How and Why To Automate Your Customer Support (Saving Time And Resources!)
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Many businesses are approaching their busiest time of the year. Customers are going to be demanding more from you during this season, and most likely, this is also when you're going to have the most agents coming down sick and needing to take time off.
Yes, this is a challenge. But it's also an opportunity. An opportunity to start exploring automation!
In this article, we're going to be looking at the benefits of customer support automation, as well as specific ways that you can start embracing automation in your workplace.
Why automate customer support?
Decreases response times
First and foremost, you can use automation to reduce response times. And anyone who has worked in customer support knows that short response times are the backbone of keeping customers satisfied. The faster you're processing tickets, the happier your customers will be.
Shorter response times are also good for your customer support agents. It allows them to process more work in a day without getting overwhelmed and exhausted. Simpler tickets will be cleared faster, allowing more time to be dedicated to more complex tickets.
Overall, this is a recipe for improving your customer support and keeping morale high among both your customers and agents.
Reduces low-priority tickets
Another benefit you can expect when you automate customer support is that you'll have fewer low-priority tickets. This is because the majority of low-priority tickets can be handed off to an automated solution.
For instance, just increasing the size of your knowledge base can get rid of a lot of low-priority tickets. Customers can find the information they're looking for in your knowledge base, preventing them from submitting a ticket (more on this later).
Additionally, a chatbot (more on this later too!) can help resolve simple issues for your customers. Again, this goes a long way toward reducing the overall number of tickets you have coming in, giving your agents more time to focus on other things.
Frees up your agents to work on more complex tickets
Whenever you automate customer support, you'll find that the majority of what you're automating is simple tasks. For your agents, these tasks are often menial and repetitive, making it hard for them to make an impact where it matters.
This is something that automation can help you change. You can give your agents more space to focus on complex tickets by passing off low-priority tasks to chatbots and FAQs.
These complex tickets are where you're more likely to make-or-break customer retention, and where your team can really make a positive impression on your customers.
For other tips on how to identify friction in agents workflow, check out our article on using Design Thinking to improve agents experience.
Lastly, you can use automated services and features to help your business cut costs. Maybe you'll find that, after removing the majority of your low-priority tickets, your customer retention is vastly improved.
This could in turn lead to fewer returns and refunds, which is money that goes right back to your business.
And by freeing up your agents to focus on complex, high-priority tickets, you can achieve a positive outcome from these tickets more often. Those positive outcomes can lead to repeat business, less money being poured into customer support, and a more streamlined workflow.
Ways to automate your customer support
1. Use a chatbot
According to Zendesk, customers prefer using a chatbot if doing so will save them time. And oftentimes, that's exactly what a chatbot is able to do.
A chatbot is a simple AI that you can set up to process basic customer service tickets. Things like resetting an account password, checking on the status of a package, and questions on restocking can all be handled relatively easily by a chatbot.
How to set up a chatbot
There are many ways to implement a chatbot but Zendesk offers the ability for businesses to design their own chatbot directly in the platform. When building your chatbot, there are a few best practices to keep in mind:
If you want to understand more about the the AI technology behind chatbots, check out this article.
2. Help customers to help themselves
We briefly mentioned the power of an on-site knowledge base earlier but let’s unpack that in a bit more detail now.
A knowledge base is essentially a library full of information about your products, services, and business. It can take the shape of an intranet or Wiki, video demos, or detailed written tutorials, as explained in this great ‘ultimate guide’ to knowledge bases here.
By providing easy-to-access resources for your customers, you can help customers to resolve queries on their own. This reduces the number of tickets your agents will receive regarding these issues, as we mentioned above.
An FAQ section and a blog are also great strands to add to your knowledge base, both for helping your customers to self-serve and to boost your company profile. By providing a help center full of actionable tips and pertinent information, your business is more likely to be recommended on search engines when customers are looking for help.
Regardless of the direction you choose when creating your knowledge base, using a data-driven approach will enable you to build the most efficient and optimized resource possible for your customers. By looking at how your current articles are performing, what your customers are searching for, and any trends, you are able to tailor your help center to best help your customers.
For more details on using a data-driven approach when building your help center, check out the previous article we have on the subject here.
How to optimize your help center
Check out our Swifteq Help Center Manager if you’re looking for a great way to streamline your help center building workflows. It's packed with features to help you improve and audit your help center quickly and effectively.
3. Auto-merge duplicate tickets
Dealing with duplicate tickets is a common problem that customer support teams face. This can happen whenever one person submits the same request twice, a bug in the system duplicates a request, or someone creates a new request to follow up on an old one.
These duplicate requests end up confusing your agents and clogging up their feeds, making it harder to keep track of and respond to tickets in a timely manner.
How to auto-merge tickets
You can start automatically merging duplicate tickets using our Swifteq Auto-Merge tool. Here at Swifteq we’ve also developed an Auto-Remove CC tool for removing CC'd users on Zendesk tickets. This is a fast way to make sure that you're only responding to the people you mean to respond to.
4. Automate agent workflow with custom apps
Processing and resolving tickets can be an incredibly time-consuming task for agents. There are a number of steps that have to be carried out when processing a ticket, including:
Downloading the invoice file and any attachments
Copy and pasting relevant data from the invoice into the ticket fields
Uploading the file to Google Drive
Responding to the customer
It is possible to automate some of these steps using a custom Zendesk app. This not only saves agents time when processing tickets but also ensures crucial steps are not missed.
However, building a custom app from scratch can be a difficult and costly process, particularly if you don’t have software development resources.
The Swifteq Triggers+ platform gives your support team the tools to build light automation add-ons with low code and low cost, allowing you to start automating your ticketing workflow quickly and easily.
How to auto-tag new attachments
The Swifteq Auto-Tag tool is designed to help you quickly sort between tickets with and without attachments, automating another aspect of agent workflow and ensuring that you never miss an important attachment.
Automate customer support with Swifteq
Getting ready to automate customer support? It doesn't have to be a challenge! Swifteq makes automation simple with a range of Zendesk-ready applications. Click here to learn more today.