As a dedicated support leader, your customers are your top priority. And you’re keen to provide them with faster, more efficient support. But, you’re worried that automating your support workflows will make your customer interactions feel robotic and insincere. 

In reality, automating repetitive tasks will empower your team to put your customers’ needs first by solving their pressing problems faster, providing consistently high-quality support, and more. Far from being robotic, your team will have more time to focus on human tasks — like deeply understanding your customers’ problems, crafting personal responses, and providing more helpful answers to complex queries. 

This empathetic, human touch is key for keeping your customer satisfaction high, which, in turn, will help your business retain more customers. Here’s how to automate your support workflows to speed up your support and give your team more time to be human, helpful, and kind. 

Resolve your customers’ queries faster, while staying personal

“What’s your pricing?” “Do you have x feature?” No matter how complex your product or business is, your support team will find themselves answering the same repetitive customer queries again and again.  

For your customers, these are important questions, but typing out the same answer over and over isn’t the best use of your support team’s valuable time and talents. This will leave your team with little time and motivation to do what they do best — solving complex customer queries, delighting customers, and building meaningful relationships with them. 

Luckily, you can easily solve this problem by creating canned responses that answer your customers’ most common queries. These pre-populated responses will empower your team to send quicker replies and maintain a consistently high quality, which will keep your customers happy. 

Personalize your canned response for every customer 

Before you roll out canned responses to your team, it’s a good idea to share some best practices with them to ensure your customers still get the human touch they deserve. Encourage your team to personalize each response before sending it to a customer based on who that customer is and what they need. For example: 

  • Address each customer by their first name. Teamwork Desk does this automatically, so you don’t have to worry about any awkward “Hi [insert name here]” blunders.

  • Depending on the situation, you may need to tailor the response slightly to address the customer’s specific problem. 

  • If a customer is showing signs of frustration make sure to address that with an understanding, empathetic tone before sending the canned response.

  • Alternatively, if it’s a more routine query and the customer is someone you’ve dealt with a few times before, you can include a personalized reference (“Hope everything is going well in sunny California!”), or a GIF to add a bit of fun.

You’ll find more tips on creating empathetic responses here. 

Prioritize your most pressing customer issues first 

Picture this: you’re a VIP customer and you’ve just discovered a bug in the product that’s posing a potential security risk. You need urgent support, but it’s taking hours for an agent to reply to your issue. You wouldn’t be happy, right?  Not all customer problems are equal. Some are urgent and should be placed at the top of the priority queue. But manually sifting through conversations can be time-consuming and inefficient for your team. 

Instead, you can set up a smart inbox to help your team prioritize certain types of conversations based on specific criteria. For example, you can set up a smart inbox for VIP customers, enterprise customers, customers who are experiencing a bug in your product, those who have been waiting a while for a response or whatever you need. 

Then, when an important ticket comes in matching the criteria you’ve defined, that ticket will arrive in a dedicated inbox where a relevant agent can easily spot it and reply right away. This will help your team ensure no important tickets slip through the cracks, which will result in more happy customers and fewer frustrated ones.

Diffuse difficult issues with kindness 

What your team says and how they say it is just as important as delivering a speedy response. Using a smart inbox makes it easier to identify and respond to your highest-priority tickets, but when you’re faced with a tricky situation or an angry customer, don’t forget how important it is to take the time to carefully read their query, understand their pain points, and respond thoughtfully.

Make sure the right tickets get sent to the right agents 

Have you ever contacted customer support only to have your issue passed from person to person for hours before you get the answer you need? If you’ve experienced this frustration first-hand, you’ll never want your customers to feel the same way. 

But, your support team doesn’t have time to manually organize every conversation and assign each one to the right agent. So, what’s the solution? You can set up a trigger that automatically assigns the right tickets to the right person in real-time. For example, if an important enterprise customer writes in, you can ensure their conversations automatically get sent to their dedicated customer success manager’s inbox.  

This will ensure that customer gets a response from the right person the first time around. And, your team will have more time to solve more complex issues with thoughtfulness and consideration.

