Your staff spends precious business hours solving mundane, easily fixable issues while your escalation backlog increases. How do you avoid an uptick in overhead costs while eliminating backlogs? IT support automation may be able to assist you with this.
Pitching in and helping your IT support providers can only go so far, but there also needs to be a change in your day-to-day operations. The easiest and best way to handle your customer support issues requires IT support automation and IT support managed services.
However, you need to understand the extent to which your support needs automation. How much is too much? We’ll provide you with tips on generating the right amount of support automation without going too far (or threatening job security).
IT Support Automation
IT support automation is when AI or software helps customers instead of live representatives. This is done mainly by automating your business’s workflow management process. IT support managed services free up your service desk staff to work on more critical tasks, which makes them more productive.
How Automated Customer Service Works
It is expected that most businesses will employ a wide range of AI technologies by the end of this decade. Here’s how automation for IT support providers works for your business.
Regarding customer service, AI chatbots attempt to mimic common human behaviours. For example, using natural language processing (NLP), AI-powered chatbots can imitate human conversation. NLP takes in spoken or written words, processes them, and responds like humans.
Machine learning, a type of AI, lets your chatbot learn from the conversations it has with customers and automatically changes for the next time it interacts with them. This is helpful for repeat customers, who don’t have to give the AI information they’ve already provided.
If your agents spend too much time on support tickets that are always the same, IT support automation can help. Automating support for commonly experienced tickets allows customers to access solutions outside business hours.
Suppose a customer has a complaint outside of business hours. In that case, your chatbot can talk to the customer and send a ticket to the service agents. Then, a customer service worker can take care of the problem while they are at work. By looking at how a customer talks about a problem, your IT support automation system can figure out how to solve it. For example, your automation solution can redirect your customer to a page on your platform that addresses a specific question they have. AI can automatically send customers to your help page if something goes wrong.
The Benefits Of IT Support Automation
- Whether it’s customer or employee-specific indicators, such as customer lifetime value and retention, or broader company KPIs, such as revenue growth, you should see progress
- Customers are more likely to appreciate interacting with your team and experience higher value from using your product if you resolve customer concerns quickly and handle those that arise proactively
- Giving workers the tools, applications, and insights they need via a high-performing help desk gives them a better chance of success, which boosts job satisfaction
IT support providers enable your representatives to do all tasks in one location (your CRM or communication application). If all tools are in one place, your staff avoids app-hopping, saving them a significant amount of time. As a result, they can concentrate on more business-critical tasks.
Your salespeople can monitor all end-user activity, from product use to their ticket history, in a single system by connecting your applications and enabling data to flow effortlessly between them. This advantage prohibits salespeople from switching between applications, ensuring no client knowledge is lost or misused.
The Drawbacks of IT Support Automation
Putting customer support automation in place may make your own employees feel uneasy. The integration will work well if customer service management shows IT support automation as an addition to human customer service and not as a replacement. If you don’t, your representatives might worry that you think a machine can do their job and that automation risks their jobs.
As artificial intelligence solutions improve, customers might not always realise they are talking to a chatbot. Automation, in this instance, has a downside in that it lacks transparency.
Customers often want to talk to a person right away. The multi-step IVR systems can hurt more than it helps, depending on the customer’s needs.
The Right Time To Automate For New Businesses
Businesses should be on the lookout for the following signs that automation is a good idea:
The task could be more engaging and take your attention away from more important things. If this occurs, your staff will have to step up. With automation, you can spend less time on it. Automation can take over and do these kinds of tasks for you.
Entering the same data over and over in different applications is counterproductive. It becomes a chore because it is tedious and time-intensive. Automation can eliminate it completely, so you can put your team’s efforts to better use elsewhere.
Similarly, how often does your team have to do the same process, and how predictable does it have to be? You can successfully automate the process if you can confidently predict and plan for it.
Generating The Right Amount of IT Support Automation
Providing your end-users (both customers and support agents) with a sense of autonomy is crucial. Offering self-service options allows them to feel like they’re in control of the service they receive. It improves your customer and staff’s experience when they feel at ease with the support. They’re more likely to adopt the software.
Offer Self-Service For Simple Processes
We recommend that you start with little details that make a notable impact. Automate simple processes like password resets, router resets, bill payments via IVR or online, and account management, like profile information changes and email changes.
Another very important and commonly used self-serve customer support tool is a knowledge base of helpful information. Social media platforms, streaming services, and even the very applications you use in your day-to-day operations, like Microsoft Cloud services, offer a comprehensive knowledge base.
Your knowledge base allows customers and staff first to troubleshoot minor issues they’re having on their own. This is very convenient for customers who want to spend a short time on a phone call with a customer service agent. It allows them to tackle a problem they may be able to read and solve themselves.
Carefully Choose The Kinds of IT Support You Automate
IT support managed services should help your business, not hinder it. Ensure that the processes you choose to automate can provide your customers with a solution while improving your day-to-day operations. Create a roadmap for each procedure you choose to automate and anticipate its pitfalls.
We stress the importance of being thorough when choosing what departments can benefit from fully managed IT support because the wrong choices could result in a loss of revenue.
