At HubSpot Support, we have a wallboard that outlines the status of our support queue and whether or not our team is meeting its daily metrics. When the wallboard is green, it’s a happy wallboard because our team is on track to achieving our goals. However, sometimes we get a significant spike in ticket volume which makes our wallboard turn an angry red color.
At HubSpot Support, we have a number of tools that help our reps manage and organize incoming service requests. When there's an increase in case volume, these tools automate basic operations so our team doesn't waste time performing repetitive tasks. With support automation, simple questions are answered almost immediately and our agents can devote more time complex and urgent issues.
In this post, we'll break down what support automation is and how it can reduce friction in your customer service experience. Then, we'll discuss some common support automation tools and provide examples of real companies who benefited from using them.
Any technology that streamlines or manages customer support functions can be categorized as support automation. As businesses expand their customer base, additional pressure is placed on their customer support teams. That's because more customers mean more support requests, and unless you hire more reps, your team will need help managing the spike in volume. This is where support automation expands your team's bandwidth and lets you solve more cases with fewer agents.
Automating support operations not only plays a major role in scaling your customer service team but also your business as a whole. Sure, you may like your traditional, manual way of doing things. But, as you gain more customers, your reps will get fatigued trying to juggle every incoming request. And, when reps are over-working the quality of your support drops. With 33% of customers willing to churn after one poor service experience, support automation could be the difference between a growing or plateauing customer base.
Now that you're familiar with support automation, let's go over a few common tools and how each one reduces friction in the customer service experience.
Support Automation Tools
There are so many useful automation tools that it can be hard to determine which ones your support team needs. So, to help, we put together a list of the most fundamental tools used for support automation.
1. Help Desk Software
A help desk is a platform that manages and organizes a variety of customer service functions. This includes tasks like ticket management, case distribution, inbox organization, and customer feedback collection. Help desks also centralize incoming requests and user information so your support team can quickly access and reference customer data. Having this information readily available helps your support team create more personalized service experiences.
Ticketing systems document support cases using digital "tickets" to record events. Whenever a new request is submitted, a ticket is automatically created and assigned to a rep. This saves your team time and makes case responsibilities clear to every agent. When your reps are more organized, they provide faster responses and are less likely to overlook a case.
Chatbots have been a popular support automation tool for quite some time. In fact, 69% of consumers have reported using a chatbot at least once a month. Chatbots reduce friction in service experiences by providing customers with immediate solutions to simple or common problems. This frees up your team to work on more complex or urgent issues affecting your customer base.
If your company provides email support, you'll need to adopt automation tools to ensure every email is accounted for. These tools alert your team to incoming emails and send automatic responses to customers. This creates a better service experience because you'll provide more consistent response times. And, when communication is consistent, impatient customers are less likely to badger your reps with repetitive emails looking for updates.
Check out HubSpot's Email Automation features here.
5. Self-Service Tools
Self-service tools don't necessarily automate a function, but they do save time for your customer support team. That's because self-service gives customers resources to find their own solutions.
One example of a self-service tool is a knowledge base. Knowledge bases contain a series of documents that describe solutions to common customer roadblocks. If customers don't want to call into your support team, they can check your knowledge base to see if their problem has a recorded solution. As your customers become more self-sufficient, you can expect a reduction in incoming service requests.
Now that you're familiar with some support automation tools, let's observe them in action to see how they benefited these small- to medium-sized businesses.
Examples of Support Automation
The following examples are real, HubSpot customers who used support automation tools to assist their customer support teams.
1. Yoga International
Yoga International is a subscription-based fitness website where users can download and stream yoga classes taught by expert trainers. They use HubSpot's Customer Feedback Software to send NPS® surveys to new users and collect data on customer satisfaction. After taking their customer's feedback into consideration, they noticed that customer-driven insights reduced churn by 20%.
Yoga International also set up a self-service support option using HubSpot's Knowledge Base Software. Its knowledge base is well-organized and makes it easy for users to locate specific information. The company believes that the knowledge base deflects over 1,000 service tickets each month. That advantage gives its support team more time and energy to provide above-and-beyond customer service.
2. Santa Cruz Bicycles
When Santa Cruz was first offering customer support, its team was using HubSpot's CRM to log and track service tickets. However, that changed when Service Hub was launched, which gave the team a shared inbox that managed and organized incoming service requests. Now Santa Cruz's customers can contact the support team using its email alias or fill out an online form. Either option automatically creates a support ticket which is logged into the Conversations tool.
In an interview with the HubSpot Research Team, Rider Support Lead, Kyle Harder, highlighted how this change helped Santa Cruz keep up with customer demand and increase customer satisfaction. He attributed the success to their ability to obtain, "more complete information from the form instead of multiple calls and emails." Customers can fully describe their problem without having to repeat themselves, which reduces friction between the customer and the support rep.
3. WashCard Systems
WashCard Systems found a unique way to use automation tools and enhance its onboarding process. It needed a system that taught customers how to use the product within a day or two of purchasing it. However, WashCard Systems didn't use one of the service tools we discussed above. Instead, they took advantage of HubSpot's Workflows tool which automatically executes a series of tasks once a condition is met.
Whenever a deal is finalized, a workflow is triggered to perform a specific set of actions. It assigns tasks and books meetings between the customer and the support team. It also sends customers emails reminding them about upcoming appointments. By using the Workflows tool in a creative way, WashCard Systems created an onboarding process that was quick and painless to complete.