The Top Challenges of Modern Customer Support (And How to Solve Them)

Providing modern customer support is a challenge. The cost to acquire a customer (on average: $395 in SaaS) is more than the cost to retain a customer (on average: $12-15 for every $100 of renewal). All sales teams feel the pressure to retain or expand their accounts, but customers often demand a lot in return — they want fast time-to-value and personalized support every step of the way. How can you juggle all this at one time? 

Here are three ways modern support teams are using automation to provide the personalized, agile experiences customers want. 

Related: The type of platform that’s needed to automate ticketing

1. RMA Automation: Get a Full View of the Order and Return Process

RMA workflows are especially complex to orchestrate because they involve more than just financial systems. Return requests usually come in through customer service (CS) channels, and are often initially logged in ticketing apps like ServiceNow and Zendesk—or submitted directly through eCommerce platforms like Shopify

In order to design a scalable, seamless RMA process, you would typically have to make sure that this initial request translates into your ERP—and is then appropriately tracked throughout the RMA process, which often involves several steps: 

  1. The customer requests a return/refund 
  2. CS logs the request in a ticketing app
  3. A return authorization is created in your ERP
  4. The item is received, the refund is issued, and the request is marked as completed
  5. Forecasts and total revenue are updated to reflect the refund

Automated workflows built on an enterprise automation platform could be used to push RMAs into your ERP as soon as the customer (or CS agent) submits it. However, modern customer support teams are taking it a step further and turning to automation to create a 360° view of the process directly within their support app, reducing the amount of steps and app hopping. 

A global consumer electronics brand uses Workato to access over 20 APIs in Zendesk, enabling them to view their entire RMA process in the support tool. This way, if a customer calls, the agent has a centralized view of the labels, status, and tracking from their shipping provider, whether it’s been refunded or not — as well as their Inventory, SKUs, and 35,000+ item catalog at a click of a button in Zendesk. Despite the complexity of the process – which generally takes around 9 months – they were able to go live in ¼ of the time – just 9 weeks. 

2. Smart Ticketing: Create Modern Support Tickets Totally Human-Free With AI

Whenever a service desk ticket is submitted, it’s typically managed in apps like ServiceNow, Zendesk, Freshdesk, Jira, Freshservice and others. This includes triaging the tickets and assigning them to the appropriate support team member. But it can be challenging to keep pace with a high volume of new tickets every day. In some instances, tickets can go unassigned as team members may miss a notification or not check the support tool frequently enough.

As with RMA automation, modern customer support teams are turning to automation to rectify the issue, to the point where humans no longer have to get involved.

A prominent resort chain uses Workato and their CX tool to create a no-touch ticketing process. In receiving thousands of guest inquiries per day, nearly 20% of them were going unanswered due to sheer volume of tickets coming in. By using their CX tool and automation, the inquiries are now directed to a Recurrent Neural Network where AI routes the ticket to the correct agent and Workato creates a ticket in the CX tool, bringing the assignment rate up to 100%. 

Related: Everything you need to know about support automation

3. Customer 360°: Get a Holistic View of the Customer Across Channels

For companies offering a connected experience – on mobile, social and other platforms – it’s imperative that internal systems be connected as well to ensure time to value is fast and customers are offered the personalized experiences they crave which drive brand loyalty, even as an issue arises. 

Veyo, a non-emergency medical transportation service, is pioneering the next generation of patient transportation by offering the first fleet of healthcare-credentialed rideshare drivers. “We offer support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year in over 170 languages, assisting with eligibility, trip booking, recurring trips, and trip assistance,” said David Gibson, VP of Operations at Veyo. “With Workato, we are able to keep track of what’s happening with our customers on the road and log it in Zendesk so we have a real-time, holistic view enabling us to improve customer experience.” 

Veyo offers a potentially low-cost alternative to traditional NEMT, a program that’s state and federally funded and overseen by CMS. It also offers an alternative to Medicaid patients, who often cite a lack of reliable transportation as a leading cause of missed medical appointments – making the need for a centralized customer experience, for both staff and people using the service, even more important.

Related: A guide to customer 360

Other Use Cases for Modern Customer Support

For companies juggling multiple cohorts of customers – both B2B and B2C, for example – or have multiple instances of Zendesk from other subsidiaries, it may be helpful to have a centralized view of the customer per instance as well as the ability to compartmentalize and customize experiences per team (so that you can create the proper end-user experience for agents who are users in other instances, for example). With enterprise automation, you can connect multiple instances of the same support tool together while also customizing each instance per your needs. 

While ticket sharing is permitted between support instances in Zendesk, for example, ticket updates are asynchronous from the ticket of one support instance to the other. To remedy this, a bot channel can be created in Slack or Microsoft Teams specifically for the end user of multiple instances in Zendesk. The alerts can be categorized by instance so that it’s clear where the request is coming from and prevents the user from having to constantly switch between instances to check progress. 

Keeping Internal Teams and Customers Happy With Support Automation

In a world where 75% of customers expect companies to use new technologies to create better experiences, it’s paramount that you give your agents every tool possible to succeed. AI and automation will play a huge role in how customers perceive better experiences, so arming your teams with automated workflows across the support cycle will help keep them on their toes!

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