For example, automating your entire IT support department could result in numerous misrouted or unsolved tickets. You must create a very intelligent application that follows hundreds of specific instructions for all the various ticket types to ensure your customers are satisfied. This is also very expensive to create.
A real scenario could be that your customer requires assistance with a simple router reset. Still, your ticketing system schedules a technician for them. The technician visit comes at an additional cost, whereas a router reset via an online portal or IVR is free. Your customer will be upset and possibly request a refund for the charge they didn’t need to incur.
It would help if you also considered your customer and staff’s willingness and ability to adopt the new automation. Older customers are usually less likely to adopt simple changes like online bill payment or technical troubleshooting. Removing their ability to speak to a live agent could result in many churned accounts or users.
Ensure The Processes You Automate Make Your Business More Efficient
Your support automation processes should make your business more efficient. Employees should have more room to carry out functions that require heavy lifting or human brain power, like auditing, coding, and cybersecurity.
If you opt for fully managed IT support, your other departments should not be left to resolve IT-related issues. A faulty or inefficient system has trickle-down effects on multiple departments in a business. Suppose your support system is experiencing technical difficulties that cost customers more than it should. In that case, your billing and accounting department will feel the brunt of it.
What if your user experience results in too many instances of customer churn resulting in all departments experiencing a significant loss of revenue? You will also require your staff to resolve the issues created by your automation which is the exact opposite of what your business needs.
Don’t Completely Remove The Human Element From Your Support
Some customers will always prefer to speak to a live agent. Ensure the option to speak with a live support agent is always available. This is in reference to the previous point we made about your end users being able to adopt the software you implement. Some customers may be reluctant to use the completely automated system.
This can happen for a few reasons:
- Customers may not believe their personal information is safe on your support platform
- Some people are not technologically savvy and struggle to use simple point-and-click software
- Poor software onboarding strategies
- You cannot resolve all issues with a few clicks
Adopting a fully managed IT support system can change your customers’ perception of the brand. Customers may think your brand is less personable and more focused on revenue. Even if this is true, good customer service often fosters brand loyalty.
For your older generation, who may need help to keep up with the changes, ensure they can still receive the same level of service as your younger customers. For persons with disabilities, ensure your automation can also assist them or provide them with customer service reps who can help them. Isolating these demographics can significantly affect your customer satisfaction rates and revenue.
Ensure Your Automation Doesn’t Lower Your End Users’ Ability To Communicate With You
Some support tickets still require human communication to resolve the issue correctly. Limiting your end-users to a chatbot or an IVR system makes ticket resolutions more difficult. Here’s why:
- A disgruntled customer is less likely to rely on software to resolve their issue
- Your troubleshooting knowledge base may not have solutions for extraordinary scenarios
- Underdeveloped IT support managed systems can lead to customer churn if your users can’t find the solution to their problem
- Customers who aren’t technologically savvy will always need someone to help them resolve their issues or answer their queries
- Users who do not understand the issue they’re having may inadvertently select the wrong resolution option
- Customers who are apprehensive about the safety of their personal information are less likely to use the automation correctly
- Some customers prefer to speak to a live agent and would rather cancel their account with you than use an automated system
All reasons mentioned above often lead to customer churn. For example, many Twitter users reported signing up for the platform years ago and didn’t know how to use it. They stopped using the platform for months or years at a time because they needed more guidance from live support.
Implementing software adoption practices resulted in users giving the platform another chance. Depending on your business’s nature, implementing more software adoption tools won’t quell your users’ concerns – especially if financial information is involved. Instead, implement feedback features such as surveys or suggestions sections.
Avoid Automations That Lead To Silos
Automation should avoid creating communication blockages within the business. Ensure that communication and access to platforms are decentralised. IT support should be able to reset a modem, change an email address, and reroute a signal. Other departments should also be able to troubleshoot your customers.
Telecommunications companies ensure that their billing, retention, sales, and IT support departments can conduct basic troubleshooting with their customers. While this delineates IT support overall, it also improves your customer experience. It empowers your staff to help your customers adequately. Providing your team access to these functions also quells concerns about job security.
Update Your IT Support Automation When Needed
Your business will grow and change, and the demands for support will too. Ensure your automation moves and grows with it. Make updates to your automation for all necessary changes.
If you start offering new products and services, ensure your help page has answers for common issues your customers may experience. Also, ensure your AI will redirect your end-users to the new product page if they have questions about the new product. As your ticket types change and new, easily fixable issues arise, ensure your automation can handle them to bolster your customer’s sense of autonomy.
Strike The Right Balance With IT Support Automation
IT support managed services free up your service desk staff to work on more critical tasks. Automating support for commonly experienced tickets allows customers to access support solutions readily. You’ll see an improvement in company KPIs, such as customer lifetime value and retention.
Offering self-service options allows customers to feel like they’re in control of the service they receive. But you don’t want to fully automate IT support as this can lead to silos, customer churn and disgruntled customers. Ensure your automation makes your business more efficient and helps your staff and customers.
Optimising IT can help you navigate your IT support automation. Please take a look at our service page to see how we can pave the way to better IT support.