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Written by
Katy Ratican
11 Oct 2021
4 minutes
Automated messages in customer service: find the best balance between humans and tech
Automation can help businesses save money and time but it shouldn't be devoid of the much-needed human touch
Pexels automated customer service messages

Small businesses and startups can gain a lot through automation. For example, automated messages can make life easier for business owners and entrepreneurs.

SMS text blasts are one of the most effective ways to engage with large groups of customers. If you know how to send the right SMS text, you’ll increase both customer acquisition and retention.

So, there are certain areas in your business that you should automate. But is automation the answer for everything?

What should you automate?

Repetitive tasks.

That’s what you should automate. Routine and repetitive tasks that take too much of your time. These could be in customer service, accounting, review business requests etc.

If your business handles numerous calls from customers related to their orders or delivery, you should automate that. If you need to send individual emails to clients about payment, those too should be automated because there are demonstrable advantages to it.

Advantages of customer service automation

Faster response

The primary reason chatbots have become popular is that they give speedy responses to customer queries. This is applicable for all the usual questions related to orders, dispatch, delivery or refunds.

Customers don’t have to wait for operators to get free or wait for the next business day to get their calls answered. Chatbots can provide faster response 24/7.

Reduces errors

When humans do repetitive tasks, errors are inevitable. An exhausted customer support executive could get the order number wrong or an intern in a hurry could send the wrong invoice to a client. That will make you look unprofessional.

But with automation, either the people manning the system or the chatbots would have access to the data. To know about an order or an invoice, all you’ve got to do is search on the dashboard.

Increases efficiency

Automation creates seamless workflows. Nobody has to physically send an SMS thanking the customer or informing them about the date and time of delivery. Automated messages will be able to do all that.

This enables you and your team members to focus on more revenue-generating tasks. At the end of the day, you would have done more “big picture” work than routine chores.

Lowers cost

When customer service gets automated, you don’t have to employ additional staff to answer queries. With SMS automation, you don’t have to hire an agency to take care of that. This also applies to other functions like accounting and social media scheduling.

That helps you reduce and avoid unnecessary staffing expenses. You’ll also be saving on office space and utility bills.

Disadvantages of customer service automation

Inability to solve complex problems

A chatbot doesn’t have the technical capability to understand complex problems. It also won’t be able to see the overall picture and place the issue in context. Since it can’t understand nuanced situations, customers will repeatedly run into a brick wall.

Lack of human touch

When a customer or client calls up with a problem, what they seek is empathy. That’s something automation can’t deliver. Devoid of emotions, the interaction will be factual, which will reduce customer engagement.

Unfriendly design

Some automation solutions can be difficult to navigate. Customers may find it difficult to understand the interactive voice response (IVR) and may have to repeat their query to the individual who will eventually receive the call. This can be frustrating for the caller.

How to make automation work in customer service

Whether it’s automated messages or IVR, small businesses should keep the following two points in mind when rolling out automation.

It should be easy

Some customers may have complicated queries or could be emotional about their issues. Your automation should make it easy for them in these instances to interact with a human who should have the context of the problem.

It should be seamless

Your customer service channel should seamlessly integrate automation with human interactions. When a customer service agent gets the call, they should have situational awareness about the problem. If the customer has to repeat their query once again and provide details, they would be irritated.

In short

Whether it’s automated messages or IVR, technology shouldn’t be used for technology’s sake. There should be a well-calibrated mix of both automation and human intervention, designed from the customer’s point of view. That’s what will improve customer experiences, increase loyalty and boost revenue.

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