10 Customer Service Workflows Every Company Should Automate in 2024

The Next Matter Team
January 25, 2024

In an era where the customer is king, the demand for exceptional customer service is skyrocketing. Businesses face the challenge of staying agile and efficient while meeting customers' increasing service expectations.

According to Jeff Titterton, Chief Operations Officer at Zendesk, success hinges on engaging customers in relationship-driven conversations and investing in technology that empowers exceptional service integration across the organization. This is particularly important for companies in 2024 as it enables them to stay competitive in an increasingly customer-centric market and deliver personalized experiences that build brand trust, loyalty and make customers happy.

Customers are crystal clear about wanting more control over their engagement with businesses, creating an immense opportunity for AI-driven solutions that help to provide quicker-than-before resolutions. A staggering 90% of businesses surveyed by Zendesk reported using bots to route customers to the right place, freeing up agents to focus on complex, higher-value tasks. 

In this context, it becomes crucial for businesses to strike a balance between automated self-service experiences and empathetic, people-first customer service. While technology advancements enable automation and efficiency, it is vital to ensure that the human touch remains uncompromised.

It is important to note that customer service tickets can range from simple to complex. Approximately 50% of tickets involve straightforward tasks that can be easily automated using a customer service platform such as Zendesk, or a no-code task automation tool. The remaining 50% entail complex processes that often involve multiple teams, systems, and interactions, both internal and external. 

Regardless of complexity, the potential for automation is vast, provided the right tools are in place. Adopting an "API-first" approach paves the way for integrating AI, workflow automation, and CRM platforms, unlocking unprecedented efficiency and effectiveness in customer service processes.

To effectively implement automation for improved customer experiences, it’s vital to understand the difference between task, and workflow automation. Depending on the complexity of operations and the size of your team, you may need one, or both automation types.

What is Task Automation?

Task automation refers to the use of technology to perform repetitive tasks in an automated fashion. Form auto-fill is a good example of this: instead of typing in, for example, customer mailing address details into a webform, a form auto-fill can grab that data from previous customer interactions, and include it already in the form for the rep to proof and confirm.

In business, we use dozens of these simple task automations every single day. They’re particularly beneficial in dealing with high volumes of repetitive tasks, as it reduces the need for manual input, thus increasing efficiency and accuracy. Task automation saves time and reduces mistakes in routine operations that do not require complex decision-making or multiple interactions.

What is Workflow Automation?

Workflow automation, on the other hand, plays a much more complex role. As organizations grow and processes become more intricate, involving multiple systems, individuals, and decisions, workflow automation steps in to provide guard rails, timing, as well as task automations for the duration of the process. An automated workflow instance orchestrates a complete sequence of tasks involving multiple parties, ensuring they all work in parallel, and nothing falls through the cracks. 

A prime illustration of its importance can be seen adjacent to customer service platforms platforms, where, even with efficient task automation features built-in, the complexity of many customer service tickets require the bulk of work to be done by teams and stakeholders operating outside the customer service system. The cross-team and multi-step aspect of these workflows require work to be orchestrated and tracked another way. Here, a workflow integration with customer service platforms like Zendesk, Front, and others offers a viable solution for automating and tracking the activities of complex support cases. With workflow automation, complex supports case workflows can be triggered automatically, all workflow actions (tasks, handovers, decisions, etc) are trackable, and workflows can designed in line with SOPs and any relevant compliance guidelines.

Understanding Workflow Automation and Its Relevance to Customer Service

In the context of customer service, workflow automation is not just a convenience, but an urgent necessity. 

Approximately 50% of tickets involve straightforward tasks that can easily be automated using a customer service platform or a task automation too, say, a slack notification being sent when a new order is placed for example.

The remaining 50% however, consists of intricate workflows that require coordination across multiple teams, systems, and interactions. These complex cases require the cross-system integrations and oversight that customer service workflow automation provides – such as the ability to trigger a workflow involving parts ordering, insurance claims, vehicle collection, etc. for a customer needing their car fixed.

