Web self-service is the most widely used communication channel for customer service, surpassing the use of the voice channel for the first time.1 Not only is having a website in today’s marketplace a requirement, but your company’s website must also be an effective channel for handling customer service inquiries, says Kelly Koelliker, Director, Product Marketing at KANA, a Verint Company.
According to Koelliker, a well-executed web self-service can offer tremendous benefits for customers, employees and organizations. Customers can get quick answers in the channel of their choice, employees spend less time repeating simple answers, and organizations can save money by leveraging a low-cost channel.
She says self-service has come a long way from a static list of FAQs on a web page and can no longer be pushed to the side, but instead should be considered the primary interaction channel with customers. “Consistency counts. While self-service is now the most popular channel, it certainly isn’t the only channel. With all the ways in which customers can contact you, it is critical to ensure answer consistency. Do your customers get the same answer on self-service, the phone, live chat and email?
“Since customers are now eager to serve themselves, organizations have an opportunity for massive cost savings by deflecting common tasks away from the contact centre. Self-service can provide better outcomes with less effort, for both you and your customers,” says Koelliker.
She says it is important to make mobile self-service a priority. As the number of mobile users rises to the billions, more and more customers have adopted a mobile-first mindset and the self-service strategy should adopt a mobile-first strategy as well.
“Customer expectations of service have risen dramatically in recent years. Today’s customer expects truly personalized and timely service with minimal effort. 2 Further, customers are willing to switch vendors if these expectations are not met.
“While the cost of a poor self-service experience may be clear, so are the benefits of a great experience. Good customer service experiences boost repurchase probability and long-term loyalty. Customer loyalty has economic benefits as measured over three dimensions: willingness to consider another purchase, likelihood to switch business to a competitor, and likelihood to recommend to a friend or colleague. 3
“A poor self-service experience can lead directly to lost revenue. Forrester data shows that 55 percent of US adults are likely to abandon their online purchase if they cannot find a quick answer to their question. 4 Self-service is no longer just about FAQs. Customers are looking to complete tasks and view their transaction histories online. Your self-service strategy should include the ability to view and update personal information, complete common tasks and review a history of previous activities,” says Koelliker.
According to Koelliker encouraging customers to use self-service can also have practical operational benefits. By allowing customers to view and update their personal and contact information online, you can improve the accuracy and completeness of your customer records with no effort.
“Self-service capabilities improve every day, but some issues will still require agent assistance. Ensure escalations to digital assisted channels such as live chat, email or secure messaging are effortless and transitions are seamless.
“By investing wisely now, you can create a self-service strategy that can drive operational efficiency, increase revenue and build customer loyalty,” concludes Koelliker.
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