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Explore Why Teams Prefer Hiver’s Automation Feature

Customer Service Automation: Without Losing the Human Touch

Jan 16, 2024
9 min read
Hiver HQ
Tejas Kinger

Table of contents

Support teams often handle a large volume of customer queries, which can be challenging to manage efficiently. Customer service automation is vital in this context as it streamlines workflows, bringing order and clarity to what could otherwise be overwhelming. 

By automating certain aspects of customer service, teams can ensure that no query is missed and every customer receives timely and effective support. 

Research from HubSpot shows that 93% of customers are likely to make repeat purchases with companies offering excellent service. 

Customer service automation, while not a complete solution, significantly aids in enhancing team efficiency and maintaining the personal touch that fosters customer trust and loyalty.

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Table of Contents

Key Takeaways:

  • Customer Loyalty Shift: Loyalty has moved beyond just price and product quality; excellent customer service is now a key factor.
  • Empathy in Service: Empathy is crucial in customer service, demanding availability, quick responses, and personalized communication.
  • Role of Automation: Automating customer service boosts efficiency and response times while maintaining personalization.
  • Benefits of Automation: It streamlines workloads, reduces response times, improves team efficiency, and enables personalized customer interactions at scale.
  • Challenges in Customer Service: Overcoming issues like long wait times and heavy manual tasks is essential for better customer service.
  • Implementing Automation with Hiver: Hiver offers tools for rule-based automation, round-robin email assignment, and use of canned responses to improve customer service.

What is Customer Service Automation?

Customer service automation involves using technology to minimize human effort in providing customer support. This approach is increasingly common in modern customer service software, where you can: 

  • Auto-assign incoming customer queries to support staff based on certain criteria.
  • Auto-change status of complaints – from ‘pending’ to ‘resolved’ for instance.
  • Send auto-responders to queries that contain specific keywords.

Customer service automation helps you reduce response time and lower operational costs.

By automating routine tasks and responses, support agents can focus on more complex issues that require human intervention, ensuring quicker and more efficient customer service. This not only optimizes the use of resources within an organization but improves the overall quality of customer experience. 

How Does Automated Customer Service Work?

Automated customer service works by utilizing technology to handle routine inquiries and tasks, reducing the need for human agents to intervene in every step. 

Imagine you run a customer service department for an online retail store. A customer named Sarah sends an email inquiring about the status of her order. Instead of manually sorting this email and assigning it to a customer service agent, you can leverage automations in the following ways:

  • Email Receipt: As soon as Sarah’s email is received, the automated system scans the content. Using keywords like “order status,” the system understands the nature of the inquiry.
  • Ticket Creation and Assignment: The system automatically creates a support ticket for this inquiry and assigns it to an available representative who specializes in order tracking and delivery issues. 
  • Automated Acknowledgement: Meanwhile, Sarah receives an automated email that acknowledges her query and also provides an estimated time frame within which she can expect a response. 
  • Preparation for Response: Before the representative views the ticket, the system might also pull up Sarah’s order history and any previous interactions she had with the support team. This provides the support representative with context to offer a more personalized and informed response.
  • Human Intervention and Personalization: The support agent, now equipped with all necessary information, can either use a pre-drafted template response or write a custom response. 
  • Feedback and Improvement: After the query is resolved, an automated survey may be sent to Sarah asking her to rate the customer service experience. This feedback is then used to improve future interactions and service offerings.

Automated customer service efficiently handles inquiries like Sarah’s, speeding up response times and providing timely, personalized support. Simultaneously, it allows human agents not to get bogged down by grunt work and instead focus on more complex and nuanced customer interactions.

Did you know: Implementing customer service automation can reduce response times by up to 50%, significantly enhancing customer satisfaction and loyalty. 