Complex customer tickets requiring end-to-end orchestration and strict compliance can be efficiently resolved through workflow automation. Simple tickets are handled by Level 1 Customer Service reps, while complex cases involving other departments and specialized knowledge are managed by senior reps (Level 3). However, the limited availability of senior resources hampers scalable personalized customer experience. Implementing workflow automation empowers junior representatives to initiate even and manage all solutions, allowing for better scalability and efficiency throughout.

In this article, we’ll look at the 10 customer service workflows that businesses should consider automating in 2024. These workflows have been carefully selected based on:

  • their potential impact on customer service operational improvement (CS team efficiency + case resolution time)
  • the amount of manual workload currently required due to process complexity (# of communication touch points + number of internal/external stakeholders)
  • the influence they can have on increasing customer experience & brand loyalty (NPS impact, Churn reduction, reduction in contact attempts)


1. Customer Onboarding

While building the perfect onboarding flow can be straightforward with software and guides by well established CRMs like Zendesk, more complex workflows, made up of a series of such tasks, requires a solution built for automating a whole sequence.

Research indicates that the company's onboarding program significantly influences purchasing decisions for approximately 63% of customers. Furthermore, over 90% of customers believe that companies could enhance their onboarding efforts. With workflow automation, all actions are trackable, can be overseen with ease, and are compliant with designated prerequisites, which also ensure a smooth experience for customers.

See this workflow in action: B2B Onboarding: Partners & Customers

By implementing automated customer onboarding workflows, businesses can streamline the process, eliminate confusion for customers who lack a proper product introduction, and enable customer teams to focus on meaningful improvements to the flow. This, in turn, saves valuable time and resources while facilitating effective business scaling. Enhancing customer onboarding flows through automation not only boosts customer retention but also empowers users with easy access to FAQs, tutorials, and support channels, resulting in a more engaging and supportive onboarding experience.

By prioritizing customer support during onboarding, businesses can ensure that customers feel well-informed, supported, and satisfied with the product. Workflow automation plays a vital role in this, as it ensures all actions are trackable, overseen with ease, and compliant with designated prerequisites. This comprehensive approach guarantees a smooth experience for customers, especially in complex and high-volume work environments.

Read more: Customer Onboarding: the Ultimate Automation Guide [Updated 2024]

2. Customer Offboarding 

By using workflow automation, businesses can reduce churn, manage offboarding more effectively, and achieve better customer satisfaction. From customer exit feedback to account deletion, businesses can rely on workflow automation to handle the entire offboarding journey.

For instance, a company might use workflow automation to gather feedback from departing clients, automatically initiate the account closure process, and follow-up with a tailored email to encourage re-engagement. Workflow automation can also facilitate coordination and communication between customer service platforms and product offboarding steps, ensuring a seamless transition for customers. Moreover, workflow automation can handle offboards initiated through different channels, such as a user interface or a call, and route them to the customer service platform for further actions based on specific customer categories or parameters.

It can also enable sending a final statement through the customer service team or scheduling a follow-up call to address the reasons for churn. In essence, workflow automation enables organizations to prescribe and carry out all customer, team, and internal systems coordination and communication effortlessly.

See it in action: Customer Offboarding Workflow


3. Product Returns

As an example, a company could use automation to receive return requests through their web portal. An automated product return workflow can automatically send acknowledgments, identify replacement options, and manage follow-up communications to customers, as well as track returned items and replacements throughout the process. It can pull together the processes of receiving return requests, validating product eligibility, and processing returns, replacements, or refunds into a single workflow – to be managed by a single customer representative.

By implementing this automated system, effortless communication is ensured between customers, suppliers, sales, service teams, and internal systems. This eliminates manual coordination, accelerates resolution, and reduces the risk of errors. 

