Your Customers Want to Self-Serve — It’s Good for Them And Good For You

Your customers have more choices on what products they want to buy, where to buy it, and how to buy them. The only thing they don’t have is time. Forrester finds that over two-thirds of customers say that valuing their time, is the most important thing any company could do to provide them with good service. Bulk SMS Service

Customer service organizations should make self-service easy and effective. It must connect the customer to the correct answer or resolution. Self-service should be given when the customer is engaged, with a full understanding of their purchase context and in the flow with their actions within the application that they are involved in.

Self-service interactions should be seamlessly transferred to an agent. If this happens, that agent should have full visibility of the customer’s journey, so that the customer doesn’t have to repeat any of the information that has already been communicated. Self-service should also give customers the knowledge that they are anticipated to know, ensuring success in their journey.

When properly executed, customer self-service has the following benefits:

  • Impacts the speed of resolving issues and customer satisfaction: Self-service increases customer satisfaction, delivers personalized engagement, and reduces operational costs by eliminating common customer inquiries.
  • Drives customer engagement. Users access self-service content for advice on best-practices and peer input. Organizations facilitate customers with suggestions for new product features and could use content to understand areas of friction within that new product. In combination, these insights help the organizations develop products in line with what the customer demands.
  • Increases conversion rates and revenue: Proactive content, delivered at the right time in a consumer’s journey, helps educate the consumer. It gives them confidence about making the right choice and decreases the buyer’s remorse, which ultimately decreases returns.
  • Creates lasting customer success. Self-service content can help onboard new customers. It will help increase product education in the minds of the customers, including new features, deepening the success that customers have with their purchase of those products.

It means that good customer self-service delivers much more than just reducing the number of calls. If planned and executed properly, it allows you to digitally engage your customers and to empower them with answers and advice that deepen their engagement with the product and the brand — positively influencing their satisfaction, retention, and advocacy levels.

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Also. Customers are using more and more communication channels for customer service than ever before. They are also contacting customer service centers more frequently now. Companies are rising to this challenge as the satisfaction with the quality of service and the overall communication channel is going upwards.

Moreover, customers have little appetite for difficult and long service interactions, including navigating cumbersome interactive voice response (IVR) menus to connect with a human agent or waiting in long queues to be connected to a phone agent; and are hence increasingly turning to self-service as the easiest path to service themselves and find a resolution.

Here are some of the key takeaways from the latest consumer survey about channel usage for customer service.

  • For the first time, the respondents reported using the FAQ pages on a company’s website more often than actually speaking with an agent over the phone. The use of the help or FAQ pages on a company’s website for customer service has increased from 67% in 2012 to 76% in 2014, while telephone interactions have remained constant at about 73% usage rate.
  • Other self-service channels have also seen increased usage since 2012. For example, the use of virtual agents and community pages have both jumped by over ten percentage points each. There is also a tremendous increase in mobile self-service and speech channels.
  • Self-service adoption rates have increased across all generations from 2012 onwards, with the largest increases attributed to older boomers (between the ages of 59-69)  and the golden generation (ages 70+).
  • Online chat adoption continues to rise – from 38% in 2009 to 43% in 2012 to 58% in 2014. Screensharing, co-browsing, and SMS are other channels that are increasing in popularity among the young and old alike.

Thus, Companies must continue to meet their customer’s expectations of providing good services, and continue to invest and develop modern technologies and streamlined business processes to help connect customers with the right agent for the optimal outcome. Exploring search engines, coupled with real-time speech analytics to monitor customer sentiment, and recommend the next best step in the conversation. Look at using more pervasive quality monitoring and customer feedback to identify gaps in agent knowledge, and address these gaps with targeted training. Look at using modern knowledge solutions to reduce the manual overhead of keeping content fresh.