5 Essential Automation Tools for Customer Service

March 29, 2019
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customer support tools

The quality of customer service is an excellent way to gauge the service and overall ethos of any business enterprise. If a business does not value its customers and try to understand what they are looking for, then they are unlikely to be profitable over the long-term. Moreover, simply having satisfied customers is not enough anymore. According to Ken Blanchard in his book Raving Fans, A Revolutionary Approach to Customer Service:

“Your customers are only satisfied because their expectations are so low and because no one else is doing better. Just having satisfied customers isn’t good enough anymore. If you really want a booming business, you have to create raving fans.”

Thankfully, there are ways to really enhance customer service that make the process more streamlined, accessible, quicker, and more affordable. There is a wide variety of customer service automation tools available, and businesses that learn to utilize them well will be the ones that succeed. Here are five interesting options for you:

Salesforce

Salesforce is the most well-known customer relationship management (CRM) platform in the world. They offer a huge variety of solutions for small businesses to large organizations.

They are an all-in-one comprehensive platform for customer management and lead acquisition, as well as providing a large variety of associated services. Need more? PieSync has a sync solution between Salesforce and over 160+ other cloud apps.

Since recently, they also have their very own artificial intelligence robots for customer service known as “Einstein Bots”.

For complex requests, the bots gather information for human representatives. “Einstein for Service” is integrated with the wider CRM platform for complete automation in terms of customer service. SalesForce is popular among large and enterprise level businesses. As the name suggests, it is used primarily for sales but comes with an excellent customer service platform.

Freshdesk

Freshdesk is one of the leaders in customer service automation software. It has won numerous awards over the last several years. Satisfied clients include Harvard University, DHL, and Pearson. Freshdesk primarily specializes in email and ticketing support which is the way resolutions are handled. It also offers much in the way of analytics and reports. To top it off, Freshdesk is more affordable when compared to other solutions. The platform provides labeled ticketing for easier assignment as well as a single panel for all agents to view outstanding customer support issues.

Zendesk

Zendesk is an excellent tool to enhance the relationship between the company and the customer. Its automated customer service services are specifically designed to make it easier to ensure customer satisfaction. The intuitive interface is built with customer service agents in mind and it really helps to make the process a breeze.

The Zendesk solution is perfect for businesses of all sizes and is designed to be flexible enough for anything you need it for. It has tonnes of widgets, apps, and integrations. You can also use Zendesk support for enhanced customer insights and advanced analytics from reports and dashboards. Like Freshdesk, it specializes in email and ticketing support. Zendesk also offers companies many branding and customization opportunities.

Zoho Desk

Zoho Desk describes itself as “the industry’s first context-aware help desk software that helps businesses focus on the customer”. It is different from many of the other customer service platforms with its focus on enhancing customer service agent efficiency and emphasis on context-specific solutions.

It provides a way to investigate bottlenecks and become more efficient over time, as well as providing a self-knowledge base for customers so agents are not as busy. Zohodesk also offers a built-in call functionality along with the email ticketing system. Customers can also submit their issues on popular social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, providing an ultra friendly approach to customer service management.

Intercom

Intercom is a cutting edge messaging platform that allows businesses to communicate easily with prospects and existing customers within their app, on their website, through social media, or via email. Intercom’s platform lets businesses track and filter customer data. This data includes conversation history, product usage behavior, past purchases, payment details, etc.

Businesses can use all types of attributes to trigger personalized, automated marketing emails and highly targeted in-app messages.

On top of their amazing software, Intercom has a responsive customer support team that will offer tailored help for your team, in a professional and kind way. The combination of their software with their customer support allows you to offer top notch customer service while maintaining an organized system on the back end that would only be a headache anywhere else. It really takes the idea of customer support to the next level, nearly every function it has makes the job easier, which results in happier customers for your company.

Other Automation Technologies

There are many more kinds of customer service automation tools that will enhance the customer experience. The future of effective customer service lies in utilizing technology to assist customers across a wide variety of channels. These include:

  • Chatbots/Virtual Assistants - The standard AI response agents that responds with generic queries for problems. Making them smarter is often very expensive for companies, which is why many of the existing bots are not leaving a good impression with customers.
  • Agent Facing Chatbots - These are much the same as standard chatbots but aimed at supporting the live agents with templates, manuals, and routing capabilities.
  • Conversational Commerce Chatbots - Like Amazon Echo or Hipmunk on Skype, Slack, and Facebook Messenger. Upload a photo or state a voice query and the commerce bot will give you results.
  • Sentiment Analysis AI - Parses through a large variety of customer information (social media, emails, text, voice searches etc) to gain an overall picture of the sentiment towards a certain brand or service.
  • Automated Routing - This is where automation can really excel. The automation can tell the intent of a query (refund, malfunctioning product, updating delivery address etc) much quicker than a human and route according to the appropriate channel. Ever been put on hold for 20 minutes on the telephone while you are connected to a different department? Automated routing machines can help.
  • Emotion AI - Machines trained to detect human emotions based on body language, speech patterns, facial expressions, and text syntax. Can be used by physical retailers at shops such as the Shelfpoint solution.
  • Recommender Systems - The use of algorithms for personalized customer solutions and recommendations. Automation tools and artificial intelligence can assist in making the shopping experience more personalized, thoroughly enhancing the customer experience.
  • Facial Recognition for Automated Payment - Alipay and KFC have already teamed up to provide software that allows customers to pay their bill just by smiling. The software is able to remember returning customers.
  • Preventing False Declines - US E-commerce retailers lost $8.6 billion in 2016 due to declines in genuine purchases. This is $2 Billion more than the fraud that the solution was designed to prevent. Automation tools can help with this by offering secure and efficient payment transactions.

Get an Automation Tool Immediately

If you do not have an automation solution in place, then it is highly recommended to get one as soon as possible. Once you have one on board, you can observe how limited your previous methods really were. There are free trials available with most of the best automation tools on the market.

They are far more than a simple email ticketing platform. Customer service automation tools are a means to optimize satisfaction levels among customers and monitor trends and patterns with specialized analytical tools. You will learn more from a genuine analysis of customer complaints and trying to solve these issues than any other strategy. Companies are built on satisfied customers.

Considering that a 5% increase in customer retention can lead to a 95% increase in profit, a superb customer service experience is a requirement. You cannot afford to lose customers with a poor resolution process. Only companies with the best automation software are going to provide the best customer service and be profitable in the long-term, especially as AI and advanced technologies continue to proliferate.

About Joe Flanagan

Joe Flanagan is the Senior Consultant at VelvetJobs, an employer branding and outplacement services provider. His expertise include recruitment, development of long term brand strategies and business development techniques for startups to established enterprises.