We live in the age of convenience, where customers expect a seamless, lightning-fast service experience. Customers of today prioritize speed and ease above all else.
You can’t afford to let antiquated customer service workflows slow you down or get in the way of delivering an exceptional customer experience.
That’s why many customer-centric companies are turning to automation, using SaaS (Software as a Service) tools and processes to give their customer service teams a leg up. With these tools, reps can simplify and complete their tasks in a fraction of the time it would take them to do manually—leaving more time for them to focus on other areas better matched for human touch.
In this article, we’ll closely examine the benefits of customer service workflow automation and how SaaS tools can help make it happen. We’ll also touch on some tools available to get you started down the automation path. So without further ado, let’s dive in!
What is workflow automation in customer service?
Traditionally, customer service reps had to manually complete every task related to customer support, from initial triage and ticket creation all the way through resolution. This process frequently caused bottlenecks in the workflow and expended valuable resources needlessly – both of which modern customer service teams simply cannot justify.
Workflow automation for customer service is the marriage of SaaS tools and helpdesk processes to get around those bottlenecks, insulating your support reps from the monotony of manually handling mundane tasks. With the right SaaS tools setup, customer service reps can automatically initiate tickets, pull the latest customer data, and apply the best-suited resolution in one fell swoop – all without lifting a finger.
Let’s look at an example to help you better visualize this automation in customer service. Let’s say your customer service team receives a support request regarding a recent purchase. With workflow automation, the ticket is automatically generated when it arrives and is routed to the most appropriate agent.
Once assigned, the system will collect customer data such as past support interactions, purchase history, and CRM information. From there, the system will apply suggested resolutions based on the collected data and present them to the assigned agent. The agent then reviews and finalizes the ticket resolution. That’s how workflow automation with SaaS tools can help your customer service team save time and deliver faster, more accurate resolutions.
Benefits of Workflow Automation Using SaaS Tools
Now that you are better acquainted with what workflow automation in customer service is, let’s get down to the benefits it can bring.
Facilitate efficient and faster resolutions
Utilizing SaaS-based workflow automation streamlines and accelerates your customer service procedure, plain and simple. Why? Instead of your team manually completing every step in the customer service process, they can use automated systems to take most of the burden off their shoulders and get results faster.
For example, without SaaS automation, your team might take several steps to manually triage and create a ticket whenever an issue arises. This will undoubtedly lead to longer response times, increase the risk of customer issues slipping through the cracks, and is generally not an ideal use of your team’s time. SaaS automation tools, on the other hand, can fully automate the ticket assignment process and even provide suggested resolutions for the customer, lowering response times and boosting customer satisfaction.
Bring Costs Down
The overhead costs of dealing with customer service issues can become exorbitant if you rely on predominantly manual processes. From hiring new agents to training them, to providing office space and equipment, to managing payroll, it can all add up quickly. SaaS-powered workflow automation can help you reduce many of those costs.
Automation also allows your team to scale up or down more easily, eliminating the need to hire additional staff every time you experience a spike in customer support demands. In fact, according to McKinsey’s research, businesses that leverage technological advances such as automation to enhance their customer experience can reduce service costs by up to a whopping 40%. Automation’s cost-cutting effect goes far beyond just eliminating labor costs, as it also helps businesses reduce their office footprint and amplify their customer lifetime value.
Personalize Customer Interactions
The days of generic support emails that only provide canned responses are long over. Nowadays, customers demand tailored and personalized experiences from their service providers. Recent research shows that this expectation shift is only getting stronger.
Almost 66% of customers expect companies to recognize their unique needs and understand their history with the brand, yet this same ratio of customers feels they are merely a number in the grand scheme. Workflow automation with SaaS tools can help your customer service team craft individualized interactions responding to each customer inquiry.
By collecting data such as purchase history and CRM information, staying up-to-date with the customer’s journey, and knowing which steps of the customer service process are completed or pending — automation provides customer service teams with the ability to create a highly personalized, unique experience that will leave customers feeling heard and valued.
Types of Saas Tools for Workflow Automation
To get started on the automation path, companies need to understand which SaaS tools will be most beneficial and make the most sense to apply. Here are a few major categories of SaaS tools that can help you automate customer service workflows:
Help Desk/ Ticketing Tools:
Today’s customers don’t want to put up with anything less than the best customer experience. They want instant and direct feedback on their queries, answers at their fingertips, and a customer support rep who won’t tell them to wait on hold. HelpDesk software, then, is the perfect SaaS solution to meet those customer expectations.
Instead of using rudimentary ticketing systems, HelpDesk offers an all-in-one package that allows customer service reps to get to grips with support queries more efficiently and intelligently. Some platforms even offer personalized text support via SMS customer service.
