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How to Master Customer Service Automation in Public Sector

Customer service automation has polarized takers. Some people like it for its quicker response while others loathe it for the lack of human touch and acknowledgement. But the undeniable fact is that automated customer service is a solution for quality service and streamlining of processes. Not only in private sectors but also in public sectors, it has been taken sincerely and implemented.

In all probability, private sector are the pioneers in adopting technology, innovation and growth. But lately, even public sector is not far behind. The government organizations are eager to adopt and adapt to new technologies. They are transforming to digital and automation of their services and embracing it, in spite of the complexities that come with the deployment of new technologies. Public health care is the most crucial area that has seen and undergone this transformation.

What is Customer Service Automation?

Customer Service Automation is any sort of customer service that uses tools to automate workflows or tasks instead of human resources. Also called as automated service, the technology is an aggregation of Robotic Process Automation (RPA), Machine Learning (ML), Narrow Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Natural Language Processing (NLP).

Contrary to the belief that customer service automation is not good enough, the reality is, it is one of the best methods to opt these days by companies. In this blog, we emphasize on the fact that use of automated services can be a crackerjack, especially for the government.

Automation can facilitate governments to provide exceptional customer experience. Experiences that are guided by innovations are sensitive to people as they are to technology.

By 2020, it has become evident that progress in technology will continue to revolutionize customer service interactions without really needing a human agent. With AI, tricky queries are no longer a bane for human agents. Virtual assistants should be able to search information from internal databases without the need for digging through various other sources.

Virtual assistants like AI chatbots or keyword chatbots are the most favored form of customer service automation. They use pre-defined protocols or artificial intelligence (AI) to help customers resolve problems quickly and efficiently to complete the tasks. It could be ordering a pizza, checking in luggage at the airport, locating a store, checking opening hours, changing an order or retrieving account information, and so on.

Customer Service Automation Prep

  • Begin with analyzing the cases where customer interaction activities happen.
  • Break down the service cycle into small components. Most of them will turn out to be simple functions or “microservices”. These microservices can be recurring and repeatable customer transactions.

    Start small. Compile the simple function areas rather than complex services which need advanced integration. Complex services require experienced tools and an omnichannel integration.

  • Subsequently, develop AI capability. Begin with areas with a reliable customer interface.

    For instance, if someone is using a virtual assistant AI technology (like Alexa, Google Assistant) to avail a service, point them to suitable self-help guides or online resources. Build an application where the bots can analyze and deliver both simple and certain complex services without much human intervention.

  • Human intervention should still be optional for customers who need complex queries addressed or when the bots fail to deliver efficiently.

Let’s have a look at how government organizations can reap the benefits of by using the customer service automation.

Benefits of Customer Service Automation in Public Sector

  • Cost-effective – Multiple levels of approvals are required to curb human errors. There are lot guidelines to be followed which might lead to delay in services even though you have sizeable staff. This also ends up costing billions to the government.

    Chatbots have self-service options that can resolve customer queries before escalating it to a human agent. Email automation tools can reply to the emails at a faster pace for lesser cost than an average human agent doing the same task. Call Centre automation prompts you to shift human resources to something qualitative and they can pitch in when there is an escalation.

  • Response Time – Quicker response is any day better than delayed response. Doesn’t matter whether it’s from bots or humans. Customers who receive a prompt response always equate it with a good customer service experience. Online FAQs have resolved many queries, thus saving time for customers and service agents alike. Automation of customer service is designed to respond proactively and efficiently.
  • 24/7 Services – By using automated customer service, you are not restricted by public holidays or time zones. This enables companies to respond instantly to customer queries and resolve issues. Customers do not have to wait longer for a response. Thus, this aids in offering best customer service and help in building trust and brand reputation.
  • Training – Hiring and training staff takes a lot of time and money. With automation, time and money can be saved big time. AI helps human agents in providing necessary resources while dealing with customer queries. You just have to train them once. There may be a need to train the entire workforce time and again when new features or protocols are to be followed. With automation, only re-configuration of software is needed, and the rest can be programmed.

Automated customer service platforms ease the human agents from tier-1 or initial support requests that they may be tired and bored of attending. Agents can actually be utilized to focus on creative and challenging tasks pertaining to customer needs.

A platform like Freshchat comes with pre-programmed industry and domain knowledge.

