Is there a need for automated messages in customer service teams? For sure. Many companies are trying to deliver a hyper-personal experience by responding to individual customer enquiries. While they win at personalization, they lose by unnecessarily devoting resources to problems that could be more easily solved with automation (without hurting their bottom line).
What does automation look like for customer service teams like yours? It could come in the form of an automated service outage SMS announcement that alerts customers as soon as your team learns of the problem. In this example, making customers aware of the problem before they have the opportunity to contact you about it reduces your team’s workload and allows you to focus on more pressing customer issues.
Automation isn’t complicated to set up, and it’s extremely beneficial to your customers, your team, and your company. Here are some ways automation benefits your business and strategies to implement them.
The Benefit of Automated Messages to the Customer
Integrated automation messaging benefits your customers by giving them immediate information to resolve their problems. This is especially important for customers who have simple requests or common questions like, “Where is my package?”
Find more text message templates for your customers’ support campaigns: 19 Text Message Templates for Customer Service & Marketing Pros
Consider this: A study by HubSpot found that 90% of customers expect an immediate response from support teams, 60% of whom define “immediate” as less than 10 minutes. If customers have to wait longer than they believe they should, you risk lower customer satisfaction scores and—most likely—lost business. Automation can help prevent that by anticipating customer needs and freeing up time for service reps to answer those who need help.
However, this doesn’t mean that your customers want canned, robotic answers to their requests. Many times, what they want is comprehensive information that helps them resolve their problems on their own. In a Zendesk customer support study, 91% of customers said they would use a self-service option like a knowledge base if it met their needs.
Automated messages can also help your team anticipate common customer questions and provide timely answers before customers have the chance to reach out. This is important because it reduces bottlenecks in your customer communications and positions your support team as knowledgeable, helpful, and proactive.
Capita, a UK leader in technology-enabled business process management and outsourcing solutions, uses proactive SMS messages to get ahead of customer frustrations, such as “Why haven’t I received my delivery yet?” By providing up-to-date logistical information to customers, Capita has reduced the amount of costly inbound calls it receives and can provide a better experience to customers who need a personalized response.
Learn more about how to reduce inbound customer calls: The Secret to Reducing Avoidable Inbound Calls to Customer Service Teams
Automation strategies for Increasing Customer Satisfaction and Loyalty
One way to achieve satisfaction and loyalty is to implement rich media messages. Let’s say your team notices customers are asking a similar question when they reach a particular page on your website. Using rich media messages, you can trigger an announcement to point customers to a relevant knowledge base article, video, text or visual announcement, and more.
You can also implement SMS notifications or one-way voice notifications to keep customers informed about their purchases and set up workflows to verify their information. Using these solutions, your service agents won’t need to follow up with customers one-on-one for routine information, such as order statuses, service outages, or ID verification requests.
The Benefit of Automated Messages to Your Team
Automation helps your customer service team become more efficient because it cuts down on routine tasks. This allows you to thoughtfully handle complex customer issues, which can boost your team’s value to the business.
Customer service department goals are changing. It’s no longer about closing as many cases as quickly as possible. Now, it’s about reducing friction in the customer experience and giving them the level of support they expect. By giving customers with complex issues personalized responses, you’ll generate higher customer satisfaction rates and loyalty.
However, this is only possible if you automate communications for time-consuming routine customer issues and announcements. If your service agents are manually answering every customer question, they’re missing out on solving more complicated service issues that require a personalized approach. By integrating automation, your agents can focus on serving customers who need a real-time human response the most.
Ultimately, this helps position your service agents as more valuable to the company because a high-touch, empathetic response by a human can’t easily be automated. The more valuable your customer service team is, the more likely your company will be to increase resources and spending in your department.
Automation Strategies for Boosting Customer Service Team Value
Let’s look at this concept in action. For customers who require a more in-depth interaction, consider implementing:
- Interactive SMS messages. One-on-one SMS messages are faster and more efficient than email and voice calls for customers and agents. Plus, it takes fewer agents to respond to customer enquiries via text message than it does to respond to customers on a voice call in real time.
Automation for successful business communication should be founded on building relationships, not just one-way conversation where a company dominates the narrative. That’s why VoiceSage’s two-way SMS is perfect for empowering customer service teams. Using the interactive SMS workflow creator, you can set up text message conversations via a series of questions and predefined response options. Include dynamic content that triggers payments, ID verification or agent call-back.
- Interactive Voice Messaging. For customers who prefer a phone call, though, you can maximize your team’s time by setting up automated voice workflows. When a customer calls your customer service line, they are guided through self-service options for common enquiries, which can help to decrease your team’s Abandoned Call Rate and Average Response Time. If the customer still wishes to speak to a live agent, you can use pre-screening questions to more accurately route them to the right specialist.
Find out more about using rich media messaging for customer support: How to Manage Customer Support With Rich Media Content
The Benefit of Automated Messages to Your Company
What does all of this mean for your company as a whole? Integrated automation messages reduce your company’s costs in the customer service department headcount, allowing it to further invest in your team’s automation efforts.
As the volume of omnichannel customer interactions skyrockets, organizations are increasing their contact centre headcount and, consequently, their costs. By adopting automation for routine tasks, you have the power to curtail the need to hire more service agents.
How much in savings are we talking about here? In addition to salary costs, companies must pay to advertise the new positions, provide national healthcare insurance and paid time-off, train the new employees, furnish their office space, and more. In the UK, a company hiring an employee at a salary of £27,600 could pay close to £53,000 in total costs.
Passing off mundane tasks to automated workflows also helps reduce employee turnover, which could cost upwards of £6,125 per agent. With a 26% average turnover rate for call centre employees, your organization could save hundreds of thousands of pounds a year or more in turnover costs.
The Responsibility That Accompanies Automated Messages
Gartner predicts that 85% of call centre interactions will soon be automated, but this places an enormous responsibility on your service team’s management. If your organization is going to implement automated messaging and communications, you must ensure the solutions cater to your customers’ needs and expectations, while enabling your agents to provide personalized care to the customers who need it most.
This strategy leads to higher customer satisfaction and loyalty, lower employee turnover rates, and a reduced need to hire more agents. To start achieving these results with customer service automation, book a demo with our customer engagement specialists today.
Published on: 23rd December 2019