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What is Customer Service Automation and How Your Company Can Benefit?

Understand why you should automate customer service tasks to free up your customer support team. Explore the advantages of customer service automation.

Your customers are an essential part of your business. Unfortunately, many small businesses don't have the resources to provide consistent customer service. Not only can bad customer service damage your reputation, but it can make you lose customers and profits.

What's a small business supposed to do if it can't afford to hire full-time customer service agents, especially if you don't get daily inquiries from current and potential customers? As a result, many companies use customer service automation to improve their internal and external processes, enabling better customer service, productivity, and efficiency.

Automating customer service can improve customer satisfaction to increase sales and keep customers coming back. But of course, you should consider the pros and cons of automated customer service before implementing new processes.

Can customer service automation help improve the customer experience and convert more prospects into paying customers? Let's discuss customer service automation, its pros and cons, and best practices to help you leverage automated customer service tools to satisfy and delight your customers.

What is customer service automation?

Customer service automation is the process of using automated service tools to streamline internal and external processes to reduce the time it takes to resolve issues and address customer concerns.

With automated customer service, your business can use tools to simplify, save time, and improve service quality by reducing the amount of interaction between human staff and customers.

Examples of customer service automation

Customer service automation refers to using various tools to streamline customer support.

There are several ways and tools you can use to do this, including the following:


Chatbots allow you to address common customer concerns and solve basic issues. Customers can have an option for the type of information they need, and the chatbot will give them a response.

For example, if someone is looking for shipping information, the bot might send them a link where they can track their delivery. Chatbots rely on your ability to program their responses, so they can take considerable time, especially if you want to provide your customers with many options and responses.

Live chat

You can connect human customer care reps to customers in real-time with live chat. No longer will customers have to wait on hold on the phone, leave a voicemail, or send an email without knowing when they'll hear back from you. In addition, live chat can help solve problems in real-time.

For example, if a customer has a lost package, they can contact the live chat agent to resolve the issue. Meanwhile, if prospective customers have questions about products or services, they can talk directly to the customer service rep in real-time to help them make a purchasing decision.


Automated customer service doesn't just manage the external interactions between customer service reps and customers. Instead, it can automate internal workflows and processes to streamline operations while providing customers with faster responses by automating customer service tasks.

With automated workflows, internal customer service teams can work together to solve customer issues. For example, if an agent must pick up where another left off, customer service software will provide them with the conversation history and customer data to effectively resolve the complaint.

Knowledge base & FAQs

Sometimes customers don't want to contact your business for questions, so they might look around your site for answers. A knowledge base and FAQs work as self-service options when customers have general questions about your business or its products and services.


You can use email marketing strategies to streamline your customer service processes by sending automated emails to individuals based on their recent purchases. For example, if you have a complicated product, you can send follow-up emails with instructions to ensure customers know how to use them.

In addition, email marketing automation allows you to set up workflows for how incoming emails are sorted and to whom they're sent. For example, you can automatically assign tickets based on keywords used in the mail or based on a sender's zip code and other factors.

How does automation improve customer service?

Customer service automation solutions can improve every aspect of your customer service processes to help your business grow and succeed. Here are a few of the benefits of automated customer service:

Reduced costs

Automated customer service can drastically reduce customer service costs because it requires less human-to-human interaction.

Instead of hiring a full staff to handle customer service requests, you can rely on several automation tools and techniques to address customer concerns in a timely manner, allowing reps to focus on more pressing tasks to resolve more issues in a day for less money.


Customer service software is scalable and can prevent the need to hire more customer service reps as you scale your audience. With this comes cost reduction, faster times to resolutions, and increased efficiency.


We've already mentioned efficiency a few times. However, it's worth noting that providing customers with options for communicating with your business when they have a concern will improve their overall satisfaction with your brand.

Customers want speed and efficiency, especially when they are concerned about your products or services, and your business has to meet these demanding expectations. Since customers expect fast responses, automated customer service can reduce response times to provide consistent support for all your customers.

24/7 support

Customer service software allows your business to be available to customers anytime. For example, chatbots can answer common questions at any time of day. Of course, live chat software can do the same, but you'll need overnight staff, which may not be feasible for some small businesses.

Reduces errors

Humans make mistakes, and while that's understandable, your customers want to feel like you care about them enough to avoid mistakes. Customer service can be repetitive, but automation makes it easier to handle multiple inquiries without making mistakes. Multiple support agents may have to work together to solve customer issues, an experience that can be frustrating for the customer.

Since customer support teams don't always have time to review customer issues before connecting with them, they may ask the same questions a customer has already answered, making the experience even more frustrating.

With customer service automation solutions, everything the support team needs to know about the customers will be right in front of them, including chat history, to improve the customer experience by reducing errors.

Improved customer experience

With all the other benefits in mind, automated customer service improves customer satisfaction by improving efficiency to reduce the time it takes for resolutions.

A better experience can translate to higher customer acquisition rates by providing real-time support to potential customers with questions, and keeping them on your website and in the customer journey instead of waiting for a response.

Common drawbacks of customer service automation to avoid

No technology or process is perfect. While customer service automation solutions can help you streamline your customer service processes, there are a few downsides, including the following:

Lack of human interaction

Some customers prefer human interaction because they don't trust bots. While chatbots can answer many common questions, they can't do everything. Therefore, you shouldn't rely solely on them because it can be frustrating for customers not to have access to a real human.

In addition, while AI chatbots have improved drastically over the years, they still can't provide the same level of customer service excellence as an experienced service rep.