  • Innovation – When we talk about customer service, prompt response is the first thing that comes to mind. Private sectors have anyways aced the game, but public sector organizations need to match up to them by adapting to new technologies and models. There should be room for innovation and improvement. This is the only way to build trust among customers that public sector organizations can equally offer reliable services.
  • Scalability – With customer service automation, companies can respond to any number of queries and scale their customer service at an exceptional speed with minimum resources. When a new feature or product is launched, companies can endorse interactive FAQs that solves hundreds and thousands of customer queries within a few minutes. For example, when its tax pay-time of the year; the telephones of public sector offices keep ringing and the staff cannot answer each and every call. Automation can resolve this within minutes.
  • Reliability – Sometimes the human agent’s emotions overpower the rational part of his/her mind. This can lead to unpleasant experiences for both customers and customer service staff. With automated services, powered by AI technology, these kind of issues are averted.

Chatbots and AI are free from emotions and biases. They are designed to escalate the queries to the manager at any point of the time. When the manager (usually a human agent) takes up the query, he need not go through the same sentiments as the user or give in to his/her own frustrations. AI may also help human agents by providing information about the customer behavior and history beforehand, which makes it a pleasant experience for both customers and agents.

  • Compliance – Compliance is expensive and can be chaotic, given the amount of people and protocols involved. If the government decides to automate processes, the cost can be reduced, human errors can be minimized and data security can be improvised. It is great to see that governments have decided to take that leap forward and build the trust with customers.
  • Personalization – Companies compiling customer data can combine massive data, Machine Learning (ML) and AI to provide personalized service to customers throughout the process. Personalization will go a long way in achieving customer satisfaction, improve conversion rate and aiding in repeat purchases and customer recall value.

In a nutshell, AI and automation assist human agents in understanding their customers better. It could be about their preferences; it could be recommendations of products based on customer browsing habits and purchases or catering to individual needs of customers in real-time.

Measures to Master Customer Service Automation

  • Keep customer as the central part of your objectives – Design should be based around customers. Technology can be planned or chosen accordingly.
  • Be mindful while choosing partners – Collaborate with companies that share same ideologies as you. It will help you achieve results instinctively.
  • Human influence will be needed – We can’t rely on automation entirely. Things will go wrong at times and customers will still need human interaction for assurance. Do not ignore the importance of human intervention.
  • Adequate training – New technologies and methods like chatbots and AI might be a newer concept to your personnel. Make sure the team has gone through necessary training for embracing this technology.
  • Risk Analysis – Advanced customer service models will have complex technologies and there is a possibility of bringing risks to the existing framework. It is important to assess, analyze and track risks before, during and after service installation.
  • Assess your customer service performance – Have a framework where your customer service performance helps you to assess the advantages of new technology and practices. Continuous feedback gives an insight into where you stand corresponding to customer satisfaction and how successful you are at it.
  • Data Security – It is not just about data control. Be wary of data classification, data sharing, data handling, data integration and data analysis. Data compliance is the crucial part of public sector automated customer services.
  • Start small then go big – Implement the automation model in low-risk service areas first. After testing and analysis, go for the automation deployment in areas with heavy customer interaction.

Summing Up

This pandemic has shown us how to see the world with a new perspective and when you observe closely, you can see a lot of opportunities. You can see how unprepared we were to tackle the adversities w.r.t services. Especially in public sector, when there were no support staff and the whole world went into a complete lockdown.

Going for automated services is the only sensible thing to do.

Customer Automation Services can boost the government’s competence in serving people better. Undoubtedly, bots cannot take the place of people. But with proper design, planning and ethos, we can create a powerful and intuitive service in customer automation.

The new methods can significantly reform public services. The complex interactions can be accordingly addressed by the bots, and people who need to avail the services immediately will be engaged quickly and efficiently.

Our recommended customer automation service that companies can avail themselves of is Freshchat from Freshworks.

Freshchat is a live chat software with a right mix of human interaction and automation with 24/7 customer service availability. Freshchat feature enables you to implement chatbots using a web-widget, it is a pop-up that shows when a user spends certain amount of time on the page. These web-widgets make way for you to initiate a conversation with the website visitors and cater to their first set of queries effortlessly.


About the Author

Vaibhav is a digital-marketing professional with a deep-rooted interest in everything automotive. Regular collaborations with automotive tech guys keep him apprised of all new trends in the automotive industry. Besides digital marketing, Vaibhav is fond of writing and music.

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