Automated Customer Service: How to Enhance Customer Experience at Scale
Automated customer service is essential to scale your business without pumping your support costs too.
Especially today, as most users will actively seek out self-service content before reaching out for help, not having in-app support available will generate friction and thus represent a huge disadvantage (especially in the SaaS industry).
So what tasks are worth automating these days?
Let’s go over what you can do today to automate customer service processes.
- Automated customer service involves using software to assist users automatically without manual human work. And it helps you streamline your customer service team workflows, communications, and proactive help.
- Companies automate customer service because it can provide 24/7 support, reduce customer friction, save time to support reps and help you focus on complex issues.
- As of now, customer service automation is best used to offer in-app guidance, address common issues, communicate with customers proactively, and collect customer data from surveys.
- There are 10 tactics for automating customer service:
- Trigger a welcome screen to onboard new users right away and collect feedback.
- Automate in-app tooltips to encourage feature discovery.
- Set interactive walkthroughs automatically to help users adopt features and engage with the app.
- Use onboarding checklists to make users complete core tasks and experience the value of your product quickly.
- Leverage segmentation to send automatic messages that can help you communicate with customers and provide extra value.
- Implement an in-app knowledge base to provide support without relying on human labor.
- Create an AI chatbot to give users an alternative way to get help without having to search for answers.
- Send automated surveys to collect feedback continuously as users achieve milestones.
- Perform A/B tests with statistical significance, identify the happy path, and optimize the product journey.
- Tag your app’s features to monitor clicks and customer engagement, so you can identify disengaged users you can reach out to and help.
- Here are five examples of SaaS brands that leverage automation in customer service:
- Userpilot’s resource center offers content in multiple formats, chatbots, and passive surveys.
- Amplitude’s AI chatbot follows a workflow that can solve common issues in minutes.
- Miro’s passive survey blends perfectly with the UI and is so simple that users can reply with one click.
- Figma’s option to reset the onboarding process for those users who skipped it.
- ClickUp’s welcome screen has video tutorials that can effectively introduce core features to new users.
- Here the three best tools that can help you automate customer service:
- Userpilot, which is best for in-app onboarding flows, surveys, and creating a resource center.
- Intercom, for omnichannel AI chatbots.
- Zendesk, to create an AI chatbot that follows specific workflows.
- If you need to automate your onboarding process, get a Userpilot demo and see how you can engage new users right away.
What is automated customer service?
Automated customer service involves using software to assist users automatically without manual human work. And it helps businesses streamline customer service team workflows, communications, and proactive help.
It’s often implemented using specialized software and tools that allow you to, for example, create support tickets automatically or give users access to an AI chatbot assistant to solve issues.
What are the benefits of automated customer service?
Customer service automation isn’t meant to be fancy. The reason companies use is because it can completely change the day-to-day life of your support team and your users, for example:
- You can provide 24/7 support without downtime without having to wait in line. So users will experience less friction and be less likely to churn.
- Automation sets the stage to offer proactive customer service by assisting users with automated help before they get stuck.
- The cost of support decreases as automation reduces the need for direct customer service interactions and opening new tickets.
- Gives your customer service reps enough time and space to solve complex problems quickly, which can lead to better customer satisfaction.
When should you use customer service automation?
Now, you can’t just automate every single customer service task. There are still situations and issues that not even AIs can solve.
So when it comes to automating customer support, here are the instances when it can be more effective:
- Offering in-app guidance for repeatable tasks such as using core features or setting up your account.
- Addressing common questions with FAQs, a knowledge base, and an AI assistant.
- Notify customers about updates on their issues, such as sending an email when the problem is already fixed.
- Offering automated support when reps are offline.
- Learning about your customers through surveys.
How to automate customer service?
There are so many ways to automate customer service, that it can be a bit overwhelming to choose the right methods.
So let’s go over 10 tactics for automating customer service, with a special focus on being proactive and communicating inside your app:
Use a welcome screen to onboard users
Reps have no time to welcome and onboard every single user as they log in, so why not automate it?
Triggering a welcome screen inside your app allows you to communicate with your users, either by guiding them with feature introductions and tips or by asking them questions through a survey.
For example, you could use a tool like Userpilot to trigger a welcome survey and learn more about your customers’ jobs to be done—and personalize their product experience automatically.