See it in action: Product Return, Replacement, or Refund Workflow

4. Claims Handling 

Automated claims handling workflows offer immense benefits for insurance companies, both in terms of resource management and customer delight. By automating the traditionally manual and time-intensive process of claims handling, insurance providers can not only expedite claims resolution but also ensure regulatory compliance. An automated claims handling workflow usually encompasses several key steps, including claim filing, validation, adjustment, decision-making, and payout. 

In a non-automated workflow, customers waiting for an insurance claim decision often experience frustration and uncertainty, which always comes with waiting for money you need. The manual process can be slow, with longer wait times as the numerous sign-offs, systems and checks are manually triggered and carried out. However, with an automated claims handling workflow, customers experience a streamlined and efficient decision process. The automation of claims handling workflows eliminates errors and provides end-to-end resolution with greater speed, while ensuring all claims meet legal requirements.

Read more: How to Automate Insurance Processes with Workflow Management Software


5. Rental or Leased Vehicle Replacement 

The process of managing vehicle damage breakdown and replacement can be significantly streamlined with the use of workflow automation. From the initial report of vehicle damage to the provision of a replacement vehicle and the repair of the damaged one, each step can be managed easily and triggered at the right time with workflow automation. 

For example, a fleet management company might leverage customer service workflow automation to receive damage reports, schedule inspections, arrange replacement vehicles, and monitor the repair process simultaneously. This workflow can integrate various platforms such as those used for customer communication or supplier management, and activate multiple stakeholders with timely decisions and tasks, enabling a smooth and customer-centric approach.

This same approach could be extended to manage real-time updates from a repair shop using a web-based form or a QR code, directing these updates into the system, and triggering the necessary actions based on specific categories or parameters. The customer could also be kept informed with automated updates, whether that's regarding the delivery of their replacement vehicle or the progress of their vehicle's repair.

In whichever way it's implemented, all coordination and communication between the customer, the repair shop, the replacement vehicle supplier, and the internal team can be comprehensively facilitated with an automated workflow.

See how it works: Vehicle Breakdown & Replacement Support Worflow

‍6. Customer Issue Resolution

The problem often encountered in customer issue resolution is that a first level agent cannot do a complex personalized resolution for a complaint in a complex case. The more time lost until they are directed to the right people, the more frustration builds. With customer service workflow automation, escalations, decisions, historical customer data, communication, compliance, and everything else necessary to resolve issues in a personalized manner at scale are structured and actionable in a timely manner.

This eliminates the need for customers to endure long wait times on calls and being transferred from one person to another, freeing up support employees to focus on more complex issues that require human expertise for resolution. This empowers support staff to provide better assistance while ensuring that minor complaints are addressed efficiently.

This not only expedites the settlement of simple issues but also provides teams with the capacity to deliver exceptional customer service during crucial times, particularly when handling escalations that could decisively impact a customer's experience.

Moreover, workflow automation can enhance customer data examination, generating insights that can optimize customer experiences and pinpoint areas needing improvement in customer support procedures.

Check out a hands-on guide: Bulletproof Customer Service with Workflow Automation: a Brief Guide


7. Technical Issue Resolution

When it comes to technical issues, there is no margin for error. By automating the entire workflow, all parties can work in sync, eliminating any room for errors or missed steps.

Let's take a look at a couple of examples to illustrate the benefits of workflow automation in issue resolution workflows:

Example 1: Medical Billing Company

Imagine a medical billing company that supports over 50 clinics, specializing in mental health billing. One of the common technical issues they face is when a clinic emails them to recheck the verification of benefits for a specific patient. In such instances, workflow automation plays a crucial role. 

The issue is automatically routed to the designated person responsible for verification, ensuring a prompt response to the clinic. With workflow automation, all actions and steps are trackable, making it easier to oversee the progress and ensure compliance with designated prerequisites. This not only resolves the technical issue efficiently but also enhances the overall experience for both the clinic and the patient.

