Most businesses rely on customer support to keep operations running smoothly. But, providing quality support can be time-consuming and expensive, especially when you have customers located around the world. Luckily, there are ways to automate and globalize your customer support operation, saving you both time and money.
In this blog post, we’ll explore how to do just that using automation tools and technology.
Understanding customer support automation
As the name suggests, automated customer support refers to automating either parts of or the entire support process. In other words, it helps get customers to your support teams quicker or, in most cases, enables them to resolve issues independently.
Businesses can automate support in various ways, such as using technology or providing self-service resources.
Ultimately, the main goal of automating global customer support is to improve efficiency, productivity, and customer satisfaction by minimizing employee involvement where possible. This way, employees have more time to focus on complex tasks that require more detailed attention.
The pros and cons of automated support
Automation enables businesses to scale their services and meet the ever-growing demand for accessible customer support. But, it is not a foolproof solution. So before you implement automation in your global support processes, let’s review the pros and cons.
– Increase availability and accessibility by offering 24/7 support to customers worldwide
– Minimize human-made mistakes caused by handling repetitive, mundane tasks
– Streamline the support process by offering self-service options and reducing average call handling and wait times.
– Increase cost savings by downscaling manual labor and limiting human errors
– Free up employee time and workload, allowing them to focus on priority tasks
– Minimal human connection and personal touch, making it easier for customers to switch providers or services
– Inability to resolve complicated issues
– Too much automation may negatively affect customer experience as it can’t empathize or de-escalate situations
– Involves modern technology integrations in most setups which some businesses may not be able to support due to a lack of resources
Getting started: Factors to consider
When getting started with automation plans and strategies, it’s important to first understand your customer support needs. This helps you narrow your search so you can efficiently identify an automation solution or tool that will make the biggest impact on your customer support.
To help you identify where to integrate automation in your support workflow, ask yourself the following questions:
- What are your most used communication channels? Are customers mainly calling or contacting you online?
- What are your automation goals? Or what are you trying to solve using automation? (i.e., reduce handling time, decrease hold times, save money on labor costs, etc.)
- What tasks do your reps spend the most time on?
- What questions and pain points do customers repeatedly bring up, and how can you help them solve these issues on their own?
How to automate global customer support
Once you’ve determined your needs, start looking for an automation tool or strategy that works for you and your support teams. Let’s discuss some examples of how businesses can automate their global customer support efforts.
Configure routing strategies
Intelligent call routing directs inbound calls to predetermined destinations based on how you set it up. In other words, this tech automatically routes calls to alternate locations, departments, or employees with no receptionist or operator needed. As such, this cloud feature helps you handle fluctuating call volumes, after-hours support requests, and international callers.
Let’s look at specific call routing strategies that help businesses automate global customer support:
- Location-based / Geo-routing – connects callers to representatives in the closest time zone and region based on incoming caller ID and country code.
- Time-based – routes callers to a certain destination based on the time of day. Use this routing strategy to set up a follow-the-sun model for 24/7 support services.
- Skills-based – assigns calls to employees with the proper skills for handling customer concerns.
- Least occupied – sends calls to representatives who answered the least amount of calls that day.
- Round robin – distributes calls evenly across different employees by chronologically sending calls down a predetermined list.
- Simultaneous ringing – forwards and rings calls on all your designated devices and lines.
- Find me Follow me – directs calls to down a predetermined list of backup locations, numbers, and devices ringing them all at once or sequentially.
With these strategies configured, you can automate your call intake and distribution process. These methods also help you reduce missed calls, distribute workloads equally, appeal to customer preferences, and improve caller experience. So it’s a win-win for support teams and callers!
Implement chatbot automation
A chatbot is a software application that uses AI algorithms and natural-language processors to simulate conversations with human users online. Chatbots can connect with customers on a one-to-one basis without needing any human intervention – making them an ideal automation tool. Additionally, they can answer simple questions and perform routine tasks like checking order statuses.
Many businesses turned to chatbots as a way of automating global customer support. This is due to not only the capabilities mentioned above, but also the fact that they provide immediate support regardless of the user’s time or location. And there are no limits on how many questions customers can ask the chatbot.
Chatbots enable companies to provide personalized support at scale without having to hire a team of employees or pay them overtime when there’s an increase in demand during peak hours.
Anyone with basic knowledge of programming languages, such as Python, can set up a chatbot. For those without that specific skill set, free tools like Hubspot Chatbot Builder are available to help you create your own chatbot within minutes. Or, you can simply sign up for a chatbot software service such as Intercom.
Set up an IVR
Interactive Voice Response (IVR) is an automated telephony system that helps businesses manage incoming calls effectively. Many companies use cloud-based IVR software to automatically answer calls, greet callers, and route calls to the correct department through menu options and touch-tone selections.
Additionally, IVRs are typically customizable and can support self-service capabilities. This allows callers to complete simple tasks such as checking an account balance or accessing information like company hours, all without the help of an agent.
On top of that, automating your global support processes using an IVR can drastically reduce handling times and the costs of handling those calls with live reps. In an IVR study, one North American company’s IVR fulfilled 50% of their yearly total call volume – saving them around $100 million annually.
Helpdesk ticketing systems
A helpdesk ticketing system is a software that works to streamline customer communication and support processes by helping teams respond more efficiently. When customers have an issue or inquiry, they will submit a case using your business’ helpdesk ticketing system. Then, the application creates a record of the case and notifies a representative.
Helpdesk ticketing systems allow users to categorize, prioritize, and assign cases to reps based on keywords in the ticket. This means you can automate workload distribution by assigning each support ticket to the employee best equipped to handle the request.
Some ticketing systems include automated safeguards that alert team members when an open ticket conversation goes silent. And others allow you to automate the resolution process by sending premade responses and performing bulk actions.
Scale with automated global support strategies
While this modern technology helps cut costs and streamline customer service, its popularity also increases consumer expectations year after year. So, try taking a proactive approach to global support automation. After all, by automating existing support processes, companies can devote that time and people-power to higher-value tasks and scale their efforts further than ever before.
(Image Credit: NASA/Unsplash)