Self-service is one of the biggest topics in CX and in the contact center world right now. While the industry is no stranger to new technologies and automation, modern self-service tools have really changed the game when it comes to supporting customers.
You may have already interacted with self-service tools as a customer. Chatbots, FAQs, and assistive AI all fall under this umbrella — with that said, it’s not enough to implement these resources. To work effectively, they need to be integrated into your contact center strategy.
We asked influencers across the CX and contact center spaces to weigh in on the self-service trend. Watch the video or read on for the highlights!
Self-Service is Now a Standard Expectation
Today’s customers are more resourceful than ever. They want the power to solve their own problems, and they expect your business to give them the means to do so. Shai Berger, CEO of Fonolo, points out that self-serve used to be a tactic to deter customers from connecting with an agent.
The difference with this latest trend? Customers are the ones in charge, demanding control over their support experience. “At some point, the plot shifted. Now consumers really prefer and expect self-serve options,” says Shai.
“At some point, the plot shifted. Now consumers really prefer and expect self-serve options.”
– Shai Berger, CEO at Fonolo
Sue Duris, Principal Consultant at M4 Communications Inc., says many businesses misstep by implementing self-service options without giving any real thought to what their customers want.
“The customer voice needs to come into play here to determine what is a candidate for personal touch; to be able to personalize that whole experience.,” says Sue.
Customers Want Self-Service for Easy Solutions
We’ve established that customers want self-service, but as you may have guessed, there’s a catch. They only want these solutions if they make their lives easier.
That brings us to a conversation around friction in the customer experience. David Beaumont is a Customer Support Expert at customerserviceisreal.com. He says customers expect self-service solutions to relieve stress — but a poor setup may achieve the exact opposite goal.
“[Self-service] allows them… to direct that customer to a tool that’s going to help them get their problem resolved,” says David. “But the key to that is, once you direct them to those tools, they have to work.”
Sheri Greenhaus, Managing Partner at CRMXchange, says customers want to use self-service for small, easy queries. But be warned: if their issue is complex, they’ll want to speak to a human. Web-Call Backs answer three problems at once. They keep customers off hold, connect digital customers to the voice channel and use a self-service interface to connect the digital channel to the voice channel.
“Customers want self-service when they can serve themselves… I forgot my password, or what’s my balance?” says Sheri. “But if I’m looking for a mortgage or something that’s going to take a lot more thought, I’ll want to talk to somebody about it.”
Monitoring Self-Service Results is Key
A lot of contact centers will make the mistake of having a “set it and forget it” mindset. True, self-service tools are meant to make the lives of your team and your customers easier, but that doesn’t mean they don’t need management.
Jeremy Watkin, Director of CX at Number Barn and Co-Founder of customerservicelife.com, says monitoring your self-service tools on a daily basis is important. You want to constantly be evaluating your solutions to ensure they are effectively solving customer queries.
“[Self-service is] not going to be something where we can just turn it on and it works. It’s something that we have to babysit and optimize. We have to look at the metrics around it to make sure it’s actually working.”
“[Self-service is] not going to be something where we can just turn it on and it works. It’s something that we have to babysit and optimize.”
– Jeremy Watkin, Director of CX at Number Barn and Co-Founder of customerservicelife.com
Self-Service Will Change Your Agent Experience
Self-service tools are great for improving the agent experience. According to Evan Kirstel, Chief Digital Evangelist and Co-founder at eViRa Health, employee and customer experience are intimately connected. By automating simple tasks and queries with self-service, we can alleviate unnecessary agent stress and improve CX at the same time.
“It relieves the burden of rote and really mundane tasks from the agent, offloads them to the machine, and frees up the agent in terms of time and quality of their work life,” says Evan.
Blair Pleasant is the President and Principal Analyst at COMMfusion, as well as Co-Founder of BCStrategies. She says self-service will help transform the modern agent’s role, as the queries they’ll be handling will be more complex and interesting.
“It’s not the same old boring things like, ‘How do I change my password?’ or ‘When’s my package going to arrive?’” says Blair. “Instead, [they will handle] issues that require empathy and that provide more engagement and job satisfaction for the agents.”