Customer Service Automation: How Far is Too Far?

Customer service automation

Customer service automation isn’t your average trend – quickly and surely, the use of automation tools are changing the way customer support teams and companies operate, communicate, and learn about customers over time. Specialized support software that allows organizations to build custom chatbots, launch interactive knowledge bases, trigger segmented emails, and many more automated services, have become as widely used around the world in order to improve customer service and experience.

A recent article from Harvard Business Review dives into the areas of customer service that are paving the way for future automation innovations, as well as ones that should remain untouched by automation. As some of their most innovative examples of automation in customer service today:

Various Silicon Valley startups have deployed robots that make pizzas, craft salads, and assemble artistic bistro sandwiches. In Boston, a robot works with labor nurses to schedule baby deliveries. Waiterless restaurants in China permit customers to order and pay through the WeChat app and feature robot servers that dispatch trays of food to the appropriate tables. In Japan, a robot named “Pepper,” that was conceived in part as a companion for the elderly, has honed its skills in a variety of service roles, ranging from retail assistant, to waiter, to Buddhist priest.

While these benefits are well-known and can be attributed to many improvements in customer satisfaction, experience, and personalization, there is always a point at which automation simply cannot do what a person can. The real question is: how much automation in your customer service strategy is too much? The experts at HBR have recognized in their article that:

For starters, the economics of service automation aren’t universally rosy. When a nationwide retail bank introduced online banking, customers who adopted it increased their total transaction volume and began visiting and calling the bank more, increasing costs and decreasing overall profitability. Similar dynamics can be observed in health care. Patients who adopted e-visits, for example, actually began showing up at the doctor’s office twice as often. One explanation for this pattern is that current technology is functionally limited, requiring people to seek out in-person help in addition to using automated services. But as innovation progresses, functional limitations are bound to fall by the wayside.

So, what is a company to do? First, it’s important to pay attention to the areas of successful innovation that customer service automation provides.

1. Automating transactional interactions, while facilitating human connections.

2. Supporting employees without getting in their way.

3. Enhancing customer and employee engagement.

4. Engaging customers in ways that won’t make human service providers cringe.

Read the full article on Harvard Business Review here

 

Customer service automation – while highly advanced – can only grow and evolve into more useful ways. At Zingtree, we’re looking forward to continuing to provide a versatile platform that allows companies to automate customer service, support, and the overall experience even further, without sacrificing personalization or ease-of-use.

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