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The biggest misconceptions about automation

11th Nov 2021
CEO Zowie
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Even though the advantages of automated customer service tools are clear, many businesses question whether automation is the right move for them and their customers. Extensive automation tools, often targeted at enterprise businesses, can come with high maintenance demands. And human customer service agents are important touchpoints for the delicate work of managing customer relationships.

It’s a fair question: will automation really be a net benefit for my business?

Much of the difficulty comes from misconceptions about automation and conversational AI. In this piece, we’ll debunk the most common misconceptions and explain the best way to approach them. 

1. Automation won’t handle my customers’ requests

It’s true that there are customer service situations that need a personal touch. 

Automation isn’t an all-or-nothing proposition. Rather, it’s about using automation to handle the segment of customer requests where it can provide the most value to your business.

The key is to make smart decisions about what - and what not - to automate. AI can be trained to quickly recognize which requests should be redirected to human agents. Using AI to triage requests helps to avoid human error at the earliest stage of customer interactions.

It’s also helpful to consider who your customers are. Digital natives like Millenials and Gen Z, in particular, expect to be able to converse with brands. These expectations are shaped by their other consumer experiences online, and automation and conversational AI are an established part of the digital landscape.

Ecommerce platform eyerim was able to automate 64% of their requests within three months of adopting customer service automation–across six markets and six languages, no less.

In short: Automation is a tool, not a slapdash solution. Engage automated tooling in strategic ways that are right for you and your customers.

2. Automation is not “human” enough

Some complex inquiries might be best handled by a human agent who can creatively problem-solve and respond with empathy. A recent Genesys survey discovered that 48% of consumers think companies don't show enough empathy.

This common misconception is reflective of badly-leveraged automation and AI. Many of us have had lackluster customer experiences like this: sent in circles by a chatbot or unable to navigate a voice-command phone line. It’s no wonder that businesses worry about how automation might leave them struggling to build personal relationships with customers and ensure loyalty and retention.

Automated customer service is more than conversational AI. Features like automated ticket routing can be a majorly impactful addition to your customer service toolkit. 

If you do choose to use AI, it’s helpful to understand how the technology works. Managers often expect results on day one, whereas AI has to be taught over time. The question is whether you have powerful tools that enable you to teach your AI easily and quickly. Many automation tools are advanced and complex, and their setup and use can pose a challenge to agents.

In short: By nature, AI adapts over time to your customers’ needs. Make sure you sign up for a system that’s easy to use and low-maintenance. This will help you mitigate any growing pains as your AI learns.

3. Automation will lower my CSAT

For customer service teams, CSAT is one of the most important performance indicators. It’s logical that you wouldn’t want to jeopardize the performance of your customer service team.

In reality, when you automate 50-80% of your requests, your agents have more time to answer complicated situations with the care and attention they deserve. Again, there’s less room for human error with incoming requests, and the scalability of your business isn’t tied to the size of your customer support team. Based on our research, CSAT grows post-implementation because core metrics like RT and FRT go down.

Gaming platform Challengermode opted for automated customer service tooling when their user growth began to outstrip the capacity of their customer service team. They were conscious of maintaining a streamlined experience for their users. “Figuring out how to set up an automated customer support solution tends to be scary because you don’t want it to go bananas on the user and hurt the quality of their experience,” says Mikael Lidström, Organizer Success Team Lead at Challengermode.

Within a week, Challengermode had automated 50% of their chat requests. Currently, 86% of chat requests are automated, without sacrificing the customer service quality that is important to the Challengermode team. Christopher Telstadt, Challengermode’s Co-Founding Engineer and Head of Growth, calls their automated customer support “a perfect helping hand for our team.” 

In short: Customer expectations are evolving, and automation signals to them that your business is adaptable, modern, and credible. Leverage automation to also decouple scalability and staffing constraints.

4. Automation will take jobs away

Fears about how automation eliminates human jobs are often a legacy from the changes we’ve seen in recent years in some industries, such as manufacturing. When it comes to automated customer service, businesses typically see a 0% reduction in the size of their customer support teams.

All companies grow, and your need for human agents will always be there. But an efficient and positive CX drives growth: 75% of customers will spend more to buy from companies that deliver great customer experiences.

Automation reduces or eliminates redundant, repetitive work that is dragging your team down, which then enables them to focus on meaningful work like creating feedback loops and realizing customer insights. Tools like automated ticket prioritization also allow customer service representatives to better manage their time and focus on what’s important. This lowers cognitive load and frees up their attention. In turn, this can even increase job satisfaction and staff retention.

In short: Automation is “always on” so that your staff doesn’t have to be. Use automation to empower your team.

Don’t let misconceptions about automation hold back your business.

Typical misconceptions like these can block organizations from utilizing automation to their advantage. As the experiences of businesses like Challengermode illustrate, automation enables growth and increases efficiency without sacrificing humanity, jobs, or customer service quality. With the right approach, automation is powerful and easy to maintain–definitely a net benefit.

 

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