Putting the Service Back into Self-service

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Self-service is often the most efficient channel for the customer to get quick and easy answers to the most common and obvious questions. And because there is no agent involved, it’s the cheapest way for the company to provide quick customer service.

However, it’s use can be misunderstood by a customer for a number of reasons. They may feel ignored if they don’t talk to an agent and might not see the benefits of getting a speedy solution without a human responding to their request.

This situation can be easily overcome by taking a few simple steps.

  • Educate: Often, the customer simply doesn’t know how to use the self-service interface. You should have a “How-to” page on your website that clearly outlines what to expect when they select your self-service option. This might include shortcuts and simple codes that help them navigate efficiently and make them feel like you’re not standing in the way of them getting what they need.
  • Simplify: Your aim should be to have as few clicks as possible between the question and the answer. Take a good look at your user interface to find places where efficiencies can be made and examine all types customer journeys to see where they can be improved. This can be done through user testing and analyzing real customer experiences.
  • Ensure: One of the biggest turn-offs for self-service is the dreaded dead link. Imagine going to the effort of signing in and asking your question, only to have the answer be “404-Not Found”. If you are updating information or systems, always test, test, then test again.
  • Train: Make sure that your agents have a working knowledge of your current self-service offering. When a knowledgeable agent guides a customer through it for the first time, you create an experience the customer will want to use again and again. Once they’re hooked on your self-service offering, they may only ever want to talk to an agent in the most extreme circumstances.

Self-service has many benefits for the customer and for you. It’s a win-win when people can find what they need quickly and accurately without having to go through your call center. Companies who master the self-service channel have happier customers and a reduced call volume.

Darren Prine

About Darren Prine

As a Senior Sales Executive with Bright Pattern, I help contact centers improve their customer engagement, customer experience and agent utilization. Contact centers leverage our technology to allow customers to connect via virtually any media channel, device or application. Not only that but but customers/agents can move from one channel to another such as voice to SMS or from chat to voice.

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