Customer Service Automation

Sometimes, the term “customer service automation” is taken to describe any measure destined to help solve customer queries without the intervention of a human agent. However, this is quite a simplistic definition that doesn’t tell the whole story.

Here, we want to suggest a different definition: we will consider customer service automation as any type of measure or technology designed to automate any part of the processes relative to customer service operations, not necessarily just the interactions between customers and representatives.


Customer Service Automation

If you’ve been looking for ways to increase your efficiencies or scale your operations without incurring excessive hiring and training costs, you have probably considered customer service automation. In this article, we’ll tell you everything there is to know about automated customer service, from best practices to benefits and common mistakes, as well as how to make the best decisions for your business when you implement customer service automation.


What is Customer Service Automation?

Sometimes, the term “customer service automation” is taken to describe any measure destined to help solve customer queries without the intervention of a human agent. However, this is quite a simplistic definition that doesn’t tell the whole story. 


Here, we want to suggest a different definition: we will consider customer service automation as any type of measure, technology or Worfkorce Management (WFM) method designed to automate any part of the processes relative to customer service operations, not necessarily just the interactions between customers and representatives.


In this context, customer service automation can also be used to describe aspects like workflow automation, automated feedback gathering or customer satisfaction measuring, and many more things.


Customer service automation does not necessarily mean replacing human agents with virtual ones: it can actually be a way to relieve them of slow or menial processes to make their jobs easier and more rewarding
Customer service automation does not necessarily mean replacing human agents with virtual ones: it can actually be a way to relieve them of slow or menial processes to make their jobs easier and more rewarding


There are multiple ways you can automate your customer service processes without eliminating or even reducing your human resources. Of course, you can use customer service automation to replace your human agents; but that doesn’t mean you can’t also leverage it to make their job easier and their interactions more agile and seamless without forsaking the close, personal touch that is so important to the kind of problem-solving that constitutes the core and rationale of customer service.


What are the benefits of Customer Service Automation?

1. Reduced costs

The most obvious advantage to customer service automation, as well as the one that is often the most attractive for business owners and decision-makers, is cost reduction. As reported by Deloitte, intelligent automation (in other words, the use and orchestration of robotic process automation (RPA) and artificial intelligence technologies) has proven to cut business costs by 20-40% on average. 


There is no question that implementing technological solutions such as chatbots or canned responses will enable you to answer huge numbers of queries without the need to hire and train new employees. 


Especially in an industry like customer service, this represents a major benefit: one of the most common problems faced by contact centres in any area or field is agent burnout and turnover. A survey conducted by ICMI shows us that 87% of call centre agents report experiencing a moderate to high level of stress during their workday. A study by QATC showed that agent turnover ranges between 30-45%; so at best, companies see themselves losing, rehiring and training a third of their workforce regularly.


It’s not hard to tell why the promise of reducing costs associated with this high turnover incidence is so attractive to decision makers in the customer service industry. However, while the benefits of customer service automation in this aspect is undeniable, one must not underestimate the importance and ultimately, the irreplaceability of the human component in this field. More on this later.

2. Faster resolution times

Along with being cheaper than live agents, automated customer service solutions are often faster as well. Naturally, a chatbot can handle almost infinite interactions simultaneously, while there’s only so many free agents you can deploy at any given time. This translates into virtually no wait times and almost immediate resolution of customers’ problems.


Our award-winning Athena Chatbot is the paramount example of how far AI can go. It’s trained to give responses with unmatched levels of detail for any type of business. You can deploy it along any channel, from website to social media to WhatsApp, to initiate chats, answer common queries and ask questions to advance customer journeys.


3. 24/7 support

You never know when a customer can come up with a question about your product, so you should be able to give them the right answer anytime. However, enabling 24/7 shifts can be expensive; and if the alternative is reducing your customer service availability to business hours, this can be frustrating for your customers.


By incorporating automation into your customer service processes, you can effortlessly direct customers to assistance without the need for a human-led customer service function to be on call continuously. Maintaining an “always-on” availability is a must in today’s era of digitally-driven consumer experiences, but with automation you can do it without incurring significant extra costs on your bottom line.


