New Report Stresses the Importance of Self-Service for Customer Care

The need for customer self-service at the enterprise level has never been greater, with three out of four customers now preferring to solve service issues on their own without asking agents for support.

Why is customer self-service in such high demand? Simply put, self-service expedites the customer service process while also easing the burden on call center staff.

Here is a breakdown of some of the leading technologies in use today, as evidenced by a new report from Software Advice:

  • FAQs: With an 85 percent adoption rate among customer service departments, the online facts and questions, or FAQ, section is the most widely implemented self-service solution in use today. This helpful resource allows customers to quickly locate answers to common questions with the click of a mouse without ever having to pick up the phone.
  • Knowledge bases: A step above the FAQ section in terms of scope, knowledge bases typically include resources like customer testimonials, white papers and product specification sheets to aid customers in their service journey.
  • Interactive voice response (IVR) phone systems: The most important part of any phone-based self-service solution, IVR phone systems automatically greet customers and transfer them to the appropriate department within the enterprise (i.e., technical support, customer service or sales).

Other leading self-service channels being used in the enterprise today include online discussion forums, interactive diagnostics and Web-based virtual assistants, according to the report’s findings.

It’s important to realize, however, that while self-help is an invaluable next-generation technology that customers love, quick and easy access to live agents when needed continues to be critical to your service delivery. There is nothing worse for customer service, for instance, than a caller getting lost inside an IVR system with no access to an operator, or browsing a website without the ability to talk to a live representative. Consequently, if you’re going to offer self-service features, make sure that your customer service representatives are always accessible to ensure the highest possible customer satisfaction.

Is your business currently using self-service for customer support? Tell us about your experiences!

Steve Brubaker began his career at InfoCision in 1985. In his current role as Chief of Staff and as a member of the Executive Team he is responsible for HR, internal and external communications, and manages the company’s legal and compliance departments. Brubaker is a member of a number of professional organizations, including the DMA and PACE. He also donates his time to serve on several University boards, including the Executive Advisory Board for The Taylor Institute for Direct Marketing at The University of Akron and The University of Akron Foundation Board. He has also been honored with a number of awards and recognitions for his contributions to the call center industry, including the ATA’s highest honor, the prestigious Fulcrum Award.

The Importance of Making On Hold a Last Resort in the Contact Center

There are some unbelievable stories about companies that don’t put a concerted effort towards their quality of customer service. In fact, just recently a woman spent six hours on hold with American Airlines trying to rebook her cancelled flight due to weather-related issues. Instances such as this not only frustrate customers on an individual level, but they also damage a company’s reputation on a greater scale.

Contact centers have plenty of resources available that giant brand-name businesses, such as American Airlines, should be using to establish themselves as customer service experts. One such resource, which tends to have the greatest impact on customer satisfaction, is simply the attentiveness and personality demonstrated by the Communicator on the call.

For example, in contrast to the American Airlines story, a customer service representative of online retailer Zappos once stayed on the line with a customer for an incredible 10 hours. The length of the interaction was not due to hold time or conflict; rather, the Communicator was expressing out of this world service and social skills.

Zappos exhibited quality customer service through the skills exhibited by its contact center Communicator, while American Airlines call didn’t even make it to the point of contact with an agent. So, what kind of tools can businesses leverage to ensure that putting their customers on hold is a last resort? Here are some tools that should be implemented within every contact center for success:

Skills-based routing: This tool will automatically transfer a customer’s inquiry to the available Communicator with the greatest amount of experience in the subject matter.

Comprehensive IVR: Your auto-attendant should offer comprehensive menu options to meet the satisfaction of your customers upon first impression—otherwise the customer will already have grown frustrated by the time they are greeted by an agent.

Predictive Models: This technology allows for the better preparation of contact center agents. Data is collected in order to outline consumers and creates a model based on past consumption behaviors in order to predict the problem ahead of time.

Make sure putting your customers on hold is your last resort. Learn more about the ways business can implement stronger resources to improve their quality of customer service.

Steve Brubaker began his career at InfoCision in 1985. In his current role as Chief of Staff and as a member of the Executive Team he is responsible for HR, internal and external communications, and manages the company’s legal and compliance departments. Brubaker is a member of a number of professional organizations, including the American Teleservices Association (ATA). He also donates his time to serve on several University boards, including the Executive Advisory Board for The Taylor Institute for Direct Marketing at The University of Akron and The University of Akron Foundation Board. He has also been honored with a number of awards and recognitions for his contributions to the call center industry, including the ATA’s highest honor, the prestigious Fulcrum Award.