Consumers are growing more confident and tech-savvy in their problem-solving efforts, creating a need for self-service outlets that allow them to help themselves without the input of an agent.
As products and services become more complex to reflect the changing needs of the marketplace, the value of accessible and agile customer service becomes more important than ever.
But who has time to wait on hold with a customer service rep? Or work their schedule around the availability of call centres with limited service channel options?
Customers don’t want to wait to get their problems resolved, and have a wealth of service options to turn to if a business can’t meet their customer service needs. With this in mind, call centres should be focused on building infrastructure to allow customers to help themselves at their own pace and through the service channels they prefer.
Firing Up Your Self-Service
Digital service channels such as SMS, social media and live chat have provided plenty of new avenues for business transactions, and customer service is no exception. Research by Dimension Data has shown that one third of self-service interactions take place on digital channels. Customers now have the flexibility to reach out across whatever channel is most convenient for them, increasing the odds that they’ll bother to reach out and walk away with a good impression of your business.
So how do you create a self-service environment in your call centre?
Give Them the Tools to Help Themselves
Before the call centre even enters the equation, many customers try to find solutions on their own through online resources. These can include FAQs, knowledge databases and online forums. This is a low-cost strategy that can allow you to save big by reducing call volume and employee manpower.
But while online resources are great for web service, what about the multitude of digital channels that are becoming common in the customer service world?
Multiple Channel Outreach
The goal of providing self-service isn’t just to reduce your bottom line. Sure, increased ROI is a nice bonus for any business, but the real goal of providing enhanced self-service is to improve the quality and consistency of the customer experience.
A customer service survey conducted by IntelliResponse showed that while most businesses these days offer self-service via the web, less than 30 percent of businesses offer self-service avenues for mobile, live chat, social media, or instant messaging. This reflects an odd disconnect in business priorities, as research done by Forrester found that self-service channels were used by 76 percent of consumers surveyed in 2014. Clearly, consumers want to help themselves more than some businesses realize.
The adept contact centre will try to implement forms of outreach that match the needs of their consumers, whether that includes social media or merely text messaging. The most important part of utilizing multiple channels is to provide a consistent experience for your customers that choose to problem solve across multiple platforms.
To further increase the effectiveness of your self-service, you should adapt your current infrastructure to reflect two important self-service initiatives:
Automation and Integration
Automation can provide faster service times, solve simple queries that don’t require human input, keep the call queue clear, and free up agents to focus their attention on more complex issues.
An example of this would be a CRM management system in a business that recognized when a customer made a purchase, emailed them additional helpful information for using their product, and provided easy options for online review and feedback.
These types of systems can create time-saving, proactive solutions for customer outreach that can improve customer satisfaction, customer retention and first call close rates.
Integration of these automated systems into your infrastructure is the second side of the coin.
Automating your consumer outreach is only effective if the systems you use are linked to your CRM systems, giving your automated systems access to the customer data necessary for proactive support. This can be enhanced further with applications such as a channel pivot that allows customers to seamlessly maneuver from one service channel to another while maintaining the integrity of their interaction.
Your customers will appreciate the flexibility provided by systems that allow them to carry their interactions over to whichever platform they choose, which can only be accomplished with integrated CRM systems.
Optimize Your Self-Service Today
At its core, self-service is about creating possibilities for your customers.
By giving them the means to help themselves with integrated systems spread out across whatever channels they find most valuable, you can help build a self-directed customer experience that improves your ROI, increases consumer confidence and creates a more easily-managed business-consumer relationship.