4. Stronger customer feedback strategy

If you’re not aware of a problem, how are you going to fix it? Automating feedback gathering can provide you with new, unencountered insights into your customer service strategies’ strengths and weaknesses, on the type of issues your customers are running into most often, on new and unprecedented trends and patterns, and much more.


Take Connex One’s Assessment Centre’s features as an example: with Call Transcripts, you can keep a permanent record of what is being said in the conversations between your agents and customers; with Keyphrase and Entity Analysis, you can detect what words, phrases, products or prices are being mentioned and how often; Sentiment Analysis will read your callers’ emotions during calls by their tone of voice, recognising if your agents are coming short at some point of the interaction; and Athena AI can mark your interactions’ outcomes with custom Scorecards with any parameters you define.


Sentiment Analysis AI can be a useful Customer Service Automation feature. Here, a snippet of Connex One's Sentiment Analysis dashboard
Sentiment Analysis AI can be a useful Customer Service Automation feature. Here, a snippet of Connex One’s Sentiment Analysis dashboard


5. Aligns with today’s customer’s preferences

Today, 51% of consumers prefer to complete interactions through online channels rather than offline; they prefer, for example, using self-service options either on a computer or on their phone, or using a chat bot, and only 49% prefer options like talking to a live agent in person or on the phone. In this context, automating your customer service is not only a way to reach greater levels of efficiency; you’ll be giving plenty of customers exactly what they want.


This percentage will only grow larger as the Gen Z consumer base becomes more and more relevant and their communication habits and preferences become more prevalent.


Besides, 68% of customers declare that they’re satisfied with the speed at which chatbots normally address their queries; and today, 85% of customer service interactions are responded to by chatbots (SEMrush). It looks safe to say that automated customer service and self-service are steadily affirming themselves as the new standard in customer engagement, ceasing to be a “nice-to-have” to become a must.


6. Minimises human error

By implementing automated customer service processes and workflows, the likelihood of human error decreases, enabling customers to be promptly directed to the appropriate source of assistance. 


Instead of transferring customers between different team members, an initial workflow can be utilised to guide them through FAQs, a self-service centre, an interactive voice system, and finally, if necessary, to a human support team member. This approach filters out minor issues and diminishes the occurrence of human errors within your customer service team, making it an invaluable contribution to any Workforce Management Solution.


Flow, our workflow automation tool, empowers you to create comprehensive omnichannel customer journeys encompassing your customers’ preferred channels. You can establish rules to determine when and how interactions should transition to different destinations, filtering queries by any conditions you choose. You’ll be able to sort queries by topic, skill, or priority and direct them to specialised teams, agents, or even our Athena AI.


By automating this entire process, you can decrease wait times, improve workforce management, enhance interaction efficiency and, ultimately, elevate the overall experience for your customers.


How does customer service automation work? 5 customer service automation strategies

Earlier in this article, we have characterised customer service automation as any form of measurement or technological solution aimed at automating any aspect of customer service operations, including but not limited to the interactions between customers and representatives.


Obviously, this is quite wide as a definition. And the truth is that it fits the versatile and strongly heuristic nature of customer service automation: different businesses might choose to automate different parts of their customer service processes, and what works for one business might not always work for another. 


However, there are several customer service strategies that you can’t go wrong with. In this section, we’ll discuss 5 customer service strategies that have been reliably delivering results and becoming increasingly common and popular across industries.


1. Chatbots

According to a study by Userlike, 60% of people would rather chat with a real person than deal with a chatbot. Their main worry is that a chatbot might not fully understand their questions. 


However, SEMrush found that 85% of customer service interactions are actually handled by chatbots; and 68% of users say they love how quickly chatbots respond. So, what’s the key takeaway? 



Chatbots can be extremely helpful if used right, even if they can’t completely replace human support. The more advanced the AI behind a chatbot, the faster it can tackle basic queries compared to a human agent. So, the right chatbot can take care of those simple questions and free up your staff to focus on high-value interactions that require a human touch or specialised expertise.


