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Do you know how to automate Customer Service successfully?

This is the second of three articles with great advice and tips.

Lee Thomas of Infinet Technology kicked off with an illustration of the value of good implementation and the essential components of Customer Service automation.

Czarina Sheikh Mathew of Brilliant Customer Service, will tackle cultural transformation and show how culture impacts Customer Service in the third.

Today, I explore five opportunities to boost the success of your automated Customer Service.

Automated Customer Service can be brilliant. It quickly and easily points us to the help we need. As customers we sometimes want instructions (so-called ‘self-service’), we might communicate via a form (in all its modern guises) or we need a person to understand and solve our problem.


But you must do it right. Implemented badly, automation standardises poor service.

  • It turns simple jobs into dilemmas
  • Shows your customers the disconnects behind the bot
  • Further frustrates dissatisfied customers

Bad automation: We remember and discuss inferior Customer Service. I bet you have spent too much time, tried many options and been frustrated when contacting a business for support.

Good automation: But what about the time you clicked help and found what you needed at once? Or when a bot escalated you to a person who fixed your problem with a few helpful words?

Good automation helps customers, it puts a smile on their faces and encourages them to think of your business in a positive light.

How can we build success into Customer Service automation?

Start with your end in mind

1. Agree customer experience project goals and show the value*

Automation must show a Return on Investment (ROI). But it’s hard to prove the financial value of an enhanced Customer Experience. It is easy to focus on cost reduction instead, but that will skew your focus. If that happens, Customer Service will be forgotten and, perhaps, damaged.

Describe your Customer Service today, with a Customer Journey Map. Capture more than transactions, consider different customers and their emotions at each step.

Working collaboratively, use your Customer Journey Map to identify opportunities to improve Customer Service and work out what your people need to deliver the service. Don’t fall back on ‘AI will do that bit’. Who will confirm customers are happy? Who will update content (e.g. instructions)? What information will the AI communicate when it escalates to a human…Map your automated Customer Service.

Agree how to measure improvements and commit to your goals. Where possible tie those goals to financial benefits – e.g. Customer Lifetime Value and margins.

Share your Customer Journey Maps, goals and benefits to influence others.

2. Design

During design, your team must know and believe the customer comes first. Your automated Customer Journey Map sets the standard for Customer Service, use it to design the roles, processes and systems needed to deliver excellent Customer Service.

3. Test

The automated Customer Journey Map is your test script. Check your service is easy to use and effective. Ask real customers if you can. Schedule changes according to their impact on customers; carry out critical improvements before launch.

4. Keep it relevant

No automation is fit and forget and update your Customer Journey with experience:

  • Customer language
  • Measures of Customer Experience
  • Signs of frustration

Address opportunities to improve service:

  • Improve your algorithms and content
  • Train your teams to turn frustrated customers into advocates
  • Review escalated issues and build self-service or automated responses

5. Use feedback to improve products, services and the whole Customer Experience

When automating Customer Service, you can uncover the support your customers need, understand their preferences for communication and build continuous improvements into your products, services and service.

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