The Definitive Guide To Automated Customer Service Tools: What They Are, How To Use Them, and Recommendations
Recent studies show that 91% of consumers have had bad customer service. As technology continues to develop, it's becoming more challenging to grab the attention of customers and stand out from the crowd. But, there are several customer service software platforms that can help bridge the gap between brands and consumers.
When training a new customer support team, it's important that you make the most of technology. This means using automated customer service tools to boost performance. Plus, you can also use these tools in an existing customer service team to improve processes.
To help you get started, here is what we'll cover in this article:
- The Technological Transformation of Customer Service
- What Are Automated Customer Service Tools?
- Automated Customer Service Tool Recommendations
- Tips for Using Customer Service Tools at Work
- The Future of Automated Tools
After reading this guide, you'll know exactly how automated customer service tools work and how to apply them in the workplace.
The Technological Transformation of Customer Service
One of the most apparent changes in customer service when it comes to technology is using KPIs. The term KPI stands for a key performance indicator. This tracker allows businesses to monitor their results and make positive changes. Whether you're a small business or a larger corporation, you can use KPIs to increase sales.
But KPIs are also great for tracking customer expectations and ensuring you have a good brand reputation.
It's important to note the difference between KPIs and metrics, as the data found with metrics can work for KPI strategies.
Customers Have More Agency
Another way that technology has changed customer service is that users online can share reviews of a company. In most cases, this is a great way for brands to gain more followers and connect with new customers. But social media is also dangerous for brands if they have poor customer service.
That's why it's important that you answer customer support requests in a timely manner on social media. And you should ensure that your communication channels run smoothly on calls too.
Therefore, one of the key areas that businesses are focusing on in their marketing plans is social media. You want to make the most of these channels to spread good reviews and build a loyal community.
Better Tools for Customer Service Tools
In the past, customer service teams had limited access to personal data. They also didn't have online platforms that allowed you to get to know your users. Now, technology gives people better opportunities for building customer profiles. So you can track target demographics and sale numbers.
Technology provides better insights into customers, so you can go beyond telephone calls and emails when answering client requests.
Not only does data enable you to track past behavior, but customer service software also gives you information so you can make predictions for future consumer habits. And, you can identify potential problems before they get worse and you pile up customer complaints.
Customer Service on Several Platforms
Customers have more options for communicating with businesses than ever before. If they can't get through to a phone system, they can try social media or email. Instead of having to wait for several days to hear back from a customer support team, a user can try several platforms at once.
This puts more pressure on a customer service team, which means you need to have the latest automated customer service tools. That way, you can keep up with your competitors and give your customers the best experience possible.
What Are Automated Customer Service Tools?
First of all, automated customer service tools are a type of technology that minimizes the need for human involvement in small tasks. For instance, automated software can help reduce work time on simple jobs like sending emails and organizing user information.
The goal of automated customer service tools is to help reduce the time spent on tedious tasks. So, customer service workers have more time to focus on other jobs.
Businesses can save money when using automated customer service tools and help improve relationships with their target demographic.
Good Features of Automated Customer Service Tools
When you're deciding between automated customer service tools, you need to consider a few things. For example, the overall UI must be sleek and easy to use. You need to keep in mind that you'll be using this software in teams of employees, so it needs to be simple to learn.
You'll have to consider the navigation of the design for the user. To help you make a decision, some of the standout features of UI are the concise layout of information and clever placement of images. You don't want to fill the design with too much information, as this can make it hard to work with when you're handling several jobs.
The second feature to think about when looking for automated customer service tools is if they are easy to use for various people. You need to ensure that the software comes with reliable technical support. So, if you run into any problems, the provider will be there to fix the issues.
For small businesses, it's essential to have a secure type of software that will benefit your company and not slow you down. When you're beginning to attract your first clients, it's vital that you have fast, effective tools that set a good impression.
Otherwise, you'll end up building a negative reputation which will affect the future of your brand.
Integration Process and Cost
Depending on your current systems, the integration aspect of automation tools will be important when using new software. You want to ensure that your other apps, like social media and email, are easy to implement with the software.
