3 Steps to Automate Customer Service Team
When communicating with potential clients, one of the most common questions we receive is, “My Customer Service team is too small. They cannot provide a sufficient level of support to our wide client base. What can I do?”
We understand this concern and would like to provide you with a more detailed analysis to help you find a solution. The past few years have brought many changes to the labour market, with contact centres being hit particularly hard. Many telesales employees left the UK, while others had to change occupations due to the lack of work for two years. As a result, companies are struggling to fill open Customer Service positions, which can lead to a decrease in customer satisfaction and retention.
According to Food and Engineering magazine, the UK’s labour productivity in the food and drink industry is unremarkable compared to other developed markets in Western Europe. “Food and drink supply chains in peer countries have seen better labour productivity gains over the last decade, leaving the UK behind. This has created a second productivity ‘gap,’ and the UK supply chain may continue to lose ground.”
If you are facing issues with your Contact Centre, it is important to understand that you are not alone in this struggle. However, you need more than this information to improve your business. We can work together to find a solution that fits your unique needs and improves your Customer Service team’s productivity. Let’s explore a few options in this article.
3 Steps to Automate Customer Service Team:
- Robotic Process Automation Strategy (RPA).
- Training Programmes.
- Technology Investments.
Robotic Process Automation Strategy.
We are currently living through the 4th industrial revolution, which is primarily focused on digitisation of manual processes. This transformation is rapidly changing the way technology, industries, and processes operate in the 21st century. One of the key areas of focus is a robotic process automation (RPA) strategy.
Robotic process automation strategy is an essential plan that outlines how a business can streamline its processes and increase productivity through the use of technology. It involves identifying areas within the business that can benefit from RPA and implementing tools and systems to improve efficiency.
RPA strategy is becoming increasingly important for businesses, particularly those with small customer service teams. By automating tasks such as data entry and order processing, businesses can reduce the workload of their customer service team and improve the overall customer experience. Process automation also provides businesses with valuable insights into customer behaviour, enabling them to make data-driven decisions and improve their offerings.
It is essential to recognise that relying solely on traditional methods can result in unexpected drops in demand for your products, or even worse, a decrease in the number of accounts. Such a decline could have a severe impact on your business, especially if your customer service team is ill-equipped to handle the influx of customers who are prepared to leave.
However, with the latest RPA technology, companies can implement AI tools like the Declining Account feature created by Allsop. This feature enables businesses to gain access to a drilled-down dashboard with their customers’ order history, receive notifications when customer behaviour changes, and check the overall trend of their latest products. By tracking customers who are purchasing less this week than their average purchase over the past 13 weeks, businesses can retain customers who are ready to leave.
Moreover, process automation technology provides businesses with better customer service and gives them a competitive advantage. By having a customer portal, businesses can automatically fill and update orders, allowing their team to focus on high-value tasks and re-engage salespeople in other aspects of the business.
This is exactly how businesses can adopt an RPA strategy to improve their overall customer experience and streamline their operations. This technology provides valuable insights into customer behaviour, enables data-driven decision-making, and helps businesses retain customers who are ready to leave. Therefore, it is essential for businesses to embrace change and adopt innovative solutions to remain competitive in the market.
Implementing an RPA strategy can significantly improve a business’s overall efficiency, particularly in customer service. However, it’s essential to understand that the strategy’s success depends on whether your team has the necessary skills and knowledge to operate the new technology. For this reason, training programmes are vital and should be a top priority when implementing a process automation strategy.
Training programmes can help bridge the gaps in your team’s expertise and ensure they can effectively use the new tools and systems. By providing training, your team can learn how to collect order information in one place, proceed with orders automatically within seconds, and provide the latest data to your clients. This can significantly reduce your customer service team’s workload and improve the overall customer experience.
Another significant advantage of training programmes is that they can help your team adapt to changes in customer behaviour and provide tailored support. As we mentioned earlier, one of the biggest challenges faced by businesses today is the shortage of employees in customer service teams. This shortage can have an adverse impact on business operations.
For example, Pret had 40% of its personnel as Europeans. After Brexit, the employees left the country, and the remaining employees were laid off due to the pandemic. As a result, the company now has limited resources, and providing customer service on the same level has become challenging.
However, with the latest technology available, businesses can gain insights into customer behaviour, enabling them to make data-driven decisions and improve their offerings. Customer service teams that are trained to understand and interpret customer behaviour can provide more personalised support, leading to higher customer satisfaction rates.
Moreover, training programmes can also help reduce the learning curve and minimise the time it takes for your team to become proficient in using the new technology. This can lead to faster adoption and implementation of the automation strategy, ultimately resulting in faster ROI.
It’s important to note that training programmes should not be a one-time event. Instead, they should be an ongoing process to ensure your team is up-to-date with the latest technology and trends. Regular training can help your team stay ahead of the curve and provide better customer service.
Especially when leveraging the latest technology, you can provide an extraordinary experience to your customers, even with a limited workforce. This way, the number of people in your team will no longer be a differentiator between good and bad service, and you will be able to provide excellent customer service, irrespective of your team’s size.
While we mentioned the need to automate processes, it is essential to do so only when your teams are equipped with modern technologies. Blaming software tools is easy when you have a limited number of team members and want to increase productivity. However, it is unlikely to succeed if they store all customer data in Excel, have poor visibility of orders, and lack an analytics dashboard to make data-driven decisions.
We discovered that 74% of FMCG companies receive orders by phone and email, manually processing incoming requests, and entering 50 to 100 lines in each order form, leaving them with tedious tasks.
During our research, companies mentioned various issues with collecting orders by phone or email. For example, the main problem was data mistakes.
Due to a high turnover rate in the Customer Service industry, many employees do not have enough experience or have never been trained to input information onto the platform correctly. Therefore, they process orders with errors.
On the other hand, due to the high volume of work, Operation Specialists key in data mistakes, leading to customers receiving incorrect products or a wrong number of goods.
Moreover, poor internal software is likely to be slower, more glitchy, and less reliable than the industry standard, resulting in more instances of customers being placed on hold, and a subsequent increase in overall call times.
This is where technology investments come into play.
With a third of businesses processing orders manually, only 26% of companies use a platform for order management. This automation provides them with better customer service and gives them a competitive advantage.
“We have a customer portal, and we couldn’t imagine our working life without it! Customers place orders that are automatically filled and updated accordingly in our system. It takes almost no time for the platform to fill the form when our orders have between 50 to 100 lines! Our team now deals only with exceptions or orders coming via phone. It allows us to reengage salespeople in other aspects of the business and allows them to take part in high-value tasks.” – Sales Coordinator.
In conclusion, small customer service teams can pose a threat to Food and Beverage businesses, but with the right strategies in place, they can also be an opportunity.
It is important to understand the challenges facing small customer service teams, such as employee shortages in the industry, and to find solutions that fit your unique needs. Adopting an RPA strategy, implementing training programs, and investing in technology can significantly improve the efficiency of your customer service team and enhance the overall customer experience.
By embracing change and adopting innovative solutions, businesses can remain competitive in the market and provide excellent customer service, regardless of the size of their team.
Do you want to improve customer satisfaction and take your small team to new heights? We have great news for you! We understand that implementing new technology can be daunting, so we offer a free process audit. Reach out to us for more information here.
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