Automated customer support has a bad reputation. For too many people it conjures painful memories of wading through a voice recognition system, or of trying to find a contact number on a knowledge base that seems have last been updated before the invention of the iPhone.
We’ve all been there, but the reality is that it doesn’t have to be that way. The tools are now available to make automated customer support a way to not only save money but also make agents’ jobs more interesting, and crucially deliver a far better service to customers.
The tools to make it happen
The key to making it happen is having the right tools in place. Firstly you need enough data. You need a constant flow of live information that accurately reflects the scope and scale of your customer interaction. It’s this data that delivers an understanding of the customer experience, and enables you to optimise that experience from start to finish.
Most organisations begin their path to support automation with case management. This tool allows you to track all customer enquiries, support calls and project delivery. It ensures no cases are dropped before they’re resolved. It can allow you to route cases to the agent best qualified to help, making the role more interesting for agents, and improving chances of a first-time resolution. And it gives you the opportunity to set up a triage system where the most urgent or important cases are prioritised.
The next stage is typically email integration. When you can track notes, activities and emails against a case you get complete visibility of every single customer enquiry. You can be sure nothing is missed as you deliver customer service of the very highest standard.
Integrating your support function with the contract management system adds another layer of automation and improved service. It allows your support team to easily search by serial number or product key for an up-to-date status, give the right level of support to each customer, and avoid giving support to someone without a valid support contract.
Finally, by providing reports and a dashboard you empower your customer support team to make decisions. They can access real-time, up-to-date customer information instantly, and so deliver the support that each customer needs at exactly that moment.
Given the right tools, the potential for automating customer support is huge. And it’s far more than a cost-saving exercise. In fact, a growing number of organisations are seeing what can be done with it, and asking themselves whether, if they truly want customers at the heart of their operations, they can afford not to invest in support automation.
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