Before making a purchase, you can double-check with the provider that the software supports other apps and platforms. That way, you'll avoid making a bad investment and wasting money on a tool that doesn't work for your company. Ideally, you can find tutorials and guides to walk you through the integration process.
It's also good to consider the cost and uptake of the software. You should ask yourself if there are future costs of the software and if you'll need to upgrade to a new plan when you land new clients. Sometimes, providers will offer you a free trial to see how you find the software.
If it's possible, it's good to try out an automation customer service program so you can visualize how it will run in your company. You can look at the UI, usability, and if it's worth the money. When you use a professional provider, they will be happy to test the product if you want to access a free demo.
And you can use the trial as a good opportunity to ask about upfront costs.
Common Customer Service Tools
Automated customer service tools are just developments of common customer service programs. But they are also suitable for more demanding tasks and higher volumes of requests. So, what are the popular customer service tools?
One popular customer service tool is ticketing systems.
Ticket systems are great for many small businesses that need to handle clients and want an organized strategy. It's important to have a ticket system so you can refer back to previous purchases and messages with consumers. Usually, ticket systems can also be shared between teams.
The information on tickets can also be put into a knowledge base.
Another common tool for giving customer feedback is to create an information base. You can create an information base as a type of document or use a platform that allows you to document common problems and solutions. But it's also good for teaching new employees and provides a base for workers to refer back to when they are at work.
Most of the time, people don't have time to check in with a supervisor when they are trying to answer a customer request. So, if you have an online information base, it makes it easier for people to look for solutions in the moment. That way, customers don't have to be kept waiting, and employees feel more confident in their work.
Community Pages and Platforms
Even though data is great for understanding customer needs and solving problems, it's not the only way to connect with your target demographic. Community pages and platforms are a direct way of contacting users and receiving feedback. It also helps build a strong connection with your customers if you can chat on social media or in a community forum.
But community forums are also good ways for users to connect and answer questions about the brand. If a customer is looking for a quick answer, a community platform is great for providing solutions if a customer service team is busy. This limits the time pressure on customer service employees and ensures users get everything they need.
Plus, customer service agents can be in forums to find out about recent issues so they can report back to management and raise awareness of problems quickly.
Your customer service software should also include incident reporting that occurs in real-time. For recording problems, automation tools have improved these processes so you can provide a better experience to your customers. It's vital that you have a feature that allows multiple employees to check incident reports.
Of course, you can also mention recurring problems during work meetings, so everyone is aware of weaknesses and how to fix them.
Video and Presenting Tools
Recent trends in video media like TikTok mean that customers are looking for more video content. But it's not only consumers that are reacting to videos; employees also like to learn new techniques from videos. So, you want to have a video hosting option on your company system.
If you don't want to fill up all your storage with video, you can use platforms like YouTube or other software to upload and create video media. This is also a good way to engage with consumers and tell them more about your business. So, if people prefer to watch a video instead of reading a website, they have the choice online.
During company meetings and monthly presentations in your customer service team, you need to have a reliable presentation tool. You'll also have to consider the video element for giving meetings, as some people will want to attend online. Therefore, you want a video presenting tool that allows you to make videos, record them, and share them with multiple users.
Bug and Error Features
The last feature that you need for customer service tools is bug and error tracking. Unless all your employees have a coding background, you will require a strong IT team. But, automated tools can take on the task of monitoring bugs and fixing them.
Regardless, you can't have a strong customer service team without a robust bug-detecting feature. If it takes too long to find a bug in the system, it will impact your brand and could lose you money. You'll want to use a program that is easy to understand so employees can use it in their daily lives.
Here are some ways to identify bugs in customer service software:
- Track bugs with customer tickets
- Monitor bugs with the volume of tickets
You can either track bugs with individual customers or record them based on the volume of tickets. For instance, some bugs might only affect individual users, and others will be wide issues between several tickets. Therefore, you need a secure platform that you can trust to identify errors.
Some of the most common tools that customer service teams implement are Zendesk, LiveAgent, KnowledgeOwl, Zoom, and Google Workspace.
Automated Customer Service Tool Recommendations
Now that we've covered the basic customer service tools, it's good to know about the automated customer service tools available on the market. Although common tools like Zendesk and Zoom, automated tools take your business methods to a new level.
Every business will need something different, which is why you need to more about each automated tool before making a final decision.
