Should Your Call Center be Using Self-Service?

Should Your Call Center be Using Self-Service?When you incorporate self-service options into your inbound call center, customers can utilize an automated menu or interactive voice response (IVR) system to find answers to their problems without needing to speak to a live agent.

Offering customers a self-service option can increase customer satisfaction and reduce your call volume – thereby reducing your operating costs. However, there are several special considerations to take into account when deciding whether to install self-service in your call center. Weigh the benefits and the pitfalls of this technology before deciding whether it is right for your call center.

Self-Service Benefits

Customers can use self-service menus to perform a variety of tasks. A properly scripted menu leads customers to the answer they need, provides them with the opportunity to navigate to a live agent, and decreases the overall call volume that reaches your call center.

Typical self-service content covers those issues that are most frequently encountered by your agents. These inquiries are easy to identify and solve with the appropriate information. This provides customers with easy access to the answers they need and diverts calls from the queue, decreasing call volume. As a result, only more complex or unusual calls make it through the system to reach live agents.

Examples include:Self-Service Benefits

 

  • Common service issues
  • Warranty information
  • Return policy
  • Product information and pricing
  • Business location, and hours

Potential Pitfalls

There are several important considerations to make when implementing a self-service option in your call center. Most importantly, you need to understand the demographics of your customers and how they interact with your business. Be sure that your self-service options are tailored to the wants and needs of your customers.

  • Inform your customers that you have installed a self-service system and invite them to use it. They will continue to choose to speak with a live agent over using your system if they don’t know what information they can find there.
  • Customers must be able to choose whether or not to use your self-service menu. Provide them with the choice to speak to an agent, and make sure that they know how to navigate back to the main menu when needed.
  • Don’t put too much information in your self-service system. Customers can get lost when given too many options.

Metrics and Assessment

A well-designed and accessible customer satisfaction survey about whether to install self-service and what kinds of options customers want, can be extremely informative. Your call center software can help you assess the service once it has been put into place.

Call Center Metrics

  • Check the metrics. After implementing a self-service option, be sure to track metrics such as call abandon rates, call volume, first call resolution rates, and how many customers opt out of the IVR for live-agent support. This information can tell you whether the self-service menu is functioning properly and providing improved customer service.
  • Ask for feedback. According to a report from ICMI,  44% of call centers don’t solicit customer feedback on their self-service menu, and 24% don’t know whether calls were being completed through their IVR.

Incorporating self-service menu options in your call center can decrease the number of calls that reach live agents, improve customer service, and lower your operating costs. Assess your call center’s metrics and the needs of your customers to determine if your call center should be using self-service.

Megan Webb-Morgan
Guest Blogger: Megan Webb-Morgan

Megan Webb-Morgan writes about customer service for small businesses for www.resourcenation.com. Follow them on Twitter and Facebook for more great info.

 

 


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