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Automation Isn't Always Deflection: 3 Ways to Expand Their Use

Here at Lang, we regularly talk to our customers about different kinds of automation strategies. Excellent automation can increase agent productivity, drive down cost of service, and help address customer issues quickly and efficiently - all topics we are passionate about! 

However, as an industry, we should broaden how we define automation. Automation doesn’t have to mean a lack of personalization and human touch. An important dialogue we start with customers is how to think about automation while still maintaining a differentiated and personalized customer experience. Here are three points to keep in mind on this subject:

1. Identifying when your customers want to engage with you vs when they just want a quick answer is a critical first step to any automation strategy - Whether you are helping resolve a complex issue with a financial product, or ensuring that a customer knows their loved one is a priority - personalized empathy is  crucial to deepening your relationship with your customer. On the other hand, when customers just want to be pointed to information so they can self-serve, you are better off surfacing those answers in the most efficient way possible. Regardless of how you decide to address the reason for outreach, it’s important to do so intentionally - this starts with great categorization of reasons your customer reaches out to you. 

2. Automation does NOT have to be limited to auto-replies or chatbot interactions - While both are incredibly useful, there are many additional opportunities to increase customer satisfaction and improve productivity through automation. Once you are consistently categorizing your incoming customer issues and can rely on that data, you can apply several types of automation to emphasis it: 

  • Apply Skill based routing to automatically route your customer to the right team to solve their problem efficiently
  • Proactively ask a customer to provide additional information for when the agent comes online
  • Provide standard operating procedures and coaching points to your agents to help them navigate through more complex requests.
  • Prioritize requests that require extra compassion or immediate human touch to reduce customer friction 

All these automations are a part of taking customers through desired paths to address their specific needs while also fueling agent productivity.  

3. Use Automations to help your agents be the best they can possibly be - Applying some of these techniques will free agents from manual triage so they can focus on the most important issues that require the most attention. This not only supports your agents, but also opens the doors to deeper customer relationships with focus being less on SLAs and depleting the backlog, and more on creating positive experiences that speak to your brand and company values. In addition, there is less of an opportunity for customers to become frustrated in the queue, so your agents will spend less time deescalating and more time giving customers the answer they were looking for in the first interaction. 

All in all, automation is a powerful tool and can lend support in more ways than just deflection. The next time you think about how to solve a negative trend you see emerging from your data, take a moment to think how automation could assist - you could end up with a wonderful automated solution,and lots of happy customers! 

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