So, let's start with an inbox feature.
Shared Inbox Tools
Emailing is one of the oldest methods of communicating in business, which is why many brands rely on this as their primary source of contact with customers. But writing and sending emails can take hours of your time...
So, you don't want your employees to be on their inboxes all day. Automated tools like shared inboxes are excellent for providing quick responses and carrying out email campaigns.
To make it easier for workers, you can share email spaces between teams so everyone can have access to customer queries. Compared to other email options like Google, an automated email tool allows you to customize different elements of the interface. Plus, you can also create a section for drafts so you can write emails in advance.
A shared email software also provides you with the option to divide tasks in order of importance. You can also highlight important dates for sending messages and a checklist so you can keep on top of replies.
Another feature of shared inboxes is that you can write individual notes to other colleagues or write template messages for specific requests. For instance, you can create an automated email for opening hours and contact detail information. That way, your employees don't need to spend hours writing the same thing over and over again.
Live Chat Software
Have you ever clicked on a website and had a chat box pop up? This is an example of a live chat feature that is great for communicating with customers online. You can use chat boxes to help users navigate your website. Or, you can set up an automatic response and direct a user to the right information or agent on this feature.
The best thing about live chat software is that it makes your customer service available to users 24/7. Even though some people prefer to send a traditional email, younger generations or busy professionals would rather talk to an agent on a chat box. This is a quick and versatile option for a range of customers.
You can access a live chat box on your mobile phone, desktop, or tablet. So, it makes it possible to get in contact with a business from anywhere.
While your live chat software is talking with your users, the automated feature is tracking the data and compiling reports. This information is perfect for keeping up-to-date with recent customer questions and rating customer satisfaction across channels. You can combine the chat feature with automated emails and ask customers for feedback after visiting your website.
Small businesses thrive off the close customer relationships they develop with their community, so having an effective chat feature will speed up your interactions and improve your reviews. Customers are more likely to praise your brand for being quick to respond on their social media and attract new users to your page.
Email Campaigns and Tasks
Shared inboxes are one way that emails have been automated, but it's also possible to use automation for campaigns and other email tasks. Running an email campaign is not easy and requires expert organizational skills if you want it to be successful. Thankfully, you don't need to figure out email campaigns alone.
You can use an automated customer service tool to do the hard parts for you!
Email campaign software gives you real-time analytics to help you make your next business decisions. To keep you motivated, there are also alerts that tell you when you've achieved your goals. Likewise, the software will also tell you when something isn't working in your campaign.
Then, you can make the necessary changes and enhance your email strategy.
To-do lists are also popular in workplaces for planning the day and writing down important meeting dates. But technology has taken this list feature to a new level. You can now use automated tools like the To-Do management app to delegate tasks to employees, collaborate with team members, and manage teams in different locations.
We all need a little encouragement sometimes, so using a to-do list is a great way to get inspired and feel good about ticking tasks off your checklist.
Color options are available with the To-Do app, which makes it easier to section tasks in order of importance. You can mark the most urgent jobs in red and future deadlines in green. Simply add the email address to the app, and the employee will be notified of the deadlines in their inbox.
CRM (Customer Relationship Management) can be improved with a strong email campaign as it provides the best opportunity for securing long-term clients. But, without the right CRM tools, you can forget about following up on leads and reaching out to new users.
You can use all the information from email campaigns and chat boxes to create a detailed email thread about CRM. That way, everyone will be on the same page on your team, and no one will be left behind on recent developments in your marketing strategy.
To involve more users, you can also create automated emails to subscribers on your website. This allows you to target users who might not be as present on other social media channels and are valuable to your brand.
It's also possible for you to track customers who don't respond and reflect on why users aren't responding to your campaign. Then, you can consider rephrasing your content in the emails or researching your target buyer more effectively.
Tips for Using Customer Service Tools at Work
Automated customer service tools have the potential to transform your business and make your daily tasks easier to complete, but interestingly this software is just the first step. You need to know how to present your automation features and frequently reflect on your current processes.
Most people think that you should avoid mentioning that part of your website is automated, but this is not necessarily the best move for your brand. Often, users prefer to know if the live chat box is an automated feature or a real agent on the other end.
