CX teams are experiencing a period of rapid transformation and in today’s hyper competitive environment, customer experience is a key determinant of brand loyalty.
Automation should be top of mind for every CX leader in 2022.
Automation benefits CX teams in three primary ways:
- Faster time to resolution through the elimination of manual task bottlenecks and streamlined processes
- Increased ticket deflection through automated responses to frequent one touch issues
- A holistic view of your customer and insights from every conversation across every channel
Ultimately, investment in CX automation helps boost agent morale and improves customer satisfaction.
The Age of Customer Experience Automation is Here
2021 was a year of significant transformation for Customer Experience organizations. The COVID-19 pandemic drastically accelerated digital adoption and in nearly two years, non-digital natives have become more digitally fluent. Lockdowns and restrictions heavily tilted consumer behavior online and everything from eCommerce purchases to tele-medicine boomed.
As a result of this shift, demand for digital customer service surged and CX organizations were forced to modernize in order to accommodate significantly higher tickets volumes and more demanding and digitally savvy customers. The days of support teams simply answering customer questions and issues as they come in are long gone. In today’s hyper competitive environment, companies have to go above and beyond consumer expectations with their customer experience or otherwise they face dire consequences: Zendesk’s Customer Experience Trends Report found that in 2021 roughly half of customers polled said they would switch to a competitor after just one bad experience and in the case of more than one bad experience, that number jumped to 80%. In just two years, CX has been elevated to one of the most critical functions in any company.
In an environment of accelerating change and competition, CX leaders need to leverage the right mix of technology and people to ensure that they are addressing their customer needs in the most effective and efficient means possible. Automation is no longer a future vision for CX, it’s rapidly becoming the present. With automation and AI technology becoming more accessible, CX teams are able to solve customer issues faster and with greater efficiency ultimately leading to higher overall customer satisfaction. Here are three reasons why brands should invest in CX Automation in 2022.
#1 - Faster Resolution Time and Streamlined Processes
Ticket resolution time is the most important metric for any CX organization as it’s a key factor in contributing to customer satisfaction and retention. According to Forrester, 77% of consumers surveyed stated that valuing their time is the most important thing a company can do to provide them with good online customer service. Today, with many industries seeing significant increases in ticket volumes, investment in automation is the most effective way to lower resolution time and streamline process bottlenecks. Here’s how: a significant portion of the ticket resolution time is spent on manual tasks that are required before answering the customer’s question.
Agents often spend as much time researching answers to questions as they take to answer tickets themselves and that’s only after the ticket is tagged, categorized, and routed to the right support team that can address the customer issue. These manual tasks create bottlenecks within support organizations and, in high volume times, leave customers waiting longer for responses. Automation directly helps lower time to resolution by addressing these support process bottlenecks in the following ways:
- Tagging/Classifying: Automated data categorization takes the guesswork out of what the customer is asking and automatically assigns issue tags to incoming tickets in an accurate and consistent manner.
- Prioritization: Once a ticket is tagged, its priority is assigned based on categories that the CX organization pre-determined.
- Routing: Automatically send tickets to the proper level of support and/or internal team that can best solve them based on their category and priority.
- Research: Provide agents with step by step guidance on how to best solve customer issues.
CX teams use the Lang platform to define data models that automate the entire ticket triage process. Streamlining this process with automation can save CX teams hundreds of agent hours and drastically lower time to resolution. You can read more about how Pair Eyewear is using Lang to save 200+ agent hours a week.
#2 - Increased Ticket Deflection
In addition to streamlining CX processes, automation technology also helps directly answer tickets themselves, lessening the burden that repetitive and one-touch issues place on support teams. Within the majority of CX organizations, a significant percentage of incoming tickets are often isolated to the same few contact reasons. Automating the response to repetitive one-touch issues is a simple and efficient way to lower overall ticket volume while still providing customers with a positive experience.
Artificial intelligence tools like chatbots and IVR are great for resolving simple issues before they hit a support team. Automating responses to common tickets gives agents more time to focus on complex customer issues and has a double win in that it both improves overall customer satisfaction as well as agent morale. Today, customers are not only open to using intelligent services, they expect it in certain circumstances; 55% of consumers polled in a 2021 Lucidworks survey stated that they prefer a chatbot to provide support for specific issues.
An effective AI strategy has to be deeply integrated with live support through all channels. Issues that make it past chatbots have to quickly be identified and picked up by agents and it is critical that agents start the conversation with context and an understanding of the customer’s interactions up to that point. This is another area where automation can help: the AI to human handoff.
Lang integrates with chatbots and service desk platforms to ensure that all issues coming into an organization are categorized under a centralized data model. CX leaders can see a holistic view of all of the topics that their customers are talking about and leverage this to increase chatbot containment and generate automated responses through their email channel. Petal Card, for instance, used Lang to reduce their overall support volume by 26% through automated email responses.
#3 - A Better Understanding of your Customers
While it’s fair to say that the last two years have brought about some massive changes, consumers have never been a static and homogeneous bunch. Customers, and their preferences, are constantly changing. Companies must understand this and continuously engage and develop their understanding of their customers to help them stay in front of shifting demands and behavior.
Data automation within customer experience is the best way to unify your digital channels and gain a rapid understanding of the topics and issues customers are talking about and how they’re changing over time. CX Analytics is poised to have a resurgence as consumers are engaging with brands through more channels than ever before and the rapid shifts in digital communication during COVID-19 were not merely workarounds for the time or passing phases. Many customers who embraced digital engagement channels, including chatbots, live chat, and social media, during the height of the pandemic have not reverted back. Now, more than ever, it is critical to have a complete and unified view of all of your support channels so that you can identify what your customers are talking about in real time.
Unified CX Analytics specifically benefits support teams in the following ways:
- Identify issues with products and services before they blow up.
- Tighter agent enablement to always keep your agents up to date on the latest topics and issues that your customers are talking about and how to best address them.
- Insights for self-serve content and refinement for AI flows within chatbots and IVR.
- Bring teams closer to CX by providing insights on topics customers are talking about to adjacent teams Product Operations and Marketing.
Customers use the Lang platform to identify top issues and topics across support channels; the insights surfaced ultimately lead to more refined flows for AI platforms like chatbots and significantly lower the time and effort required for maintenance.
Happier Customers and Support Agents
Automation is a win-win for any CX organization looking to improve customer satisfaction and retention. Increased ticket deflection and faster resolution times directly lead to higher customer satisfaction. The other major benefit that is equally as important is that automation helps increase agent morale and overall happiness. Automated tagging, routing, and triage paired with step-by-step instructions on how to solve issues makes the lives of agents significantly easier; they can focus entirely on addressing their customers. At its core, a great customer experience is one of the best representations of a brand and its values, and automation is the means by which CX teams focus on their core job of providing amazing service while software tools take care of the tedious administrative burdens.