Customer Service Automation Examples

Automated customer service can encompass a variety of components, each tailored to enhance the efficiency and quality of customer support. Some examples include:

  • Automated Ticketing Systems: These systems automatically route support tickets to the most suitable agent, based on the nature of the inquiry. This ensures all tickets are streamlined and handled by the right support agents. No ticket goes missing or falls through the cracks.
  • AI Chatbots: AI-powered chatbots can handle certain customer interactions where they have to answer straightforward questions or recommend how-to guides. They act as the first point of contact with the customer and can resolve a significant percentage of simple queries, thereby reducing the load on human agents.
  • IVR (Interactive Voice Response) Software: IVR systems automate voice responses for incoming calls. They greet callers and direct them to the appropriate department or provide information using pre-recorded messages. IVR can also handle tasks such as payment processing.
  • Predictive Analytics: Utilizing machine learning, predictive analytics can forecast customer needs or potential issues, enabling proactive responses from businesses. This anticipatory approach can significantly enhance customer satisfaction and operational efficiency.
  • Feedback Collection: Automated systems for gathering customer feedback, such as surveys or feedback forms, are vital. They provide insights into customer opinions and experiences, helping businesses tailor their services for better engagement and improvement.
  • Automatic Translation: In a global business environment, the ability to automatically translate customer communications is invaluable. This feature allows customer service teams to support customers in multiple languages, breaking down language barriers and expanding global reach.

5 Key Benefits of Automating Customer Service

Here’s how implementing automation can help your customer service agents enhance customer satisfaction:

1. Ensure every customer email gets assigned

Customer service teams have to deal with high volumes of queries across channels, and email is one of the most crowded communication channels.

In such cases, email automation significantly eases the burden on customer service teams inundated with high volumes of incoming emails. By setting up automation based on specific criteria, such as subject lines or keywords in the email body, emails can be swiftly tagged and routed to the most appropriate team members. 

For example, in an e-commerce setting, emails mentioning “mobile” in the subject line can be automatically directed to mobile app specialists. This streamlined process eliminates the need for extensive manual sorting and tagging, allowing teams to respond more quickly to customer inquiries. 

Additionally, automation frees up customer service representatives to focus on more complex issues, enhancing overall customer satisfaction and efficiency.

Create Smart Rules and Automate Repetitive Tasks with Hiver

2. Reduce wait time for customers

Customer service automation significantly reduces long wait times, a major pain point for customers. 

A Hiver report indicates that 39% of customers consider timely issue resolution as a marker of good service. Automation streamlines this process by instantly assigning incoming emails to appropriate representatives, thereby cutting down response times

This clarity in email distribution prevents missed emails and ensures quicker responses, leading to a more efficient team and less frustrated customers. The outcome is clear: lower churn rates and positive customer feedback.

3. Deliver great customer service without breaking the bank

To address growing customer demands, businesses often consider expanding their customer service teams, but this isn’t always viable. Especially for startups with limited funding or difficulty in finding suitable candidates. Customer service automation offers a solution, enabling high-quality support with a leaner team.

Most customer support software in the market, now predominantly cloud-based, facilitates automation. These platforms are available on a per-user or subscription basis, offering flexibility in scaling up or down as per business needs. This cost-effective approach ensures businesses pay only for what they use, allowing them to adapt their customer service capabilities in line with their evolving requirements.

60% of support professionals see value in using AI tools for customer service

Read the full report

4. Personalize customer conversations at scale

AHubSpot research reveals that personalization can improve email performance by 202%. In a sea of customer queries, personalizing your communication helps your messages get noticed and shows customers genuine care.

Customer support automation plays a pivotal role in achieving this personalization at scale. By using email templates with strategically placed placeholder variables, you can inject a personal touch into automated messages. These placeholders dynamically pull in unique customer data like names, purchased product, and email addresses, crafting a tailored experience for each recipient.

Personalize customer service emails with Hiver

Consider the difference between a generic email and one personalized with the customer’s name (as shown in the below image). The latter sounds more human and engaging, significantly improving the customer experience. This level of personalization ensures customers feel listened to and valued, which is crucial for building strong relationships.

Great examples of personalized customer service emails

5. Improve overall productivity of customer service teams

Customer service teams often grapple with tedious, time-consuming tasks, such as responding to repetitive queries. Automating responses to frequently asked questions can significantly enhance efficiency. 

Canned responses, customizable with unique details, prevent interactions from sounding robotic and help save a lot of time and effort, boosting productivity. Happier teams lead to happier customers.

Furthermore, automation reduces the risk of human error. A fatigued support representative could enter incorrect information or misspell a customer’s name, potentially disrupting service processes and frustrating customers. Automation minimizes such errors, ensuring smoother, more reliable customer service interactions.

How to Deal With Difficult and Angry Customers (15 Tips and Examples)

How to Achieve Customer Service Automation using Hiver?

