Automation is limited only by our imagination, but here are some of the most common ways that customer service teams are starting to automate.
Self-Service Portals and Community Forums
Every support team wants to reduce their call volume, but adding FAQs to the website isn’t always enough. By creating a forum, you can provide customers a community where they help each other. Incentives can be provided to encourage knowledgeable customers to respond to questions, and it can also be a research tool for gathering opinions at various points during the customer journey, as well as keep track of common issues.
Predictive Maintenance and Support
The best way to reduce support volume is to prevent issues from occurring in the first place. Manufacturers in the B2B sector are equipping their machines with sensors that monitor performance, and automatically alert the owner (and/or the manufacturer) when a service or repair is needed. When paired with a self-service portal, this can allow the customer to schedule the maintenance themselves, eliminating the need for a support call entirely. The service request can even be fully automated, so a service technician is automatically booked when a set usage parameter is reached.
Customers don’t always have to speak to a human. For common requests such as looking up account details or finding information on a website, a chatbot can give customers the satisfaction of an immediate answer. Using technologies such as machine-learning and natural-language-processing, customers can even communicate with a more advanced chatbot as they would a regular support person. Of course, chatbots can work at any hour of the day and eliminate wait times, but they can also track your support requests more accurately. With a chatbot connected to software such as Qualtrics, it’s even possible to identify trending issues in real-time, so you can fix them faster.
2. How to Shape Customer Expectations?
A better alternative to continually pushing your delivery times and service teams to their limit is to try to change your customer’s expectations. As customers, we might think that we want faster delivery, but perhaps what we actually want is the feeling of certainty. If a retailer interviewed its customers and discovered this insight, they might realize that they don’t need to invest huge amounts of money to offer next-day delivery for free. Customers might be just as satisfied if the delivery time was simply changed from an arbitrary 3-day window to a guaranteed date. Alternatively, the retailer could offer click-and-collect, which gives the customer peace of mind simply by having it as an option.
Make Customer Research a Regular Process
To discover insights like these, customer research can’t be done as a one-time project. It must become a core process. This means setting up as many opportunities to provide feedback as possible, as well as proactively surveying your customers, inviting their feedback after testing changes, and repeating the process.