A person holding a smartphone with an "automated customer service" screen displaying the message "Hi, how can I help you?

Automated customer service is prominent in business today. It can still be considered as a fairly new technology and improvements are rapidly making the technology more adaptive to customers’ needs. When used correctly, it can increase customer satisfaction. When used incorrectly, it will dramatically cause the exact opposite. Here are four ways that automated customer service affects the reputation of a company.

First Impressions

Automated customer service can work wonders on a customer’s first impression of your business. This is because automated customer service programs always sound polite, professional, and helpful. If the automated customer service program gets to the root of the customer’s need in a timely manner, the customer’s first impression will be a positive one.

Streamline the Workflow

Let’s face it. People can get bored repeating the same script hundreds of times each day. Repetition can lead to problems like absenteeism, decreased efficiency, high turnover rates, and more. Automated customer service can be programmed to output and input that repetitive information so that your employees don’t have to deal with these negative feelings at work. This way, by the time a customer reaches a real human, your employee is excited and eager to help. This leads to a positive customer service reputation.

Need for Human Connection

Studies show that consumers say nothing replaces human engagement. At first thought, this would mean that automated customer service might give a bad impression. However, it all depends on how you use it. During an automated customer service session, your customer should always be able to get to a human. This means that if they suddenly feel the need for that human engagement, they can find comfort in knowing that a person is only a click away.

Shorten Wait Times

No one likes to wait in line. The only thing worse than waiting in line is waiting in a long line. This is a surefire way to have a bad reputation. Automated customer service is great for shortening wait times. In fact, with automated customer service, unless the system is down or overwhelmed, there is no wait time. This is very valuable for people who may need quick, simple help. In addition to negatively impacting your reputation, the length of a customer’s wait time for customer service can directly impact your bottom line. In a study done in 2014 by American Express, almost 60% of customers change their minds about spending money with companies who have poor communication experiences. In a 2017 study done by Arise, 66% of customers were only willing to wait two minutes for customer service.

The best way to use automated customer service is by having a healthy mixture with live, human communication. Automated customer service is good in basic situations, but for more complex problems, customers can become frustrated having to navigate through computerized menus that aren’t sympathetic to their needs. When used responsibly, automated customer service can elevate your business’s reputation to an extremely high level which leads to increased revenue and profit.

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T.R Powell

Technology writer and part-time blogger.

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