Organisations that are leveraging automation have been found to be more resilient in the face of pandemic-related challenges. Those without sophisticated forecasting and planning systems were unable to address issues such as stock levels as quickly as those who did, losing out on sales and potentially damaging customer relations and brand image. The automated front-end of a transactional e-commerce website or an AI-powered Chatbot may have been the only way non-essential businesses stayed open and in touch with customers during lockdown. Those without these connections suffered.
With more customer service queries, more website traffic and more inbound calls, organisations need intelligent automation to manage demand. Digital self-service is helping to manage routine questions and issues. Automating certain scenarios within the IVR system helps deflect calls to alternative digital channels. Similarly, integrating Chatbots and expanding them to new channels can speed up resolution times compared with waiting on the line to speak with an adviser.
Most of these self-service capabilities are surprisingly easy to implement, while still producing results like streamlining engagement and improving customer satisfaction when pressure is on. In this blog, we look at ways automation technology helps to deliver seamless customer service while significantly reducing operational costs.
Deflect calls from your busy contact centre.
Many of Engage Hub’s customers saw their contact centres overwhelmed at the start of the pandemic. These unprecedented call volumes created an urgent need to deploy automated contact handling solutions.
With AI and NLP becoming ever-more sophisticated, Chatbots can now take on more than standard FAQs. Not only can they help customers self-serve complex problems, but they can understand intent and interact in a conversational, human-like way that aligns with your brand. This then frees up agent capacity in the call centre, because a large percentage of queries can be resolved by the Chatbot.
You can drive customers to self-service channels in a variety of ways. For example, on the contact page of your website (where people traditionally find your phone number), you can showcase the improved service available via channels such as Web Chat, WhatsApp, SMS or Facebook Messenger. Your IVR system can also deflect people, offering a voice Chatbot when customers call.
As a result, staff can focus on more complex queries and vulnerable customers, while still making it easy for those self-serving to reach a human if needed.
Offer the best possible support in the moment, on the customer’s channel of choice.
Chatbots are most effective when they work seamlessly across touchpoints. This means they must be able to access customer information and chat histories from any messaging app or communication channel. For example, if customers start on Web Chat and move to WhatsApp, they shouldn’t have to repeat their story. Once the Chatbot has confirmed the customer’s identity, it should have access to all previous interactions – and be able to pick up at that precise point in their journey.
For example, an AI-powered Chatbot integrates with your back-end systems so it recognises if customers recently made a purchase – and can straight away offer a delivery update without customer having to query first. It also integrates with the logistics system, so it can see if a delivery is delayed, and pre-empt the customer’s complaint with a more conciliatory approach.
Gain cross-channel insight to drive continuous improvement.
As with customer journey automation, data integration is key to success with self-service. Having a single Chatbot that works across all channels means customers can get help with issues that cut across systems.
It also means you can use machine learning across all channel interactions, so the Chatbot continuously improves based on how customers actually interact with your business. Plus, you get integrated analytics that help you boost CSAT and NPS – cost-effectively and at scale. In fact, by using Engage Hub’s digital self-service solutions, one of our top retail clients has seen over 65% of their customers now use digital self-service channels in the first instance – while reaping the benefits of nearly £4 million in operational cost savings.
To find out more about customer service in the digital era, download our recent guide. To learn more about how automation can drive cost savings and enhance your CX, click here.