Complete Guide to Customer Service Automation
In business, AI isn’t going to replace humans. Humans who use AI will replace humans who don’t.
Perhaps you’ve seen this warning on LinkedIn and Twitter. ChatGPT’s popularity boom reminded businesses that AI isn’t going anywhere, it’s just improving.
Industries such as energy and automotive are feeling the need to adapt their digital customer service. Chatbots help, but the rule-based solutions that dominate websites today don’t completely live up to the expectations of businesses and customers.
Providers, such as Userlike, now offer AI automation for your customer service without the need for external software or plugins. Better yet, it’s a ready-to-use system that grows more intelligent the more conversations it has.
- What is customer service automation?
- Advantages of automation in support
- Disadvantages of automation in support
- 7 customer service automation features
- How much does customer service automation cost?
- Learn more about our AI Automation Hub
What is customer service automation?
Customer service automation is a support process that reduces the need for human help in solving customer inquiries.
When you think about support automation, chatbots often first come to mind, but there is so much more that AI can optimize. It now improves your FAQ pages, contact forms, feedback gathering and more.
Of course, there are pros and cons to using automation as a customer-facing solution. This is normal for any rising change in new processes, and something even live chat and voice assistants had to overcome to be accepted.
Advantages of automation in support
- Low costs/high ROI. The monthly rate for AI automation is significantly less than hiring more agents. For example, one month’s salary for about two agents would cover a Userlike Corporate plan and AI Automation Hub add-on for a year.
- Personalized proactive messaging. With a proactive chatbot, you can recreate that in-store shopping experience. It assists customers at crucial moments in their buyer journey, like during checkout or on the pricing page.
- Omnichannel capabilities. An AI chatbot provides customers with a buying and support experience across all channels. You can simultaneously reach customers on your website and in messaging apps, and with different approaches. For example, navigational buttons are great in website chat, while a catalog is great to share in WhatsApp.
- Improves itself over time. Self-learning AI improves the quality of its answers from the conversations it has. Whether a customer reaches out to your chatbot or types a request in your FAQ page, it will learn which answers are most appropriate and help grow your knowledge base.
- Increases efficiency. Smart routing lets you automatically connect customers with the best agent for their inquiry. You can divide your team by skills, such as languages or departments. This saves your agents from having to address every question that comes their way, especially if there are team members more qualified to help.
Not to say customer service automation is a replacement for agents, but rather a cost-effective solution for reducing their workload so they can focus on interesting leads.
For indecisive customers, it can help make product suggestions by asking a few questions about what they’re looking for, which tailors the experience. And just like at a checkout counter, you can ask the customer for their contact info for follow-up, or to reach out again with your newsletter.
Disadvantages of automation in support
- Customers need a human, not automation. Sensitive inquiries might fall into the wrong artificial hands. Customers may see automation as a negative boundary between them and your business. On your support page, it’s best to give customers different options for reaching out so they can choose the appropriate channel and contact for themselves.
- Inconsistent with your service quality. Automation may not suit your industry if customers have specific expectations. For example, auto translations are not always 100% accurate, chatbots may run into dead ends and your FAQ can’t quite possibly cover everything.
- Less personal touch. Empathy is easy to pretend in text, but it can only go so far. A customer may need more from you than an “I’m sorry to hear that.” Chatbots can’t bend the rules, and a FAQ page generally covers the basics. This is why using automation in combination with live chat is so important — a human is a click away.
- Overwhelming for the user. Chatbots greet customers and share buttons and prompts they can use in the chat, but sometimes these come at rapid fire the second you open a website.
Make sure to keep frustrations to a minimum by offering the option to seamlessly transition from automated to human support.
The best practice is to send fewer, shorter messages that take reading speed into account. Time popups for lead magnets to appear at certain points on the page, not the second it loads. And for text predictions, use it in fields where it makes sense, like your FAQ and contact form.
7 customer service automation features
- Self-learning AI chatbot
- Smart FAQ pages
- Responsive contact forms
- Live translations
- Smart routing
- Auto replies
- Email workflows
Self-learning AI chatbot
Use an intelligent chatbot as your first line of support. Ask lead-qualifying questions, gather account details and build customer profiles to distill interesting leads for your sales team.
In-chat links and rich text media help your chatbot create interactive responses. This helps cut down on how often it needs to forward the conversation to an agent.
Its conversational fluidity also makes it more pleasant to speak to. Chats feel like actual chats, not just a glorified FAQ. Unlike rule-based solutions that follow a rigid script and decision tree structure, an AI chatbot is self-learning and can understand context and intent.
A consistently accurate AI bot that’s pleasant to use may boost your engagement rate and customers’ perception of your brand.
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Smart FAQ pages
Customers don’t always know how to put their problems into words. They just know something isn’t working as it should. An intelligent, responsive FAQ page will help you meet them halfway.
It auto-predicts a user's question as they’re typing it, pulling information from your central knowledge base to present the most accurate answers. Similar to chatbot conversations, these suggestions improve over time as the AI learns from your customers.
And if customers can’t quite think of how to ask their question, you can use categories to help them narrow down their search and display popular search terms at the top of the list.
By helping your customers help themselves, they grow their expertise with your product. This further embeds them as a customer and reduces repetitive questions and tickets for your team.