So, you should let your customers know that you use automation in your customer service team.
Tell Customers About Your Automated Tools
Letting users know that you use automated tools is an important part of building trust with your customers. You want to be transparent with your methods, so people know what to expect when using your business. Luckily, there are a few ways to make your automated tools like chat box more personal.
You can name your chatbot and create a personality for the feature. This won't replace the feeling of talking to another human, but it will provide more character traits to the software and make it more reliable. Plus, it's important that you give users the option to connect with an agent if they prefer.
Talking to an agent is essential if the customer has a complicated issue to solve, and it requires upper management to get involved. It's also good to ensure that the language on the chat feature is friendly and welcoming to people visiting your website.
The text should be similar to talking to an employee and tested, so it correctly reacts to customers' questions. For example, you don't want a chatbot to talk about opening times when a customer wants to make a return. So, don't forget about the importance of testing your automated tools!
Always Ask For Feedback
Automated tools are also ideal for receiving feedback and suggestions from customers. You can ask in emails, on social media, or at the end of a conversation on a chatbot. An easy way to encourage feedback is with automated surveys and questionnaires. This is a simple way to engage users without being too salesy.
You can simplify the feedback process by creating emotion markers that evoke smiling or angry faces. This allows customers to reply without writing a message. Or, you can offer an in-depth survey to users who are willing to take the time to give you recommendations.
But you should ensure that bad reviews are acknowledged in your system. You can send alerts to your email system or notify agents to call customers if they aren't satisfied with the customer service.
Prioritize Educational Resources
Giving customers good customer service is not just about answering their questions; you need to go the extra mile and provide users with educational resources. But what does this mean?
Well, if a customer asks for more information on your services, you can send them a blog article from your website that highlights the benefits of automated tools. There are endless blogs online promoting materials and showcasing business models, so you want to ensure that your articles are well-written and insightful.
When users receive more information that is helpful to their situation, they are more likely to want to come back to your brand or recommend you to a friend. Automated tools are great when you use them to provide extra resources to your users, so make the most of this feature.
The Future of Automated Customer Service Tools
Now that we've covered the recent trends in automated customer service tools, it's important to think about where technology is taking customer service and the changes we will see in this field in the future.
As video media increases, it's clear that there will be more face-to-face interactions in customer service teams.
More Video Interactions
Since the pandemic, people are more aware of how real-life interactions can impact discussions. That's why customer service teams are looking for ways to create these similar interactions online without losing the opportunity to foster genuine connections with users.
So, the solution will be more video interactions in customer services.
Offering video options for talking to agents will increase, and people will be able to schedule video meetings.
Therefore, if you're not already using video voice calls, it's time to add this feature to your marketing strategy.
Increase in Remote Customer Service Workers
Hybrid working has become more popular in small businesses, but it's going to increase in demand as workers are looking for flexible schedules and interesting work opportunities that aren't location-based. Automated customer service tools will become key to onboarding new employees and delegating work assignments.
Employees will start using automated tools across multiple channels on a range of small and larger devices. So, it's good to hire staff members that are happy to use social media as well as email campaigns. That way, you can save time training new workers and implement new strategies straightaway.
Bots Are Here to Help
There's been a lot of recent debate over the importance of bots in the workplace, as many people are curious about their jobs being replaced. But, users don't want to only talk to automated chatbots; they want to connect with human employees.
Therefore, you will see a rise in people working with bots to improve their business strategies and create better methods for communicating with customers. For example, bots can function throughout the night when employees are not working, so your business can constantly function.
This helps the employees and the business. So, it's a great way to work with technology to provide a better customer service experience!
As well as helping employees, automated tools are cost-effective. You can save costs using third-party services and maintain a high quality of communication for your brand.
Upgrade your Technology for Customer Service
Brands are slowly adapting to new ways of communicating with customers. Some people use TikTok as their main communication channel, whereas others prefer to install chatbot features so users can have one-to-one conversations. Depending on your target demographic, your customer service strategy will be different for every brand.
But if you're looking for automated customer service tools, then you need to check our platform.
We offer everything from email campaign features to CRM tools so you can cover all aspects of your customer service team.
Contact us here and chat with the team today to find out more!