Small businesses and startups can gain a lot through automation. For example, automated messages can make life easier for business owners and entrepreneurs.
So, there are certain areas in your business that you should automate. But is automation the answer for everything?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Whether it’s automated messages or IVR, small businesses should keep the following two points in mind when rolling out automation.
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.
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.
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.
Important but routine customer service interactions that you can automate to save time and energy as a small business owner
You may have missed the call but you won’t miss the business opportunity when you set up the right out-of-office message