Hiver makes automating customer service tasks incredibly easy, without taking away the human element from your strategy. Here’s how you can go about it:

1. Rule-Based Automation

With Hiver, customer service teams can easily set up rule-based automations to automate the most common workflows.

Some of the tasks which can be automated include adding tags to emails based on the sender or subject line, assigning emails to specific team members based on the sender or the subject line, or changing the status of an email.

For instance, Finance teams can set up a workflow to direct all incoming queries with the term “payroll” in the subject line to a team member in charge of managing payroll. This way, queries get assigned faster and don’t get missed. Also, the turnaround time gets drastically reduced, as there’s no manual effort involved. 

Customer Service Automation Tools
Automate repetitive tasks and streamline workflows with Hiver

2. Automatic Round-Robin Assignment

In industries such as logistics or travel and hospitality, time is of the essence. Businesses are expected to respond to their customers with minimum turnaround time.

Hiver’s automatic round-robin feature is designed to evenly distribute incoming emails among team members. It assigns each incoming email to a team member as a task, ensuring that every email has a dedicated owner. 

The feature also allows team flexibility, enabling members to control their availability for working on emails. Administrators have the option to permanently exclude certain team members from the auto-assignment workflow, maintaining team efficiency without overburdening any individual.

Automated Customer Support Software
Hiver’s automatic Round-robin email assignment

3. Skill-Based Auto Assignment

Hiver’s skill-based auto-assignment feature helps support teams automatically assign incoming conversations to team members based on their expertise.

For instance, queries containing specific keywords like ‘Reimbursement’ can be automatically directed to payroll specialists within the finance team. 

This ensures that inquiries are promptly and accurately handled by the most qualified individuals, streamlining the workflow and improving response efficiency.

Efficiency in Customer Service
Hiver helps in skill-based auto-assignment of tasks 

4. Auto-Closing Emails

Hiver’s feature to reduce inbox clutter works by automatically closing emails that are not important, such as newsletters or auto-generated messages. 

Let’s say a sales team receives a mix of important client emails and less relevant messages like daily internal reports or automated marketing updates. Hiver can automatically close the latter, ensuring the sales team’s inbox is primarily filled with emails that require immediate attention, like client queries or urgent requests, enhancing productivity and response time.

Auto-closing such emails keeps the inbox clean. Teams can focus on customer messages that are important and not get distracted by other trivial communication.

Personalization in Automated Responses
Automatically close unimportant emails with Hiver

5. Auto-Tagging Emails

Hiver’s automated tagging system categorizes incoming queries based on defined criteria. By automating the tagging process, Hiver allows teams to quickly identify and prioritize queries requiring immediate attention. 

For example, you can set a condition to automatically tag all incoming customer feedback emails with a “Feedback” tag. This instantly organizes these emails into a specific category, making them easily accessible for prompt review and response by the relevant team members.

Reducing Response Time Automation
Use Tags in Hiver to organize emails 

FAQs: Customer Service Automation

Here are some commonly asked questions about customer service automation: 

1. How do businesses implement customer service automation?

Implementing customer service automation is about identifying manual tasks that need to be automated, and setting up these workflows on your customer service software.

2. What types of businesses benefit most from customer service automation?

Companies that handle high volumes of customer interactions – such as ones in e-commerce, travel, and the service industry – benefit significantly from automation.

3. How does automation impact customer satisfaction?

When implemented effectively, it can greatly enhance customer satisfaction by enabling support teams to provide quick and accurate responses.

4. Can customer service automation handle complex queries?

While it excels at managing routine inquiries, complex issues often require human intervention.

5. What are the challenges of implementing customer service automation?

Challenges include ensuring seamless integration with current systems, maintaining a balance with human interaction, and continuous updates to meet evolving customer needs.

Wrapping Up

To sum it up, automated customer service helps enhance the operational efficiency of support teams and boost customer satisfaction. While there are various tools available, it’s important to choose one that aligns with your business needs. 

Hiver, for instance, provides advanced automation features across multiple communication channels. This helps streamline customer service processes and ensures every query is routed to the right department and addressed promptly. 

However, the key to higher customer retention still lies in balancing automations with the human touch.

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Tejas Kinger is a Product Marketing Manager at Hiver. Passionate about tech, startups, and all things SaaS. Say hello on Twitter (@TejasKinger).

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