3 steps to make your customer support automation thrive

Gartner says that by 2020, customers will conduct 85% of their interactions without dealing with another human. How can you prepare yourself for this level of automation? 

 You need to lay the right foundations to build smart customer support automation 

You need to lay the right foundations to build smart customer support automation 

There are three steps to building advanced customer support automation which must be followed in this order:

#1 Perfect process
If you automate a failed process, you magnify the problem.  Therefore, before you consider the platform or delivery of the automation, the key is making sure that the process works. And you must have total confidence that the automated process is repeatable. The mistake that ruins many automation projects is starting with the tool, not the process. In other words, using a self-service portal or another form of automation without checking that the information it gives, or the process it steps the customer through, is sound and tested. Perfect processes underpin all customer support automation.

Tools for the job
No one wants to use a clunky self-service tool. None of us have patience with a portal or support tool if the interface isn’t intuitive. One strike and you’re out is the rule for self-service. Make sure you select tools that you, your team and most importantly your customers enjoy using. Your endeavours will count for nothing if people don’t want to use the facilities you’ve built. There are many good tools available, we've got a great self-service portal built into Richmond ServiceDesk which you can learn about here.

Test and test again
Customer support is an ever-evolving discipline. Policies change, new products arrive, customer expectations change.  There’s no such thing as a finished process. We may look at Amazon's technology and think it’s robust and ‘complete'. But Amazon has reported that it pushes through a significant change every 12 seconds. Yes, this is an extreme example, but it illustrates the importance of not resting on your laurels when it comes to automated customer support.

The solution here is not as radical as Amazon’s, but it does involve testing regularly, gathering - and heeding - feedback and making changes. As mentioned before, patience is thin on the ground so even if customers do use automated support once, their confidence will quickly fade if they encounter another failure.