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Why is email automation crucial for an effective omnichannel customer service strategy?

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Rashid Khan

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2 weeks ago

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The Philippines holds the prestigious title of being the world’s largest contact centre hub. However, in recent years, Filipino customer service agents have faced a tidal wave of dynamic industry changes, particularly in response to evolving customer expectations. The rise of instant-gratification-seeking customers has triggered a surge in inquiries across multiple channels, spanning chat, voice, and email. Also, ICMI research shows that 47 percent of contact centres are facing more complex customer issues than they were a few years ago. This trend reflects the urgent need for a scalable approach capable of delivering swift and accurate resolutions through personalised experiences.

In light of these challenges, there is a need for the industry to rapidly shift gears towards an AI-powered customer service automation strategy. This strategic pivot aims to boost agent productivity and enhance the overall customer experience while reducing operational costs. And one of the most important elements of this strategy? An omnichannel approach, which is pivotal for breaking down the barriers between individual communication channels and delivering a unified and seamless experience to customers. 

However, true omnichannel excellence in customer service automation strategy can only be attained when it also encompasses one of the most important channels of customer service: email. Email remains a fundamental pillar of customer service and overlooking its automation risks undermining the effectiveness of the omnichannel approach. 

Omnichannel customer service automation is now the norm

Before delving deeper into why email automation is important, it’s crucial to first understand the indispensable nature of an omnichannel automation strategy. In an era characterised by rapid technological advancements and evolving customer expectations, providing support through individual channels is no longer sufficient. Customers now demand more than just isolated interactions; they seek a smooth and contextual experience that transcends individual channels. But the truth is, 62 percent of customer service channel transitions are “high-effort” for customers, according to Gartner. On the other hand, 93 percent of respondents in the same survey reported high customer satisfaction when there was a seamless channel transition. 

Therefore, omnichannel customer service automation is crucial due to its ability to seamlessly integrate multiple communication channels and provide a unified customer experience. It ensures that customers can effortlessly transition from one channel to another without encountering disruptions or redundancies. It acknowledges the reality that modern consumers fluidly navigate between various channels and devices, expecting consistency, personalization, and continuity throughout their interaction. However, true omnichannel excellence extends beyond simply incorporating a few select channels; it encompasses a comprehensive approach that includes social media, chat, website voice, and, of course, email. 

The significance of email automation in omnichannel service strategy

The significance of email in customer service remains significant, even with the emergence of alternative channels like mobile apps and social media. Filipino customer service agents frequently contend with a high volume of emails daily, underscoring the critical role email plays in customer interactions. And delays or inadequacies in addressing these emails can leave customers dissatisfied and prone to reducing their spending with the brand, as revealed by research from Qualtrics XM. 

While there have been advancements in automation across channels like telephone calls and instant messaging, email has largely remained untouched by automation solutions. Many businesses still rely on antiquated ticketing systems to manage their email influx. But that’s changing now, thanks to advanced, generative AI-powered email automation solutions. 

Unlike antiquated automation tools that often produce generic and mechanical responses, modern email automation solutions possess the capability to comprehend intricate, unstructured emails, deciphering diverse tones, intentions, and elements. These advanced solutions, fueled by LLM technology, prioritise authentic human connections by delivering accurate and empathetic responses in natural language. They adeptly extract pertinent information from knowledge bases, facilitate escalations, and route inquiries to agents as needed, ensuring a prompt and effective resolution process. 

Additionally, by integrating customer insights from databases and adhering to content guidelines, these solutions generate contextually appropriate responses that effectively address customer concerns while upholding brand consistency. Gen AI-powered email automation solutions further streamline the classification of email queries based on intent, urgency, and customer segment, reducing the need for human agents to manually prioritise incoming emails. Email automation’s key benefits include real-time responses and personalised interactions that help a customer feel recognized and valued as an individual. 

In 2024, the contact centre industry in the Philippines must seize the opportunity to elevate their customer service strategies by moving beyond outdated ticketing systems. With the country’s extensive expertise in various business support services, there’s no excuse for clinging to antiquated practices. Email automation emerges as a crucial component in this evolution, aligning perfectly with the trend towards, or rather, demand toward, omnichannel customer service. Email automation represents more than just a technological upgrade—it’s a gateway to unlocking the full potential of omnichannel customer service. By embracing this shift, they can enhance efficiency, foster stronger customer relationships, and ultimately thrive in the ever-evolving landscape of customer service excellence.

This article is written by Rashid Khan, Chief Product Officer and co-founder, Yellow.ai

The insight is published as part of UPTECH MEDIA’s thought leadership piece, written within its repository of contributor articles. 

UPTECH MEDIA welcomes partner article contributions about the latest technology trends in the Asia-Pacific region. For inquiries and submissions, please send them to ed*******@up**********.com.

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