Example 2: Financial Institution

In a financial institution, technical issues can arise that require collaboration among multiple stakeholders. For instance, a customer deposits euros, but the funds do not reflect in their account. In most cases, customer service representatives can resolve such issues by checking the system and providing an answer to the customer. 

However, in 50% of cases, technical issues may arise, requiring the involvement of additional stakeholders. Workflow automation can be a valuable tool in such scenarios. It helps the customer service representative take ownership of the end-to-end resolution process by providing a structured workflow that guides them through the necessary steps. This ensures that the technical issue is addressed promptly and efficiently, minimizing customer frustration and optimizing the overall resolution process.

In these complex cases, workflow automation ensures that all necessary tasks are completed in parallel, leaving no room for errors or overlooked steps. Whether it's a medical billing company supporting multiple clinics or a financial institution resolving complex cases, workflow automation proves to be a valuable asset in streamlining processes and delivering exceptional customer experiences.


8. Customer Engagement

Automated customer engagement helps to enrich the overall customer experience and to cultivate an emotional bond with a brand. This, in turn, leads to heightened brand loyalty, revenue growth, and word-of-mouth promotion. By employing omnichannel engagement, businesses can anticipate customer preferences and suggest interactions based on their behavior. Moreover, contextual relevance and personalized experiences, driven by customer data, further enhance engagement and drive repeat business.

The role of context in customer engagement cannot be overstated. Automation plays a vital role in mapping the customer journey and boosting conversions. Leveraging insights from past interactions enables businesses to deliver even better future engagement. By tailoring customer interactions based on their unique data, brands can foster long-term loyalty.

9. Product Feedback Workflow

Creating an automated product feedback loop can significantly enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of businesses across sectors. It not only streamlines the communication process, but also ensures better product development, informed by real-time customer insights. 

The automation process encompasses several critical steps, such as capturing feedback, evaluating the feedback for relevance and importance, incorporating pertinent feedback into the product development or service enhancements, and finally, notifying the customer about the changes made based on their feedback. By automating this cycle, businesses can minimize manual work, speed up the process, and reduce the potential for human error. 

An automated product feedback loop also improves customer engagement as it demonstrates to customers that their opinions are valued and have a direct impact on the product or service evolution. For businesses looking to validate product-market fit or drive continuous improvement in their offerings, establishing an automated feedback loop can prove to be an invaluable asset.

10. Abandoned Cart Workflow

Abandoned Cart Workflows can be a game-changing strategy for businesses, especially in the E-commerce industry. Leveraging automated workflows in this aspect not only reduces manual labor but heightens conversion rates, and re-engages customers who have left items in their online shopping carts. 

Implementing these workflows involves key steps such as tracking cart abandonment, automated email reminders, analyzing customer behavior, and tailoring personalized re-engagement strategies. By automating these elements, businesses can rescue potential sales, saving both time and the risk of human error. 

The data speaks for itself; according to Baymard Institute, 69% of online shopping carts are abandoned, but businesses using abandoned cart email workflows have seen up to a 33% increase in recovered sales. An automated workflow for abandoned carts can re-engage customers, boost sales, increase efficiency, and reduce errors. 

Other Tech Opportunities for Customer Service in 2024

Looking ahead to 2024, there are several key opportunities for automation in customer service. One significant area is the increased use of AI and machine learning in customer service workflows. AI can help automate the process of interpreting and categorizing customer requests, effectively streamlining ticket assignment. Machine learning, on the other hand, can be used to analyze past customer interactions and predict future behavior, allowing for proactive customer service. 

Additionally, the integration of customer service workflows with other business systems provides another growth opportunity. For example, integrating customer service workflows with inventory management systems can help automate the process of checking product availability or tracking deliveries. Lastly, the advent of omni-channel automation, which ensures a seamless customer experience across all touchpoints, is another promising area for customer service automation in 2024.

About the author
Our editorial team brings together no-code hackers, ex-management consultants, and business process experts. They share a passion for enhancing customer experience and operational excellence.

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