Automation of Technical Support or Customer Success functions can yield great returns, yet these service activities can be difficult to replicate with systems.
To effectively automate service activities, it is critical that the underlying processes be fully understood and analyzed to determine their appropriateness for automation. Effective service automation requires a combination of enabling technologies, robust content, and a willingness by customers to use these systems.
This report examines the intricacies and challenges associated with automating the support process and examines opportunities for significant cost efficiencies.
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Automation of Technical Support or Customer Success functions may yield great returns, yet some service activities can be difficult to replicate with systems.
A single service transaction may require providing an answer to a specific question, more complex service interactions may involve multiple, involved engagements to help customers adopt and use products successfully.
The goal of any service organization must be to achieve the optimal balance between cost efficient service transactions and comprehensive customer engagement that drives customer success.
The key to achieving this balance is in the approach a service organization takes to truly understand customer needs and formulating the most cost-effective ways to respond. Effective customer engagement may require a high rate of live assistance (personal-touch). Over time as the knowledge of customer issues is captured and the tools to help customers express their needs are available, service transactions can become increasingly automated (tech-touch).
This report introduces 7 key steps to successful service automation:
- Processes – Define and document key service delivery processes. Establish which processes are conducive to automation.
- Establish the Appropriate Level of Automation – Establish how much automation is appropriate for customer interactions. Factors should include the level of intimacy desired for customer transactions, they ability for customer to use automated systems and the availability of tools for successful automation.
- Evaluate Available Technologies – Technology is the enabler of service automation. Identify the technologies that can provide the capabilities that can deliver a satisfying customer experience.
- Focus on Content – Service automation is about understanding what customers need and providing them with an effective solution. Service automation relies on the technologies that facilitate the service delivery processes as well as the underlying knowledge and expertise that customers seek. Content development is a critical factor in service automation success.
- Define and Measure Success – While adoption of self-service is widespread, performance has not been maximized. Self-service transactions provide a great deal of information about what customers are looking for and how successful they are in finding the information they need. Efforts must be made to define service automation success metrics and to measure performance against them.
- Treat this as a Journey – Service automation and the creation of self-service offerings is an ongoing effort to identify ways to provide customers with the resources they need quickly and efficiently. An ongoing commitment to analyze performance and allocate resources is essential to maximizing the benefits of automating the service experience.
- Don’t Over Automate – Automate service transactions and processes but do not try to use automation as a surrogate for sustaining a customer relationship. Sometimes direct personal interaction is essential.
This Report Includes:
- Executive Summary
- Service Automation
- It Takes More than Technology
- Access to Knowledge
- The Cost of Service
- Service Delivery Cost Efficiency Goals
- The Impact of Escalations
- Balancing Costs Efficiencies with Effectiveness
- Accelerating Service Cost Efficiencies
- The Service Delivery Lifecycle
- Service Delivery Processes
- A Critical Process within the Service Delivery Lifecycle
- Automating Service Delivery
- Establishing the Customer Interaction Process
- Engaging the Customer
- Opportunities to Automate Customer Engagement
- A Customer Engagement Scenario
- Unlocking Customer Intent
- A Transaction Analysis Scenario
- Formulating the Response
- The Critical Role of Knowledge
- Beyond the Technote
- Training Machines to “Think”
- Recommendations, Cues, and Transfers
- Next Steps for Automating the Service Experience
- Establish the Appropriate Level of Automation
- Evaluate Available Technologies
- Focus on Content
- Define and Measure Success
- Treat Automation as a Journey
- Don’t Over Automate