Let’s start with the bottom line – keeping customers satisfied is the key to a successful and profitable business. Customer experience and engagement are not buzzwords – they are solid performance indicators that continue to gain traction and are a top priority for businesses. In today’s digital-first and customer-centric world, fast response time and problem solving are at the core of customer demand. Offering the relevant and accessible support channel is a key driver to enhancing customer experience, loyalty, and retention.
The COVID-19 pandemic created a perfect storm that upended conventions and accelerated digital transformation. Today, digital self-service has become the preference – and the new normal, along with higher expectations and reliance on these channels. The role of technology is more important than ever in improving customer service and operational efficiencies. Let’s dive into the nuts and bolts of customer self-service and see how it can impact and benefit your business.
What is Customer Self Service?
As customers have come to expect and even prefer do-it-yourself, online self-service options, businesses have embraced new technologies and trends to optimize the digital service experience. Automation and artificial intelligence are at the top of the list, impacting business applications that address the rising level of customer expectations and enhancing support capabilities. By 2025, 50.7% of companies are expected to incorporate customer self service technology.
Challenges of Customer Self Service
There is more than one challenge to address and more than one way to gain from effective and on-point customer self-service strategies.. Meeting the challenges is key to ensuring a positive customer journey.
Accessibility and Use
Poor design, accessibility and navigation will have a significant impact on the customer self-service experience. If it isn’t easy to use – then they won’t. This is a critical point of failure. It’s not just what you’re providing the customer with – the content and functionality – it’s also how.
Defining the Customer Journey
Highlight customer needs to achieve exceptional quality of service and engagement. It’s critical to understand customer-facing processes and pain points in every possible scenario in the customer journey to clear the way to efficient, intuitive, and successful self-service.
Measuring Self-Service KPIs
Traditional performance metrics are not relevant for self-service. Monitoring and analyzing usage of alternative service channels with virtual assistance is more complex. Self-service KPIs have to be measured across multiple channels to calculate costs, effectiveness, and customer service success.
High Customer Expectations
Customers who choose self-service can be demanding – and expect organizations to value their time. That means providing fast access, delivering updated information and rapid resolution to problems.
Key Benefits of Self Service as a Customer Service Strategy
There is more than one challenge to address and more than one way to gain from effective and on-point customer self-service strategies:
Forward-looking businesses are prioritizing and implementing strategies that leverage digital self-service to meet customer demand for effortless, convenient, and fast service. Empowering customers with seamless self-service is a clear path to customer loyalty.
Self-service solutions save time and resources. Reducing the burden of call volume for simple, repetitive tasks gives agents more time to resolve complex customer issues.
AI-powered customer service solutions are cost-saving and drive higher ROI as customers have come to expect and rely on accessible 24/7 digital support. Self-service platforms decrease overhead and customer support costs while increasing customer engagement.
A Gartner survey of service leaders found that investing in new and existing customer-facing channels and leveraging AI to enhance customer experience and operational excellence are top priorities for 2022. These are recognized as important aspects of customer service strategy, customer engagement, and business growth.
Customer Self Service Examples
Providing customers with intelligent ways to find solutions to their problems and answers to questions through self-service platforms simplifies interactions and reduces customer effort. AI-powered tools and software provide multiple touchpoints with the customer, breaking the mold of traditional customer service methods and enabling customers to choose their communication platform for proactive solutions.
Virtual agents and chatbots increase the scope of self-service capability and problem resolution, using artificial intelligence, machine learning and natural language processing technology to deliver personalized, intelligent and conversational engagement. Automated assistance saves time with shorter customer interactions, helps to route calls to the relevant channel, and reduces hold time.
Customers can find answers to their questions without the wait and call time of speaking with a live customer service agent. An easily accessible digital “library” can include FAQs, video tutorials, step-by-step instructions, troubleshooting and other references.
Building an online community boosts customer engagement and experience, enables communicating with other users to share issues and resolutions and find answers to common questions. In addition to reducing the load on agents for common, repetitive questions, companies can gain valuable feedback through this self-service portal and maintain a dialog with customers.
4 Customer Self Service Trends to Empower Your Business
Customer self-service service trends will be increasingly technology-driven, with the adoption of advanced AI-powered systems and platforms to continuously improve customer experience and empower customers to take care of issues themselves, providing quick and effective resolutions.
- Dynamic and streamlined intelligent self-service options provide customers with a richer experience and more effective support.
- Integration of automated solutions with live support provides customers with seamless transfer of a conversation to a customer service representative when needed. Intelligent and proactive automated solutions can also reach a wider audience, whether they are tech-savvy or not.
- Accessibility and ease of use are critical, ensuring the self-service platform is intuitive and effortless. A high-quality digital experience with easy access to resources and support reduces frustration and increases customer engagement and satisfaction.
- AI-powered self-service capabilities facilitate today’s work from home or hybrid work models, benefiting both customers and employees by increasing operational efficiency and reducing pressure on customer service representatives. AI tools can support customer self-service across multiple digital channels, analyzing customer complaints for intelligent routing to determine whether the issue can be resolved by an AI-powered assistant, or requires a live agent.
Rethinking Customer Service Strategy With Self Service
Customer service strategy adapted to today’s changing customer expectations and trends requires a shift to building and optimizing digital-first AI-based customer interactions. Implementing the right platform and technology reduces costs and streamlines operational efficiencies, empowering service representatives and customers and improving your bottom line – for the short and long-term all-around win.