Solve customer problems with triggers 

There are lots of automated triggers you can set up that will help you speed up your support and solve your customers’ problems faster — for example, you can send emails and assign tags based on specific conditions. You’re only limited by your imagination and how well you know your customers. We recommend holding a brainstorming session with your team and coming up with a few ideas for triggers to try out that will best serve your customers. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

1. Flag on-hold tickets. If a ticket is on-hold for more than 72 hours you can set up a trigger to automatically update that ticket’s status to “Active” and add a note saying, “Hey this ticket was on hold. Can you check if it still needs to be there please?”

2. Resolve Enterprise customer issues ASAP. You’ll want to resolve your Enterprise customers’ issues as soon as possible. To ensure there are no lengthy gaps between message exchanges, you can set up a trigger that automatically unassigns Enterprise tickets from agents who have the ticket in their inbox for more than an hour. For example, the Enterprise customer might have replied but the agent mightn’t have seen the reply yet. This trigger puts the ticket back into the unassigned inbox so anyone who’s free is able to deal with it there and then. 

3. Follow a bug report through to completion. At Teamwork, we use tags to make sure tickets remain assigned to the agent that logged them so they don’t get unassigned by one of our other triggers. It’s much easier to follow a bug report through to completion when it stays assigned to one person. For example, if a ticket is given the status “Bug Report” you can set up a trigger to automatically apply tag the tag “Support – Bug” and remove tags like “Support – Testing” and “Support – Follow up”.   

Send consistently high-quality responses to customers

As your company scales and more agents join your team, training and onboarding them becomes more time-consuming and maintaining your high-quality support gets increasingly difficult.

But having an efficient process for training your agents is so important — they’re the voice of your company, the first port of call if a customer has an issue. Without proper guidance and education, they can’t provide the empathetic support your customers deserve.  Luckily, there’s a simple solution. You can create a streamlined quality assurance (QA) process with an automated feedback loop that empowers your team to consistently craft high-quality, empathetic customer responses. 

How might this automated feedback loop work? With the right software, you’ll be able to automatically send agent ticket responses to an experienced team member for them to review before the response is sent to the customer. Then, if improvements are needed, the reviewer can send the ticket back to the agent through a feedback loop with pointers on how they can improve. Once the reviewer approves the ticket, it will instantly send to the customer. 

An automated feedback loop will help you onboard and train agents in a more efficient and organized way, while helping them get first-hand experience that enables them to create more empathetic customer responses. 

Create a set of empathy guidelines for your team 

As part of your QA process, we recommend creating a set of empathy guidelines for your team to follow to ensure every customer gets an empathetic, helpful, and human response. These tips will help. 

Ask your customers how they feel 

“Empathy is seeing with the eyes of another, listening with the ears of another and feeling with the heart of another.” — Alfred Adler, Founder of the School of Individual Psychology

Empathy can’t happen in a silo. To make your support more customer-friendly and considerate, you’ll need to proactively listen to your customers’ needs. One of the best ways to do this is to invite your customers to share their feedback on their experience with your team. However, soliciting customer feedback can be time-consuming and let’s face it — daunting. 

There’s a simple solution for gathering customer feedback efficiently. You can send automated surveys to customers after every interaction to measure their satisfaction with your support team. This will help you improve your support and make it even more empathetic. 

Follow up with customers to find out more 

If some customers respond with a negative rating, we recommend following up with them and asking them what your team can do better. Getting to know your customers’ pain points will help your team be more understanding and spot opportunities to improve.

Automation can make your support more human 

By automating your support workflows, your support team aren’t destined to send dull, robotic responses to customers. If anything, setting up the right workflows in the right way will save your support team time and free them up to be more human and empathetic. Not only will automation help you resolve your customers’ queries faster, you’ll also ensure they get the consistent high-quality support they deserve. Plus, you’ll give your team the opportunity to shine and use their talents, rather than focusing on repetitive tasks better handled by robots (or the right software). 

The great news is that you can set up all of these support workflows easily with Teamwork Desk. Sign up for a free trial here, where you’ll get all of the tools you need to exceed customer expectations without compromising on efficiency.