Today’s customers have high expectations around customer service. Consumers often gauge customer support satisfaction by speed to resolution.
As a service business, it’s likely you already feel the pressure of limited resources, like time and available staff. So, how do you provide fast support for all your customers at scale?
The answer is automation.
What is Automated Customer Service?
Automated customer service is the practice of using automated communications and implementing resources to enable customers to self-serve. These practices help scale the capacity of a business’s limited customer support staff to serve its entire customer base. It does not replace the need to build customer relationships, but instead, strengthens customer trust, satisfaction and advocacy.
According to a recent study conducted by American Express, over 60% of US consumers prefer automated self-service, such as a website or mobile app, for simple customer service tasks. There are many ways you can appeal to this customer trend by implementing automated customer service for your business. Check out our list of best practices to get started.
Best Practices for Automated Customer Service
1. 24/7 Online Payments
Customer service is not only addressing problems or post-payment support; it encompasses the entire customer experience. Providing an easily accessible payment experience is key to improving customer service. When you make it easy to pay for products and services, it builds trust with your customers, secures consistent cash flow for your business, and does not require any hands-on assistance. Offering online payments allows you to collect payments outside of normal business hours, when your customers might have more availability to make a payment. It also allows you to free up time that you’d otherwise spend on payment collection and support.
Give your customers the information they need without having to call or email your business. Provide self-help resources, like ‘how-to’ documentation, training videos, and online account access. By providing these resources, it is less likely someone will need to contact human support in order to resolve common issues. Effective self-serve customer resources include:
- Online Support Center – an interactive knowledge base with various help articles, video demos and training resources
- Customer Forum – a closed chatroom, online message forum, or private social media group where customers can look to their peers for best practices and advice
- FAQ Web Page – document and proactively answer common questions on your website or blog
- Online Account Access – a secure, online portal that allows customers access account information and act on critical account and payment functions independently
PaySimple offers Customer Portal, a secure online portal that empowers customers to log-in and self-service common payment issues without requiring assistance from a live person.
2. Email Automation
Email automation can save a lot of time and manual effort in customer communications. Tools like Mailchimp or Constant Contact allow businesses to drip relevant customer resources throughout the customer lifecycle. Take it a step further by sending an NPS survey campaign to collect customer feedback. This information will help you provide better resources that will ultimately prevent customers requiring the help of a live agent.
3. Proactive Outreach
One of the most important parts of automated customer service is to educate your customers on its availability. Properly trained and informed customers are less likely to require customer support. If you don’t educate your customers about the self-serve resources you provide, they will never use them. Consider putting together a few helpful emails around your resources and train your staff to push customers to self-service resources when they do call in.
When implemented effectively, customer service automation streamlines your processes, reduces friction for your customers, and helps you reduce overhead expenses. With PaySimple, businesses are enabled to automate payment processing and leverage email automation in one solution – allowing them to scale customer service as they grow.
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