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Want to automate your customer service? Here’s how!

Nov 19, 2021 5 min
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Want to automate your customer service? Here’s how!

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Today automation more often the rule, not the exception. The extent to which everyday interactions are automated might surprise you: from booking a flight to reserving a table at your favourite restaurant. Consumers are increasingly critical and expect answers from your business or organisation at every hour of the day. To give you an idea of what that’s like: research states that the average wait time for live chat is currently 2 minutes and 40 seconds (source). Achieving these results without automation would be incredibly expensive. That’s why companies often choose to (partially) automate customer service. Not only does automation save time and money, while the consumer gets answers quickly and clearly.

Where’s the issue?

Automated customer service doesn’t always have the best reputation. Today, automation means that you’re not speaking with a person, instead you’re getting an automated answer. Although this can go wrong, technology has improved drastically over the last few years. That’s why companies are betting on fully and partially automated customer service. You’ll learn how you can successfully automate your customer service in this article.

How can you avoid frustration?

There are a number of misconceptions and preconceived notions about artificial intelligence. One of those notions is that all chatbots are the same. We’re here to tell you: this isn’t true whatsoever. Where a rule-based chatbot uses an algorithm based on a few pre-programmed steps, an AI chatbot built with artificial intelligence actually has a conversation. The chatbot understands what you’re saying, where spelling errors and word order don’t automatically mean the chatbot can’t answer.  This means the conversation can start with the question “How can I help you?” and that’s how it should be!

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Why would you want to automate your customer service?

There are many advantages to automating your customer service. Besides delivering a huge cost savings, we’ve outlined a whole host of others for you below:

1. More conversations, more satisfied customers

When you can answer more customer questions, you’ll increase customer satisfaction. Customers won’t be left waiting for answers anymore. By training and optimising your chatbot, you’ll ensure the right answers are provided. The chatbot will, with its speed and precision, ensure that no question goes unanswered.

2. Less work pressure on your customer service team

Those who work in a customer service team will tell you it can sometimes be a little hectic. Customers determine when they’re reaching out, not the team. This means there are sometimes peak volumes where a mountain of questions come in. This can put a lot of stress on the team, and lead to some questions being answered incorrectly, insufficiently or not answered at all. That chatbot helps to reduce that stress and pressure on the customer service team, ensuring time for complex questions or other necessary tasks.

3. A chatbot never sleeps

No matter how passionate a customer service employee is about their role, no one can work 24/7 without sleep, a lunch break or vacation days. A chatbot is active 24 hours a say, 7 days a week, without losing quality or speed. The number of customers that want to reach out for answers in the evenings or over the weekend is increasing. To ensure that they don’t just abandon their outreach, the chatbot can take a majority of those questions on. The few that can’t be answered by the chatbot can be taken on first thing the next available moment by the bright and bushy tailed team.

The point of automating customer service isn’t to remove the personal touch. Automation can allow that personal touch to flourish and thrive at the moments when it’s most important..

4. A chatbot answers consistently

A chatbot always responds in the same way to the same question. While an employee might be having a bad day, a chatbot doesn’t have the same experience. A chatbot answers the same time every time in the way he’s been taught. In an optimal situation, a chatbot can take on over 85% of all incoming questions, meaning your customer service is that much more efficient. Customer service teams don’t need to waste time on copy-and-paste work for frequently asked questions and can spend more time on complex cases.

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Automate your customer service in 4 steps

Now that you know the advantages to automation, there’s one question that remains: how do you go about automating your own customer service?

Step 1: Set goals for automation

We advise to set goals for automating your customer service before your get started. What do you expect from an automated customer service department? What are the pain points that automation could help relieve? What do you expect from the software you want to use to automate your customer service? Depending on the channels you use and the needs of your team, you can choose the right software. Check out what’s on the market; what’s offered in terms of forms of automation? Maybe you’ll discover things you haven’t yet thought of. For example, Watermelon also offers a suggestion bot, where customer service agents are provided with suggested answers to customer questions.

Step 2: Align your team and your channels

Before you can actually get started automating customer service, it’s important to ensure your resources are aligned accordingly. What’s your current state of business, and how does communication flow among the members of the team? What channels are you using now, and which ones might you want to use soon? Do you have an overview of the contact points customers are using today, or a concept of the customer journey?

Step 3: Start automating your customer service

If you’ve got your goals, and your team’s aligned, then it’s time to choose the right software for your company and start building your chatbot. Building the chatbot has a number of considerations. How do you want the chatbot to answer? What kind of personality will you give your chatbot? What are the frequently asked questions that the chatbot can answer? What variations on these questions might there be? Watermelon offers an onboarding trajectory for this step, so you can be smart about efficiently setting up your chatbot in a goal-oriented way. Want to read more? Read this blog!

Step 4: Optimise your chatbot

A chatbot responds immediately and is available 24 hours a day. The artificial intelligence that’s used in the chatbot helps answer frequently asked questions such that employees can spend time providing service on other topics or in other ways. Although that sounds fantastic, implementing your chatbot does require some TLC.

A chatbot can be compared to a person. In the beginning, it doesn’t know what it needs to say. Your chatbot is ready to learn, and you’ll need to show it the ropes. Begin by providing all the frequently asked questions and their corresponding answers. Once you’ve launched, you can expand these questions such that your chatbot can answer an even wider range of questions.

There will always be questions that your chatbot can’t understand. In such a situation an employee can take over. Thanks to supervised learning, the chatbot saves the answer provided, such that it can provide that answer the next time the question is asked.

Automate your customer service with Watermelon

Watermelon allows you to bring your customer service channels into a single overview, but adding a chatbot to answer questions from customers. While a human agent can only handle a few conversations at once, your chatbot doesn’t have a limit. Your customer service team can handle so much more – a win-win situation for your customers and for your team!

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