This software automatically assigns the most relevant support rep to answer a customer query, consolidates all the answers in a centralized knowledge for self-service accessibility, and collates all customer data for more personal interactions. All of this adds up to an unbeatable customer support workflow that can handle customer issues faster than ever.
Let’s take software onboarding, for example. Onboarding is one area where support agents are usually bogged down with time-consuming tasks like introducing the product to customers, providing personalized tips/tricks, and troubleshooting any issues.
Now, instead of the traditionally laborious process of talking customers through their tech stack for hours on end, you can create a less intensive learning path for new users with HelpDesk. This can include FAQs, onboarding tutorial videos, tips and tricks, and an option for customers to submit tickets should challenges arise that require more special attention. In short, HelpDesk provides a more efficient way to manage customer onboarding and liberate your support agents to focus on more strategic tasks.
Task Management Apps:
Spreadsheets and to-do lists might have been the go-to for managing customer support projects in the past, but they no longer cut it in today’s ever-evolving customer experience landscape. Instead, task management SaaS tools like Asana and Trello provide a more comprehensive and data-driven approach to workflow management that can be configured for different customer service tasks.
As customer support projects range considerably in scope and complexity, these tools help reps to collaborate with their team and break down big boulders of tasks into manageable stepping stones. There’s also the ability to assign tasks to specific teams or members, set deadlines, and track parameters that will identify any potential issues in the workflow.
This way, customer service reps can prioritize tasks based on urgency, delegate and reassign work as needed, and stay fully informed of the progress at any stage of the process – all without having to manually check in on every step.
Constantly switching back and forth between multiple software applications, entering the same information in different systems, or having to duplicate workflows manually will inevitably devour your customer service team’s time.
Automation-specific SaaS tools like Zapier help companies to sync up their existing tech stack and put all the pieces of the puzzle in communication with each other.
In essence, these tools act like a “middle layer” between different software applications and platforms, automatically transferring data between them without anyone having to enter the same information twice manually.
For example, say you use Asana to keep track of your support tickets, but your company’s stakeholders still prefer the look and feel of a spreadsheet. Now, you can either follow the old-fashioned route of manually following step-by-step guides to export and import data each time changes are made or set up an automation rule to automatically sync the data between Asana and your spreadsheet. The former will eat into your precious working hours, while the latter makes it all happen pretty much on autopilot – talk about a no-brainer!
Industry Use Cases of SaaS-Driven Automation
So far, we’ve seen how SaaS tools can help customer service teams to streamline various workflows and tasks. But what does this all look like in practice? Let’s look at some real-world use cases of how companies can use SaaS-powered automation to add value to their customer service operations.
Automated Customer Onboarding in the Software Industry:
Creating an ideal onboarding experience for each customer is a herculean task for any software company. You want prospects to feel fully informed and cared for from the get-go, but the process can drag on for days or weeks if done manually.
SaaS-driven automation can be used to bridge the gap between your customer service team and prospects by introducing automated emails, tickets, notifications, and surveys at the appropriate intervals. This way, customer service reps can focus on the tasks that require more personal attention, while automated onboarding covers the basics and leaves no stone unturned.
Personalized Customer Service Experience in the Life Coaching Industry:
Life coaches simply cannot abide by rigid, templated customer service experiences. After all, building trust and creating a meaningful connection with clients is at the core of this profession.
Much like how a life coach relies on the client’s history and objectives to inform their line of questioning and advice, SaaS-powered automation tools dig into the customer data to ensure client satisfaction through tailored care.
Automate Pre- and Post-Purchase Support for E-commerce:
When customers enter the buying process, they will likely have doubts, questions, or concerns that may require immediate attention. If these issues aren’t addressed promptly, customers may end up abandoning their shopping carts – and no e-commerce business wants that!
Here too, SaaS-driven automation tools can prove helpful. It allows you to set up automated triggers so that customers receive immediate feedback and assistance as soon as they enter the buying cycle. This way, their queries will be addressed before they begin to have any second thoughts.
Elevate Your Customer Service with Automation
Each minute that passes without your customer service team responding to an inquiry is another minute closer to a potential competitor winning that customer’s business. That’s the reality of customer service in the digital age.
But workflow automation with SaaS tools lowers the chances of this ever happening. By helping your reps be more efficient and reduce the time spent on mundane tasks, SaaS tools give them more time to focus on what really matters: providing a great customer experience and nurturing customer relationships.
About the Author
Sam Klaas is a marketing expert and content creator with years of experience helping startups achieve their growth goals through compelling content. With a background in B2B SAAS and product marketing, Sam combines his deep knowledge of marketing trends with his love of language to craft stories that resonate with audiences and drive action.