Customer Happiness in the Age of Automation

To never disappoint your customers might be impossible, but it’s a goal well worth pursuing in my book. Lapses will inevitably set you back, but the real fault is to leave the customer at a loss when things go south.

At Pagely, customer happiness starts with getting the basics right. That means zero robots sending out canned response to complex challenges. Artificial Intelligence is an amazing thing, and while I can’t wait to take split-second decisions in traffic out of the hands of distracted drivers, I’m no closer to trusting computers to decide what’s best for the customers we serve.

It comes down to the value of personal relationships. When capable support staff are charged with educating customers and getting to the root of the issue, rather than jumping at one-size-fits-all solutions, problems are less likely to recur. And when we win a client’s trust, we can get right to investigating our options, and ultimately finding solutions that everyone understands and agrees on. Sometimes that means convincing a customer that there’s a better alternative to the strategy they’ve brought to us, rather than running with the first solution on the table.

Instead of approaching support as a transactional relationship, we like to think of ourselves as an extension of a client’s team: fully invested, immersed in the company’s product and goals, and equipped for success. Again, zero robots stepping in here.

Our customer support lead Kristopher Graff explains it well:

“Everyone has been through the customer service rigmarole; you contact support, your issue gets passed around, then eventually escalated and you’re lucky to have the issue resolved within the week. We understand this frustration and see what a poor model that is. We take pride in being involved with the client both technically and personally so you understand that from signup to launch we have your back.”

Our support staff work tirelessly to ensure they are fully equipped with the knowledge and resources to empower customers to take full advantage of our platform. We hire dedicated experts who have as much passion and strong leadership traits as they have technical skill. As a result, we’re able to get things done efficiently and thoroughly; 81% of all our support cases are resolved within two hours.

We’ve gone a long way down the high touch, human-driven customer service road, but that’s not to suggest that there’s no place for automation. To scale successfully, it’s crucial to use the tools at your disposal, like Zendesk – which we’ve used since day one and find invaluable for keeping the team on track as we scale. Automation can help avoid mistakes, speed up processes, empower customers to explore solutions on their own, and, perhaps most importantly free up man hours for getting into the meat of the challenge.

We find automation is at its most useful when our support staff are able to identify a common problem and send it up to engineering to find an automated fix. The real interactions that take place everyday help us identify patterns, understand both technical and human errors, and prioritize automated solutions to frequent problems, but not every problem.

Over the years, we’ve learned a lot from our successes and, occasionally our failures in customer service. Past errors in communication have led us to make transparency a core part of our customer service philosophy. It comes back to building trust from the outset, and not just sending someone in when all else fails.

The not-so-secret to customer happiness is real people building real relationships, and you’re not going to win if the human touch only comes in when you’ve already crashed and burned. Don’t take my word for it; hear what our customers have to say.

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