Implement tooltips for instant help
Instead of onboarding users personally (or worse, leaving them to their luck), you can leverage in-app tooltips to provide constant guidance and improve feature discovery.
For example, helpful tooltips can be triggered automatically when a user is omitting specific functions that are essential for success or if they represent low product usage.
When used well, tooltips can lead to a significant boost in product adoption and engagement as users can get value instantly from the app without interacting with a human.
Trigger interactive walkthroughs to offer contextual guidance
If your product features are more complex and require more explanation, you can save a lot of meetings with customers by triggering interactive walkthroughs automatically.
These walkthroughs are simply a series of tooltips explaining in detail how a feature works, its components, and the steps you should take. But the reason they work is because they respond to in-app behavior in real-time, and they’re triggered when the user is more likely to need them, allowing you to:
- Hand-hold users through your app with progressive onboarding.
- Avoid overwhelming users with information they won’t retain.
- Enhance the learning experience.
Just like this example from Kommunicate:
Build an onboarding checklist of core tasks
Automation grants you the power to streamline the onboarding process so users don’t have to self-navigate (and end up reaching out for help) to learn how to perform core tasks.
An onboarding checklist, for example, is a great tool to lead users toward the best path to success and make them experience the value of your product quickly.
Here are the steps to implement it:
- Define the core tasks your users need to complete to experience the value of your product.
- Build an onboarding checklist using a customer success tool like Userpilot.
- Add engaging UI elements such as dummy tasks and a progress bar to make a more interactive experience.
This is what it looks like:
Segment customers to trigger follow-ups for customer inquiries
Keeping healthy communication and sustaining the feedback loop is essential to build customer relationships.
But service reps can’t just keep up with every customer inquiry and provide more value than what they have time for.
So how do you automate this? Through segmentation.
Segmentation allows you to group users into specific categories and send automatic messages that can help you communicate with customers and provide extra value.
For example, you can segment users who requested a specific feature in one of your surveys, and then trigger an in-app announcement as a follow-up once said feature is implemented.
This not only makes users feel heard, but also incentivizes them to provide more feedback in the future.
Build a knowledge base to enable customer self-service
It doesn’t matter how much you automate the onboarding process. Users will always need more information than what some tooltips can offer.
For this, an in-app knowledge base can satisfy their need without relying on human labor. And given that 81% of customers say they want more self-service options, a knowledge base can be your competitive advantage when implemented well.
Now, in order to stand out, make sure to build to knowledge base that’s:
- Easily accessible from your app.
- Resourceful, offering content in multiple formats to cater to different learning preferences.
- Curated for specific user segments.
In short: make it easy to find the desired information quickly.
Use an AI chatbot to automate customer support
What if a user has a very specific problem that’s hard to search with a knowledge base?
With an AI chatbot, users can have an alternative option to seek answers without reaching out to support or browse through a sea of guides.
At this point, AI is capable of understanding your query, leaning on existing resources, and generating relevant answers that are pretty likely to be useful—which can improve the customer experience.
Plus, AI chatbots will only get better in the near future.
Send surveys to collect customer feedback
Automation can upgrade your capacity to gather user feedback by triggering the right survey to the right audience—automatically.
For example, more than sending a satisfaction survey through a broadcast email, automation software can help you trigger a personalized in-app survey to those who finished the primary onboarding process.
This way, automated surveys can collect feedback continuously as users achieve specific milestones and find opportunities for improvement in the process (as well as address customer issues as they come up).
A/B test to identify the happy path for delivering positive experiences
Without software, experimentation would be near impossible.
Today, you can use tools to automate testing and provide the best experience throughout the customer journey.
For example, there are controlled A/B tests, where you can experiment with how a new in-app experience (e.g. onboarding checklist, tooltip) performs against a controlled group. Allowing you to tell if there’s a significant improvement in product adoption or other metrics.
There’s also head-to-head A/B testing, where you can compare the performance of two different variations against a segmented audience, 50/50. Which is useful when your goal is to optimize the performance of a specific stage of the journey.
At the end of the day, only automation can help you perform experimentations with statistical significance, identify the happy path, and optimize the product journey.
Analyze customer behavior for automating customer service
Another thing software can do is track user behavior.
Behavior analytics not only provide insights you can use to improve the product experience, but it also allows you to trigger specific actions automatically.
For example, you can tag your app’s features to monitor clicks and customer engagement.
