Virtual Agent Contact Center CX

How to take advantage of automated customer service software

The need for instant gratification is causing businesses to lean on automated customer service software. Here's how to use it to your benefit.
7 min read

Updated on June 10, 2024

Published on June 02, 2023

Automated Customer Service Software
Jennifer Clark
Jennifer Clark

Many customer service strategies have traditionally been high-touch. A well-trained agent would field customer queries and orchestrate customer interactions to resolve issues and increase customer satisfaction. 

It’s still an effective model for providing excellent customer service — but it’s not always feasible or sustainable. Talented customer support agents are in short supply, growing businesses can’t keep up with customer requests cost-effectively, and customers’ expectations for fast response and instant gratification are rising. 

As a result, many businesses are turning to automated customer service software.

What is automated customer service?

Customer service automation minimizes the intervention required from an agent to answer questions and resolve issues. A customer support team that only provides person-to-person service may second-guess whether automation can deliver the right customer experiences. However, 40% of consumers don’t mind if they’re interacting with a human or an automated system, provided they get the information they need.

Which software is used in customer service?

It’s possible that your team already uses customer service tools that automate some tasks and processes. Few customer support teams still use 100% manual processes to handle customer service inquiries. Instead, efficient teams use solutions, including the following customer service software examples.

CRM software

Customer relationship management (CRM) software allows businesses to document customer interactions. For example, a customer service team can use a CRM solution to personalize interactions or save time by referring to customer history. CRM software can also track the time between customer service interactions and remind agents or the sales team when it’s time to reach out again. 

Help desk software

Help desk software, or a customer support software ticketing system, allows customers to open tickets to request service or support. It gives customer support teams an efficient way to prioritize requests, assign them to reps or agents, and track progress until issues are resolved. 

Social monitoring software

Reputation management systems, such as social monitoring software, automate tracking comments on social media platforms and review sites. Data collected from these systems allow businesses to track what customers say about them, respond to complaints, reduce churn, and maximize customer lifetime value. 

Live chat support software

Perhaps the type of solution most commonly associated with automated customer service is live chat support software. It allows a customer to use a chatbot to find the answers to their questions, and, when needed, it will hand off interactions to a human agent to address more complex issues.  

How does automated customer service work?

Whether you plan to direct customers to a self-service option or automate internal processes, you need to create a connected IT environment that allows data to flow freely from all systems. Just like customer service teams, automation systems need all relevant information to address issues and provide answers. 

When you create an integrated system of CRM, help desk, social monitoring, and live chat, you’ll optimize customer service automation — and human agent — performance and customer satisfaction. 

Why should you prioritize automating customer service?

Across industries and use cases, businesses are turning to automation to overcome challenges caused by labor shortages and to control costs. While those may be reasons enough to deploy an automated customer service platform, keep in mind that there are additional advantages of automated customer service.  

Automation systems can give your customer service teams new capabilities, like analyzing calls and providing relevant information on their screens or handling repetitive data entry or other tasks. 

Also, customer service interactions don’t have to be customer-initiated with the right software. Automated customer service software collects data you can analyze to understand user behaviors and identify customers at risk of churning or opportunities for upselling or cross-selling. Making the first move may help improve customer satisfaction and retention metrics and revenues. 

How can automation improve customer service?

Automating customer service tasks can improve customer experiences and increase operational efficiency. Some of the specific benefits of automated customer service include the following.

Customer support without the wait

Customers lose patience when they need to wait on hold for more than five minutes, and when they have to wait longer than they expect, are 18% less satisfied with their experiences. Automated customer service software responds almost immediately, 24/7, eliminating the wait. Additionally, if the issue must escalate to an agent, the software can collect information the agent needs to resolve the issue efficiently and quickly. 

Lower costs

Automated customer service software reduces the need to hire additional employees and may reduce overtime by managing agents' tasks. Although the software has a monthly subscription or license cost, ROI can be quick and significant. 

Fewer human errors

Even the most conscientious human agents can make mistakes. For example, they could communicate the wrong information during a hectic day or use outdated data. 

However, automated customer service software consistently draws from your knowledge base or help center documentation. If that information is correct, the system will always deliver correct answers. 

What are some cons of support automation?

Without the right strategy, customer support teams can fall prey to some disadvantages of automated customer service. Remember these facts about automated customer service systems to avoid common pitfalls. 

Automated customer service software can’t do everything

Automated systems can provide answers to FAQs, connect customers with resources, and perform simple tasks. A human agent must step in when the issue is more complex or requires empathy. Businesses that deploy customer service automation software should make it part of a strategy that assists agents rather than attempting to replace them. 

Automation software doesn’t know the difference between customers 

A customer support agent knows a new client may need more of an explanation of products or services and that a VIP client needs white-glove treatment. Automation software doesn’t differentiate and could result in dissatisfied customers in certain segments of your base. 

Automation changes workflows 

When a business implements automated customer service software, workflows will change, and customer support managers will need to retrain their teams. The best software will support effective existing processes but will still have a learning curve. 

What are some automated customer service examples?

There are multiple ways to automate processes to support your customer service team. Explore how these options can streamline workflows for your support team. 

Knowledge base 

Consider giving your customers a self-service option to find the information they need. A searchable, well-organized, and up-to-date knowledge base can help customers easily find answers to frequently asked questions.

Rules-based chat

You also have the option to enable customers to ask questions or choose topics from a drop-down menu rather than requiring them to search a knowledge base. The system will provide pre-approved responses to their questions. 

IVR system

Customer service teams can automate call routing with an interactive voice response (IVR) system. The system asks customers to choose from a menu or recognizes keywords to direct them to the necessary departments to resolve their issues. 

AI chatbot

Chatbots can immediately respond to customers on your website or messaging apps. AI chatbots use natural language processing (NLP) so that customers can interact with them conversationally. 

An intelligent chatbot will understand customers, find the information they need, and provide answers quickly and conveniently. Many businesses see a substantial ticket reduction when a chatbot is the first point of contact. 

How do you automate customer service jobs?

Regardless of how you plan to automate customer service, there are some crucial steps you need to take, as outlined below.

Define your objectives 

Determine which processes you’ll automate. Base your decision on which tasks or interactions don’t require human interaction — and which you can improve and see ROI from automating. 

Don’t automate just for the sake of automating. Identify problems and solve them. 

Update your knowledge base

Automated customer service software can only generate responses as good as the information you provide. Therefore, ensure your knowledge base is up-to-date, accurate, and complete so your automated system always delivers valuable, relevant information and, as a result, great customer service. 

Choose the right customer service software

After you’ve defined your strategy to automate customer service processes, evaluate solutions based on the features and capabilities you need. Don’t compromise on your goals — find productivity software that helps you reach them. 

How Zoom Virtual Agent can help

Zoom Virtual Agent supports your goals of automating customer support tasks and processes while never compromising on providing excellent service. This customer service automation tool offers a range of AI-supported customer service capabilities, from chatbots to agent assistance and data analytics. Zoom Virtual Agent also integrates with your customer support and business applications to create a fully connected environment based on the best customer service software. 

Is your team spending time on tasks that customer service automation software can manage, or do you need to empower your agents with faster responses and easy access to information? Talk to an expert to learn more about the benefits of automation. 

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