Our Athena AI Chatbot is Athena AI to initiate chats, answer queries and ask questions to advance customer journeys with an unmatched level of sophistication and precision. Conversational Bot can answer intricate questions without losing the human touch. Handle large volumes of everyday queries and free up your teams for high-value interactions.


2. Workflow automation

In legacy contact centres, a significant proportion of agents’ time is spent on menial tasks such as searching for clients’ information or routing calls to the relevant departments. One study by IBM suggests that this type of tasks might take up to 75% of an agents’ day! 


Not only does this result in lengthy wait times that are annoying for customers and resource-draining for businesses; it also contributes to agent burnout, which in turn results in an elevated agent churn that, finally, also carries with it big disbursements of time and resources spent on replacing staff.


When you implement workflow automation, you can eliminate all those problems while also speeding up your processes and maximising your output. The right software tool can help you automate all the tasks that keep your agents from focusing on what’s important: servicing customers. Certain AI tools will help you to automate multiple types of tasks, from the sorting and routing of calls and interactions to information transfer from databases straight to agents’ screens.


Flow, our customer service automation tool, is designed by our expert team to make designing and deploying personalised customer journey maps easier than ever. 


Using an intuitive, code-free interface, you’ll be able to dictate each and every step in the customer journey, including any communication channel and linking each touchpoint however you want to match your business and customer’s needs. Flow also allows you to pair up with our sophisticated Athena AI to sort and direct queries by skill required, topic, or priority, with features like Keyphrase Analysis or Speech Recognition. You can also direct routine queries to our Chatbot so that your agents can focus on high-value interactions.


After you have designed your customer journey, all you’ll have to do is deploy it. All steps will be completely automated, exponentially reducing wait times and empowering your staff for unprecedented levels of efficiency. Here, we have explained in detail how Flow works and how exactly it can help your business.


An example of customer service automation using Flow to automatically route inbound interactions based on Live Chat responses
An example of customer service automation using Flow to automatically route inbound interactions based on Live Chat responses


3. Self-service knowledge base

Another way to agilise your customer service processes is to provide your customers with good self-service options. If you are able to answer their questions before they even need to reach out to you, this would be a tremendous relief for your customer service teams. But that’s not all.


It will also increase your customer satisfaction ratings. After all, let’s face it: no customer looks forward to having to call to solve a problem or question about a product they have bought or intend to buy.  A report by the Harvard Business Review revealed that 81% of customers stated they would prefer to solve an issue themselves before reaching out for help. Another study revealed that 40% of all customers who contact a call centre do so only after trying to self-serve. 


There are two stories here that this data tells us: the first is that self-service is the go-to option for a large volume of customers; the second is that, unfortunately, not enough businesses are offering efficient self-service options.


One of the best ways to offer customers the possibility of self-service is to build a knowledge base that is accessible, engaging, and helpful for your customers. These days, it’s easier than ever to set up a knowledge base. Tools like Help Centre from Connex One enable you to design your own customer self-service portal, with knowledge based articles, a personalised support ticketing system and training courses.


However, there are more things you can do. In this article, we have explored further how you can go about providing effective self-service options for your customers.


4. Canned responses

Using canned responses as a customer service automation strategy can also be a valuable tool for businesses seeking to automate their support operations. By creating pre-drafted messages for common customer inquiries or issues, companies can provide swift and consistent responses to customers while reducing the burden on support agents. 


Canned responses not only save time but also ensure accuracy and professionalism in customer interactions. With the ability to customise and personalise these canned responses, businesses can strike a balance between automation and personalization, delivering efficient service without sacrificing the human touch.


Connex One’s Omnichannel platform allows you to implement personalised canned responses to your customer service strategies, whether it’s adding it to your Flow automated workflows or including them in your agents’ toolbox so that they can handle multiple written interactions at the same time. 


5. Automated customer satisfaction surveys

Automated customer service can do much more than streamline and agilise your processes; it can also help you gain a better understanding of your customer service strategy as a whole, measuring your customers’ level of satisfaction and spotting weaknesses and strengths in your approach. 


