Customers want a seamless experience — anytime, anywhere, across any channel. In fact, 82% of customers expect to solve complex problems by talking to one person, according to Salesforce’s State of the Connected Customer report.

But customer service isn’t there yet. When you call a company with a problem, you’re likely to explain yourself repeatedly to more than one person. It’s frustrating, and it shows that for all our technological advancements, delivering responsive service is still a challenge. Teams need to be more efficient, and they need the right tools to get there.

Automation is when software handles tasks that are typically carried out by humans, to save time and resources. Automation tools help teams spend less time on repetitive, low-impact tasks, so that the customer remains at the top of their list.

When you automate service workflows, you can unlock a host of business opportunities. Your teams are freed of the burden of rote and menial tasks, your customers get better service, and you save money by lowering cost and improving efficiency. Automation doesn’t need to be expensive or difficult to implement, either.

That’s why we compiled five questions that can help you automate better for your team and your customers.

Questions to help your customer service automation process

1. What are your overall goals?

First, get clear on what you want automation to achieve. Here are a few questions to ask regarding goals:

Different KPIs carry different weights. Plus, making improvements in one area (like CSAT) can have negative effects in another (revenue leakage due to agents approving non-authorized returns).

The goal is to align your organization’s goals with business objectives and return to these goals to measure the success of your effort.

2. What steps are involved in your service process?

Next, zero in on the bottlenecks in your system. These processes tend to repeat often, involve multiple people, and take up time with simple clicks. Pick three to five of these steps and rank them as potential candidates to automate.

Consider a customer returning a defective refrigerator under warranty. Let’s examine all the steps involved for a customer service team. A simple return request might involve many steps, such as:

  • Step one: check the warranty and obtain approvals to extend it.
  • Step two: schedule an onsite repair, and check on part availability.
  • Step three: notify the customer on progress, follow up, and implement resolution.

The more steps involved, the more opportunity for errors, bottlenecks, and delays. Processes that frustrate your teams and customers are prime candidates for automation.

Now you can rank the steps that need automation.

The more steps involved, the more opportunity for errors, bottlenecks, and delays. Processes that frustrate your teams and customers are prime candidates for automation.

3. How long does your customer service process take?

Once you’ve evaluated complexity, turn your attention to time spent. Here are some questions to ask your team:

  • How much time, on average, does the customer service process take to complete from beginning to end?
  • How much time does each step in that process take?
  • Are specific steps prone to delays and bottlenecks?

Take the defective refrigerator example, which might stall at handoffs between departments or when connecting to your field service team. Zero in on the workflows that take up most of your service agent’s time.

Say you’ve got a process that has four primary steps. The first two take 10 minutes each, the third takes 15 minutes, and the final step is five minutes. That’s 40 minutes end to end. If you receive hundreds of requests involving this process each day, consider automation to consolidate that time spent. Do more with less.

Automating your customer service steps increases productivity and engagement. It also creates efficiencies for your middle and back office teams to support your agents.

Before jumping in, take some time to plan your customer service automation process. Identify the streamlined service workflows that will give you the biggest benefit. This will set you up to successfully automate each step.

With the right workflow automation roadmap, you can have more control and support your team—not to mention the cost savings. And you can engage customers and build a more modern, responsive service operation. That’s a win-win if you ask us.

Read the full blog on our partner, Salesforce‘s website, here.

Ready to automate your customer experience? Get in touch with us today.