly and efficiently handle very basic, often repeatable customer questions.
Artificial intelligence-powered chatbots, for instance, can help make account changes for customers placing online orders, with a distinctly human touch.
The result is a win-win situation for agent and customer alike. Rather than answering questions about password resets and return policies, agents are freed up to handle more high-touch customer inquiries and/or mission-critical tasks. Simple ticket items, such as reconnecting to a network, can be resolved quickly, clearing the queue for customers with more complex questions that need a live agent.
And there’s another benefit. For customers, automation is both a fast solution—avoiding lengthy wait times to get answers quickly—and a source of empowerment—they can easily resolve problems via self-service capabilities. At the same time, customers with more complicated issues can reach an agent faster. And because self-service can be as simple as accessing a rich and easily searchable knowledge base, it’s perfect for mobile, sometimes impatient customers.
Best Practices for Introducing Automation
By engaging customers conversationally, chatbots, for example, add an extra layer of intelligence to everyday customer support interactions. But not all issues can be resolved via a self-service portal or searchable knowledge base.
For this reason, it’s critical that self-service solutions provide an easy escalation to human agents when necessary. The key is knowing when to produce a real person, and to make sure the agent knows where that customer is coming from. Have they already tried – and failed – to resolve an issue via self-service channels, for example, such as enrolling in a new benefits program? With co-browse, a live agent can see what the visitor sees and provide guided assistance by filling out the form on the visitor’s behalf.
Another best practice for automated customer support is ensuring that automation tools, such as chatbots, use natural language – not robot-speak, to respond to customer queries. Automation tools should also adapt over time, learning from customers’ answers to provide more improved responses in the future. And savvy organizations use automation in conjunction with digital engagement solutions, such as CRM, to create rich profiles of customers, enabling agents to seamlessly pick up a conversation where an automated solution left off.
Together, this combination of agent and automated technology provides a powerful one-two punch: Improve the customer’s experience and free up agents for high-value interactions and high-priority clients.
Learn how automation can address routine inquiries instantly, and free up agent resources.