The Key to Conquering Automation in Customer Service

The proliferation of social networks and the rapid growth and adoption of messaging apps, web chat, and SMS can be challenging for companies that want to engage with customers and provide rapid responses. To put it simply, keeping on top of large volumes of incoming digital and social inquires isn't an easy task.

Expanding customer service programs to efficiently identify, respond to, and resolve customer issues and deliver great customer experiences has become the expectation. Done well, customers feel valued and companies grow a positive perception and become more relevant.

According to this GO-Globe infographic, 60 percent of consumers expect a response with 60 minutes, and 67 percent of consumers have used company social media channels for customer service. In a Forrester article, 72 percent of customers said they believe that valuing their time is the most important thing companies can do to provide good service.

To align with customer expectations, create a remarkable customer experience, and gain valuable customer intelligence, customers service organizations can benefit from integrating their contact center platforms with other customer data systems, such as CRMs and helpdesk software. They can enrich their customer profiles by tracking and recording customer interactions and engagement history inside their CRM systems. This offers agents insight into past issues, interaction frequency, and previous agent replies.

With a 360-degree view of customer interactions, service and support teams can follow up with survey questions related to resolving the customer issue and in other ways to service customers better in the future. This positively impacts customer satisfaction and provides valuable profile data that can be used to increase customer lifetime value.

Uniting customer service platforms with CRM software enables agents to quickly look up and reference purchase history, assess customers' levels of involvement, social influence, revenue potential, and overall value. With CRM knowledge, agents can instantly flag VIP customers and expedite inquires to the front of the line.

Connecting chatbots to CRM, helpdesk, and other enterprise systems makes bots more effective. The bot has easy access to customer account information, which can speed up time-to-resolution and enhance the customer experience.

Apart from driving engagement, chatbots add value to your customer service strategy. Augmented knowledge about your customers enables a higher level of customer support.

All the customer data you gather via a chatbot can be integrated and help sales and marketing creating more meaningful and engaging conversations. A more dynamic and complete picture of each individual customer allows organizations to listen and respond to customers using their preferred channels.

Integrating customer service platforms with back-end CRM databases can enrich your understanding of your customers and provide them with more personalized, relevant responses. Enabling customer support software to work across departments allows other business units to share information, while well-constructed workflows prevent confusion as to ownership. It can also enable your sales teams to identify the best prospects based on information collected from social conversations.

For instance, a customer can interact heavily with the customer service team and be earmarked as a sales lead or become eligible for a current marketing program. Likewise, marketing could create a social media campaign designed to convert a prospect and the information captured in this dialog could assist with customer service follow ups.

In an article written by Meredith Flynn-Ripley, vice president of messaging at, bots and artificial intelligence will be intertwined as bots become smarter and take on more complex tasks that help their human agents. "We envision a world where AI-powered bots act like an extension of the service rep, sifting through vast amounts of detailed product knowledge articles and surfacing that information to the service agent in a seamless way so the agent can continue conversing with the customer while the bot does the heavy lifting on information retrieval."

Increasingly, the way organizations interact with customers is becoming more critical than ever.All it takes are several unfortunate social customer service episodes to damage your company's reputation. Fortunately, it's now possible to integrate SCS with key CRM and other platforms to deliver the rich profile information agents and chatbots need to excel at service and support.

Jason Kapler is vice president of marketing at LiveWorld. Connect with him @JasonKapler on Twitter.