For a long time, automation looked like the future of customer service.
It seemed great on paper–it will save time! Money! Increase satisfaction! Boost profits!
…But customer service automation did not save time. It did not save money. It did not increase satisfaction, and it did not boost profits.
In fact, automation actually lowers customer satisfaction, has high implementation costs, and takes a lot of time to get started.
That’s because people–your customers–know exactly what automation is. They know what it’s for. They know what it threatens. It does the jobs that are so common and repetitive, people don’t necessarily need to do them.
Customer service, however, is not one of those jobs. Good service can’t be equaled by an algorithm or machine. It must be practiced and enacted by a real, live human being to give value to your customers, not through automation.
Today’s customer support and responsiveness is more human than ever before. Salesforce Desk put together a wonderful infographic explaining the evolution of customer service from 1793 to today.
Some of the highlights:
1995: Amazon launches, enabling consumers to try online customer support/shopping.
1996: Email, live chat support enters the customer support scene.
1996: Nordstrom begins offering free shipping and returns.
1999: Zappos launches, later to become customer support legends.
2010: Customer service via social media becomes standard.
The Evolution of Customer Support
How do you predict customer service will shift and change in the future? Do you think automation is something that cannot be avoided, or is this one industry where humans will always be better than artificial? We’d love to hear your comments!