Another useful way to leverage customer service automation strategies is to automate the deployment of customer satisfaction surveys. By automating this process, businesses can seamlessly gather feedback from their customers, enabling them to gain valuable insights into their service quality and identify areas for improvement. This approach not only saves time and resources but also allows for prompt analysis of the survey data, enabling you to make data-driven decisions and swiftly address any issues raised by customers. By automating the deployment of customer satisfaction surveys, businesses can proactively monitor and enhance their customer experience, fostering long-term loyalty and satisfaction.


With our workflow automation tool Flow, automated surveys can be triggered after specific customer interactions or at predefined intervals, ensuring that feedback is consistently collected without placing additional burden on agents. 


Using these 5 forms of customer service automation will help any business make its support operations more efficient, agile, and satisfactory, all the while relieving your agents of menial tasks and allowing them to focus on the interactions requiring a human touch.


However, now that you know about the best ways to go about automating customer service, it’s also important that you know what you should not do. In the next section, we’ll get into a few common mistakes businesses make when implementing customer service automation and how to avoid them.


Common Customer Service Automation Mistakes

Too complex

When trying to implement customer service automation, many businesses make this mistake: they automate most of their processes, but do so in a disjointed and siloed way. They temporarily achieve higher levels of speed in their processes, but these aren’t conducive to long-term efficiency. There is a reason for that.


Using separate tools or approaches to automate your customer service operations can easily make the map of your business’ inner workings too complex, with processes too self-contained and isolated; this can make it difficult to gain a comprehensive perspective of how your business deals with customers’ requests, of the customer journey, or of areas for improvement. 


Connex One’s platform allows you to enact all forms of customer service automation mentioned in the previous section all the while maintaining full visibility over all your processes. With our tool Flow, you’ll be able to benefit from a complete view of each step in your customer journey and customer service processes, automating each step to suit your customers’ needs. Flow will also allow you to easily and quickly readjust any of your process’ touchpoints thanks to an intuitive, code-free, drag-and-drop interface.


Underestimating the human touch

Thinking that everything can be automated is one of the biggest mistakes you can make when it comes to customer service automation. Customer service is, essentially, about human concerns and interactions: it’s all about helping and servicing the person who’s on the other side of the line, making them feel heard and cared for, and treating their problems on an individual and personalised level.



While it’s true that AI keeps advancing by leaps and bounds, with chatbots like Athena being especially qualified to deal with detail-rich and highly contextual interactions, every customer service department will from time to time face queries that are too complex for AI to handle. One of the most important parts of customer service automation is to establish the right conditions for distinguishing between everyday queries that can be solved by, for example, a chatbot or a self-service section, and those that demand human attention.


Flow, our automation tool, can do exactly that. It allows you to not only sort queries by topic, skill, or priority with the help of AI analysis features, but also to direct them to either our Athena chatbot in the case of everyday, routine interactions and escalate them to specialised teams or agents if necessary.


Not enough channels

Another common mistake made when implementing customer service automation is tunnel vision. While considering options for automation, some customer service decision-makers might feel tempted to believe that upping resolution speed in one or a few channels is the main and even only way to increase customer satisfaction levels and improve results. However, that couldn’t be farther from the truth.


Today’s customers have different preferences when it comes to the channel they want to use to solve their queries, and many prefer to use multiple channels over the course of the same interaction. A survey by Salesforce found that 75% of consumers expect a consistent experience across multiple engagement channels, and 73% declared that they would switch brands if they didn’t get it. 


Automating your processes won’t do much if you stay confined to one or a couple of channels. While it will increase the speed at which you manage your current interaction volumes, it won’t allow you to make the most of automation. Expanding your customer service across channels, combined with the agility and smoothness provided by automation, will really take your customer service to the next level and exponentially increase the amount of clients you can help on a daily basis.


Failing to embrace an Omnichannel, comprehensive perspective can be a mistake when trying to implement customer service automation
Failing to embrace an Omnichannel, comprehensive perspective can be a mistake when trying to implement customer service automation


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