Unless you’re happy with providing below-average online customer service, you need to be quick in getting back to customer emails. Why? Because 77% of customers say that valuing their time is the most important thing a company can do to provide good online customer service.
As a customer service agent, you are constantly bombarded with emails from customers, so it’s difficult to reply in a timely manner.
The pressure is real. We get it.
That’s why we created this guide showing you how you can use AI-powered automation to manage your inbox efficiently. Handling all the emails pouring through, prioritizing them, and getting the right person to respond to queries in a fast and efficient way is where good customer service starts.
So, without further ado, let’s walk you through customer expectations on email response times, followed by seven ways AI can help you manage your inbox.
How quickly do customers expect a response?
Fast, yes. But how fast? Let’s look at the research on this:
- 31.2% of customers expect a response in one hour or less.
- 50% of customers who email you expect a reply within a 24-hour window.
- And, according to customers themselves, the most crucial characteristic of a good customer experience is a fast response.
Despite these expectations, only 12% of customer service managers focus on quickly getting back to their customers. This creates an excellent opportunity for you. If you can focus on responding quickly to your customers, you can easily stand out from the crowd.
How to improve your email response time
Here are the first steps that you need to take:
Set clear goals for your team by defining how fast their response should be
What helps you hit the bullseye here is an actionable goal – not a vague one. So how do you set up an actionable target? By defining what a ‘fast’ timefrane is to your customer service reps.
Set a quality standard by spelling out what a ‘quality’ response is
An essential – and often overlooked – aspect of good customer service is making sure reps give a proper answer to the customer. A fast reply should never be a meaningless one. That’s like getting your order delivered quickly, but with the incorrect contents.
Your response should either solve their problem completely or tell them that you’re working on their query (more on this below).
But a word of caution: never hold back on replying to customers just because you’re waiting to give them a full response to their email. If you can’t manage to reply with a full answer to your customer’s question, informing them about working on their query will save you from more work.
A good solution for this is implementing automation into your customer support systems to send an immediate response to your customers letting them know that you will respond to them within a given timeframe.
Prioritize getting back to urgent and important requests
Here’s the thing: some customer emails can wait while others can’t.
For example, a message informing your app is malfunctioning is far more critical than a new feature suggestion. Different topics have different urgency and you need to prioritize accordingly.
An excellent way to prioritize these requests? Let automation filter out emails that need immediate replies instead of manually going through the email whirlwind that your inbox is.Keep reading to find out how to do this.
Five foolproof ways AI can help manage your inbox
Automation helps you meet your goal of reducing email response time without you being glued to your inbox.
From specific automated responses to prioritizing emails based on their importance, urgency, and tone, there’s a lot that you can do with AI by your side.
Automatically send customer requests to the right department
Instead of manually forwarding emails to the different departments with the right expertise,, automate the process. This way, the people with relevant knowledge to the query are alerted of it seconds after the email reaches your inbox.
AI-powered tools, like Levity, can do this for you and automatically tag emails based on the subject line and body content. Unlike other tools, the workflow doesn’t just look for certain keywords, but takes the entire email into context. The tool learns what each of your chosen categories should look like from the data you upload and actions based on this
Prioritise customer emails by detecting their urgency
Automation can also sift through your emails to find the ones that demand immediate attention, like mails informing you that your plugin is failing.
But it doesn’t just stop there. Levity alerts you of urgent emails and assigns a customer service professional or a group of agents to reply. The smooth workflows enabled by AI helps you cut back on your email response time from the minute it’s set-up.
Handle queries with the right mindset
Angry customer emails can quickly take a toll on your mood and impact your productivity.
Since you can’t turn a blind eye to these, solutions that analyze the tone and intent of the message can help you to deal with appropriately.
Levity’s Sentiment Analysis makes this possible for you: It gives you a snapshot of your customer’s mood by filtering email messages based on their tone into neutral, angry, happy, or your own custom label, so you can delegate and respond accordingly.
Besides, having this information on a query’s tone means you can prioritize getting back to angry emails at your earliest. It’s a small attempt to calm down angry customers, the same as you’d do when responding to online reviews because you don’t want to fuel their anger by responding at a snail’s pace.
Use AI to file tagged attachments to customers
With mountains of emails coming through, it’s hard to keep tabs on the attachments you receive. So why not let automation take care of this?
AI automation can easily detect incoming email attachments by analyzing their content and applying tags based on labels you’ve specified.
Need to forward the attachment to the relevant department? Again, put AI to work by automatically forwarding the tagged attachment to the appropriate department.
Make notes based on the customer feedback you are getting
An essential aspect of improving your business is paying attention to the customer feedback you get. However, sending your customer support professionals down the email black hole to gather feedback can slow them down.
By automating this manual task, you can save a lot of time. AI can efficiently run through emails to tag ones that give feedback relating to the new feature.
You can study surveys results and feedback from cusotmers using the same techniques. For example, you’ve sent a survey to your customers to learn if they find your blog content useful at your marketing team’s request.
Instead of spending days sorting through answers, use Levity to analyse survey text responses. The AI detects the responses’ tone and automatically forwards the to the correct team.
This way, you can focus on continuous improvement instead of going through a mountain of data manually.
Bring your customer service to the next level by automating your inbox
A lot of businesses still perform all customer service tasks the traditional way. However, doing all tasks manually can take up a lot of extra time and leave your customer support professionals feeling drained and without enough time to focus on important tasks.
Until recently, making your processes smarty through the implementation of AI was only a possibility for companies of a certain size and with large budgets. However, thanks to no-code, implementing AI in your processes is something that all companies can do nowadays.
Managing your inbox with AI is key for improving your email response time. From detecting the tone of customers’ messages, to the urgency of their requests, or even helping you gather insights from your customers’ reviews - Al automation can really help you boost your customer service in no time.
Now that you're here
Levity is a tool that allows you to train AI models on images, documents, and text data. You can rebuild manual workflows and connect everything to your existing systems without writing a single line of code.
If you liked this blog post, you'll probably love Levity.