Responsive contact forms
Sometimes customers reach out to your agents without realizing the answer to their question is already on your website.
An AI contact form can attempt to answer the customer’s question before they even hit “send.” This is a helpful feature for customers who are likely to bypass using a chatbot, ignore a FAQ page and go straight for contacting your team through email.
Agents will have fewer repetitive tickets in their inbox if you stop the question in its tracks.
If your business has a global reach or you would like to expand your customer base, it’s important to offer support in other languages.
According to Statista, English is used by 25% of people on the internet, which leaves 75% of potential languages still left to target.
A live translation tool, like Userlike's, lets you localize your chat widget to the user’s target language. If a customer writes to your agent in a foreign language, it only takes one button click to activate live translations.
The customer’s messages, as well as your agent’s response, are automatically translated in the chat using AI.
Reaching customers in their target language will give your business a competitive advantage. Your site visitors are less likely to leave if they can browse and chat in their preferred language, and will have a better understanding of your products and services.
You’ll also improve your international SEO ranking and overall brand image.
Do you have agents who specialize in certain topics or target groups? Instead of making your customers wait in a phone queue to be forwarded, you can ensure they reach the right agent from the get-go.
With smart routing, you can tailor your live chat settings according to the page your customers contact you on, their country, browser language and more.
You can create skills relevant to your business and then assign them to your agents, which work like tags. For example, the languages team members comfortably speak and routers to your sales or support team.
This will also help your team prioritize chats, reduce burnout and ensure quality in every conversation. Your agents can stick to their strengths and not have to take on every topic thrown their way.
While chatbots and FAQ pages do a great job of tackling common questions, some will still trickle down to your agents.
This is where canned replies come in handy. Instead of typing the same response every time, you can create pre-written replies that agents can automatically use in a chat.
With Userlike, you can even create canned responses for several languages. If a customer contacts you in German and you select a template, it will automatically use the correct translation in the chat.
Canned responses lead to quicker resolutions. Plus the information your agents share will always be accurate and consistent.
Many customers still prefer the flexibility of email. They can read and respond to inquiries at their pace, and you can generally cover all questions in one message.
With email automation, you can use pre-written responses and create targeted campaigns. For example, a welcome flow that automatically sends to the new leads your chatbot collects.
Too often businesses send emails “when they feel like it” and ultimately end up neglecting their mailing list. Creating segmented email flows will help you put relationship building and selling on autopilot.
If you’re a SaaS company, try starting with your welcome and trial phase email flows. For retail, make sure you have a cart abandonment flow to get customers back on your website.
For more help with email, read our post, “9 email lead generation strategies that hook customers.”
How much does customer service automation cost?
Adding automation to your support flow is cheaper (and smarter) than pushing repetitive work on new agents, but which provider should you choose?
We compared the top customer support providers for you.
Userlike is the leading provider of live chat, customer messaging and service automation in Germany. Besides a central inbox for all your messaging channels and a modern website messenger, our all-in-one-software provides an advanced service automation platform.
Our AI Automation Hub comes with three modules: an AI chatbot, Smart FAQ and Contact Form Suggestions.
Each module is connected to a central knowledge base, which you can power with your existing business data.
The AI chatbot and Smart FAQ learn from every customer interaction, improving your knowledge base over time. Answers stay consistent, and your team will avoid answering the same questions over and over. The bot works alongside your agents in Userlike’s Message Center to help them answer inquiries from live chat, WhatsApp and other channels.
The Contact Form Suggestions module attempts to answer the customer’s question before they even hit “send.” This will also help cut down on tickets to your team and give customers fast answers.
- AI chatbot
- Smart FAQ
- Contact Form Suggestions
- Smart routing
- Canned responses
- Live translations
- WhatsApp newsletter (coming soon)
Monthly price: €490 for 10 users (includes Corporate plan and AI Hub add-on)
MoinAI is a chatbot platform that offers features to help you automate your sales and support processes.
They provide conversation flow templates for important use cases so your business doesn’t need to start from scratch when creating a sales chatbot, for example.
It also understands 98 languages, which means your business can speak to almost any customer in their native language.
To use agents as a fallback option, you need to connect moinAI to an external live chat provider, like Userlike. Then the chatbot can easily hand over complex questions to an agent for follow-up.
- AI chatbot
- Live translations
- Chat handover via integration
Monthly price: €790 with unlimited chats for one account and chatbot
Parloa’s chatbot software offers an intuitive chatbot builder for easily creating conversation flows.
The visual chatbot builder allows you to create unique chat conversation flows with drag and drop. Like with Userlike and MoinAI, customers can type freely to the chatbot without using buttons or keywords.
Like MoinAI, you need to connect Parloa to external live chat software in order to hand over complex questions to an agent. Parloa can also be used to design and develop dialogue for voice assistants, such as Amazon Alexa Skills and Google Assistant Actions.
- AI chatbot
- Live translations
- Chat handover via integration
- Voice assistant dialogue builder
Monthly price: Price upon request
Learn more about our AI Automation Hub
Are you interested in learning more about our powerful, self-learning conversational AI? Let’s talk! Our team is available via the chat on our website, or you can reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you’re still on the hunt for an all-in-one live chat and messaging provider, take our product for a test drive by signing up for a free trial. Don’t worry, we don’t need a credit card. We want to make sure you like us first.