But what should you do when there’s a drop in activity?
First, you can ask users directly with an automated survey. Maybe there’s an annoying bug or a usability issue that you can only know by getting direct feedback.
Also, you can trigger in-app guides to aid users in case they’re feeling lost or are not clear on how to use the product properly.
Examples of automating customer service in SaaS
Let’s go over some established SaaS brands that leverage automation in customer service.
Userpilot implements a knowledge base with various help formats
Anyone can create a resource center, but not everyone puts in the effort as Userpilot.
Userpilot’s resource center is not only accessible right from the app, but it also provides content in different formats and modules so users can consume it in a way that fits their learning style.
Not only that, it also includes a chat for customer interactions (so you don’t have to use search) and passive survey forms where you can submit your feedback (and be heard by the product team).
Userpilot automates every type of support interaction possible so it can cover most customer support needs.
Amplitude uses AI chatbots in addition to customer service agents
Amplitude’s live chat service merges AI with live customer service agents with the goal of reducing the workload of the latter.
The way it works is simple. You’re first assisted by the AI agent, which will try to solve your problem if it’s simple enough, or redirect the ticket to a human agent if the problem gets more complex.
Miro has passive surveys for in-app experience
Miro excels at collecting passive feedback automatically.
For example, when Miro wants to know how users feel about the learning center, they show a passive survey while the user is browsing it (like in the screenshot below).
This survey is effective because it’s placed in a way that doesn’t interrupt the users. Plus, it’s so easy to answer that users might rather click on a response before clicking the X icon to close it.
Figma enables replays of onboarding flows
Sometimes users dismiss in-app messages as a reflex because they think they can use the app without help.
Maybe they can, but a number of those users will just give up and then go find information elsewhere.
And here’s when doing something as simple as allowing users to reset their onboarding can make a difference—just like Figma.
Instead of having to go after these users to provide personal help, Figma simply gives them the option to reset their onboarding flow if they wish to and save time for everyone:
ClickUp triggers a welcome screen with a video
ClickUp is one of those tools that are easy to use yet require some time to get used to its extensive features.
The brand knows it, which is the reason why they show video tutorials to new users with a welcome screen.
Video is an excellent format to explain complex concepts visually, making it an efficient resource to introduce core features to every single user—automatically!
Best automated customer service tools to drive customer satisfaction
There’s very little you can do without using automated customer service software.
That’s why we’re going to recommend three great tools that can help you provide excellent customer service:
Userpilot – Best for triggering in-app experience and building self-serve support
Userpilot is a customer success platform that provides tools to create (and automate) in-app flows, resource centers, and surveys. It can help product and support teams automate their onboarding support by:
- Building in-app flows using multiple UI elements such as tooltips, modals, walkthroughs, slideouts, and more.
- Creating onboarding checklists to drive users to the activation stage as soon as possible.
- Implementing an in-app resource center that’s customizable, supports every content format, and is personalized to users.
Moreover, Userpilot has segmentation features that can help you leverage automation even further. You can, for example, trigger in-app messages based on the user ID, job role, behavior, survey result, and use cases.
Intercom – Best for automated customer communications across platforms
Intercom is an automated customer service platform that leverages AI to provide proactive support and help you solve your customer’s queries as efficiently as possible.
Their greatest highlight is its ability to build an AI helpdesk and chatbots that can integrate on every single channel, such as messenger, SMS, email, website, and more.
This way, Intercom not only allows you to automate your customer service with AI but also makes it omnichannel so users can reach out to you from wherever they want.
Zendesk – Best for automated customer interaction management
Zendesk is a platform with helpful products for both sales and support teams. Its automated customer support system allows you to use AI as an extension of your team.
Although AI can anticipate queries, offer self-service, and reply in a second, you can also build a customer service workflow with their platform. For example, tell the AI what existing resources to recommend based on the customer’s topic by expanding its knowledge.
This makes Zendesk a very helpful platform for automating repetitive tasks, rerouting tickets to the right agent, and identifying urgent issues that require human help.
Implementing automated customer service doesn’t mean it’s going to be 100% generic, it means you can invest your time and energy in things that matter.
By now, you know what tasks you can automate in today’s landscape. But as the future approaches with more sophisticated technology, you must keep your mind open to new opportunities for improvement.
So why not get a Userpilot demo and try to automate your onboarding process?