Can't solve complex issues

The key to customer success is solving issues of all types. Unfortunately, some problems can't be solved by automated customer service.

For example, if a customer has a serious issue or complaint, such as billing problems, they want to talk to a real human. In addition, self-service options, such as knowledge bases, may not be comprehensive enough to cover every customer service problem. If your customer service automation can't connect customers to a human who can solve their issues, they'll quickly become frustrated.

Remember, some of your customers may prefer human interaction from the beginning, while others will look around your website for answers. Unfortunately, chatbots can't diffuse situations as easily as humans can.

Therefore, if you're dealing with an angry customer, it's always best to have a human sales rep work with them to resolve the issue since bots can make it even more frustrating for them.

Not a complete solution

Automated customer service will streamline your internal and external processes, but it's not a complete solution. Ultimately, your automation has to be set up properly to be effective.

For instance, you have to create responses for chatbots and set up internal workflows. As a result, your customer service automation will only be as strong as your initial setup. Even then, technology isn't the solution to poor customer service.

For example, if you create a knowledge base in hopes it will take care of all possible customer requests for you and ignore any incoming emails, you can't effectively serve your customers, resulting in a poor experience that could damage your reputation.

It may be a barrier

There are several types of customer service automation, and some of them offer more personal experiences than others. For example, a knowledge base is impersonal.

Although it will allow your customers to answer their own questions, it will never be comprehensive enough to answer all possible customer inquiries. Instead, automation technology might put a barrier between you and your customers, especially if you don't employ human sales reps.

Relying on chatbots and other types of automation without a human touch can frustrate customers and prevent them from forming connections and building trust with your business.

6 customer service automation best practices to follow

Customer service automation software is only as effective as the initial setup.

If you don't set up workflows or create canned responses for customer service representatives, you may not be able to delight your customers.

Here are a few automated customer service best practices to help you improve the customer experience:

Allow access to human customer service reps

It can quickly become frustrating for the customer if you only use chatbots with limited functionality and responses. Even if you don't have a full customer service staff, you should still have someone available to answer customer inquiries promptly.

Not doing so means potential customers could fall out of the customer journey because they'll have to email your business and wait for a response. When you respond, they may no longer be interested in your products or services.

In addition, even automation software can't do it all. Many people prefer a human touch to feel like the business cares about its complaints instead of building a barrier between itself and the customers. You can quickly lose prospective and existing customers if you rely too heavily on service automation software.

Add live chat to your website

A live chat option on your website will help customers easily connect to customer service reps in real-time. Live chat has a higher engagement rate than chatbots because they allow customers to interact with humans who they know can solve their problems.

Adding a live chat to your website also enables you to monitor conversations to find the most common questions and find new ways to address them. For example, if you realize you have common questions about your return policy, you can add them to an FAQ section on your site.

Alongside a live chat, you can use chatbots to handle inquiries during off-hours or initial interactions to help segment customer inquiries and separate common questions the bot can answer from those needing human intervention.

Create self-service options

Knowledge bases and FAQs can help customers find answers to their questions before they contact your business, freeing up time for customer service agents to focus on more important customer issues. In addition, preparing self-service tools can help customers resolve their own issues whenever possible.

Of course, to create these options, you must know what common questions your customers have. This is where monitoring the live chat conversations can help because it allows you to identify the most important questions to your customers to help them stay engaged on your website instead of getting distracted.

A knowledge base should incorporate everything from troubleshooting and FAQs to how-to guides. For example, if you operate an e-commerce business that sells clothing, you may provide how-to guides for how to wash them to prevent shrinkage or pilling.

Integrate with other tools

Customer service automation tools can integrate with customer relationship marketing automation tools to improve the customer experience at every touchpoint.

If you have important news to share about new products and services, you can use the information you've collected on customers to send a targeted marketing campaign.

In addition, your customer service automation tools can enhance your marketing strategies by telling you what customers want to know about your business.

Look at common questions about your products to determine whether or not you should update the messaging in your marketing campaigns to educate customers.

Use canned responses

Canned responses allow you to scale your customer service processes by answering questions more efficiently. Having templates for reps to edit when talking to customers via live chat can reduce the time it takes for issues to be resolved while making agents more productive.

Of course, one of the biggest complaints about automated customer service is that it lacks a personal touch. Even though customers can talk to a live agent, the agents working with canned responses might not personalize them enough and will instead sound robotic, causing further frustration for customers.

Therefore, when using canned responses to save time, you should ensure your reps personalize them enough to solve a customer's problem and provide them with a better experience.

Get feedback

You won't know whether your automated customer service is working and delighting customers if you don't ask them. Gathering customer feedback after a problem has been addressed is crucial to ensure you provide customers with a good experience, whether using live chat or chatbot software.

Of course, you should get this feedback immediately after interacting with your business when customers are more likely to share this information with you. Luckily, many customer service automation solutions make it easy to collect this information by using an automated prompt to ask for star reviews.

Get the most out of your customer service team by automating tasks

With the right customer service automation software, you can improve your customer service and allow agents to focus on interactions that require human intervention. Improved speed to resolution, efficiency, and productivity can improve the customer experience to delight customers no matter where they are in the customer journey.

Mailchimp makes it easy to improve the customer experience with its marketing automation tools. With automated customer service, marketers can collect valuable information about their customers to offer personalized experiences at every touchpoint. Try our free marketing automation tools to get the most out of your customer service team.

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