Email customer service is something of a misnomer. We all know too well the pain of mailing a company, getting an automated message with all the heart of a cast iron block, saying “Thank you for getting in touch. We will get back to you in 48 hours”.
Ryan Falkenberg, co-CEO of Clevva
Forty-eight hours somehow becomes a week. Then it takes several more days of back and forth before your query is resolved. Efforts to automate the process so far have been, well, underwhelming.
Email volumes are high, and businesses don’t necessarily have enough people on hand to manage the channel. Some businesses have tried using optical character recognition and automation to provide instant responses. These are good for queries which require generic information or explicit actions performed, but don’t do well replying to those that require contextual advice or where the required action is unclear and requires further diagnosis.
The challenge for businesses is to find a way to automate most service queries received via e-mail, not just the simple ones.
Combining bots and humans
The evolution of virtual agents, or service bots, has advanced to the extent that businesses can now start deploying service bots into their customer service channels to help customers self-serve the bulk of their queries – often without the customer realising they are dealing with a bot.
Unlike their earlier iterations, service bots have the capability to handle the complex advisory-level logic required to clarify, analyse, resolve and action customer service queries in context, and in line with business rules.
They can engage customers via multiple self-service channels, including email. They pop up in context, and can have a hyper-personalised service-related conversation with the customer there and then – one that gets their query resolved without them having to wait to be put through to an available human agent.
So, in future when you send an email query, expect a reply that includes a link to your very own service expert – one that can ask all the right questions, offer all the right answers, and one that can then get all the right actions processed for you immediately.
As a result, you will only have to wait to talk to a live human agent if your request is highly complicated or requires a decision outside of standard rules. The rest you can get resolved by yourself.