Customer Self-Service: Why Customers Prefer It and Business Challenges
Self-Service: The Top Channel Choice of the Digital Consumer
Proliferation of self-service tools
A few years ago, customer self-service included the self-service tools of IVR and website keyword search and FAQs, used over a phone and desktop computers.
Today, customer self-service brings to mind a wider range of self-service tools:
- Smart search, FAQ, knowledge base
- Live chat, chatbot, automated conversations
- Voice recognition and conversational AI
that mostly start off on a mobile device or smartphone.
Customers prefer self-service over other channels
- 70% of customers are using self-service channels at some point in their resolution journey, per Gartner.
- 90% of consumers expect an online portal for customer service, according to Microsoft.
- Web and mobile self-service have overtaken all other customer service channels, found Forrester.
- More customers begin their interactions online, and millennials and the next gen more so.
- Consumers prefer to resolve easy transactional issues online.
- Even among those who start off on the phone, 4x more customers use IVR self-service than those who talk to agents.
For the business, it’s also the easiest way to cut costs.
Self-service costs $0.10 per contact compared to $8.01 for an agent-assisted contact.
The Solution: Customer Self-Service Software, Powered by Knowledge
eGain Knowledge for Self-Service™ enables organizations to provide distinctive, productive, and brand-aligned self-service experiences that enable breakthrough improvements in customer self-service effectiveness and adoption, while allowing seamless, context-aware escalations to live customer service or sales agents.
1. Obsolete self-service system
In a recent survey sponsored by eGain and conducted by Call Centre Helper, 20% companies said they hadn’t updated their self-service system since installation and a further 11% hadn’t updated it in the last 3 years. A consumer survey found that legacy IVRs frustrate customers due to long hold times and their inability to resolve queries. Read the IVR customer experience survey report
Self-service is not a static channel. Personalization, mobile apps, virtual assistants, AI, machine learning—new features and technologies have been added over time. Consumer expectation of customer service has also increased. Being static is the same as being dead.
Innovation takes many forms in self-service. Forward-thinking companies are integrating their IVR self-service system with messaging channels and sending relevant content from the knowledge base to the waiting customer’s smartphone. IVR can be smart, too!
2. Inadequate knowledge in the customer self-help portal
Customers come back frustrated and none the wiser from a customer support portal when they don’t get the single right answer to their question. The FAQ could be outdated or incomplete, or the knowledge base may throw up inconsistent answers. Customer effort is already up, so is customer frustration. You can see your NPS taking a hit right there.
3. Lack of integration with other channels, AKA, siloed self-service
When self-service fails, businesses should offer customers the opportunity to escalate to assisted channels like email, chat, cobrowse, or phone. And along with the handover, businesses should transfer the details of the customer’s self-service session to the agent to enable an omnichannel, seamless customer experience.
Done well, integration improves the chance of issue resolution, and customer satisfaction follows. See one such scenario play out in this video where a customer is seamlessly transferred to a contact center agent when self-service cannot resolve his issue.
Watch how self-service can transform customer experience.
Transformational Customer Self-Service Experiences: Case Studies
US manufacturer of windows and patio doors transformed online self-service experiences with AI guidance and consistent knowledge
This was a century-old manufacturer of windows and patio doors with unique problems.
- It had a product lineup of thousands of items, including hundreds of vintage products that were older than 20 years. And the company still got customer calls about them.
- Its customer self-service site used terms that only people who knew windows intimately would understand.
To give agents and customers easy access to accurate knowledge, the company implemented eGain Knowledge Hub™. eGain’s knowledge solutions for contact centers and for self-service are powered by eGain Guided Help™, a patented Artificial Intelligence reasoning capability. AI-powered knowledge transformed the brand’s customer service.
- There are 40,000 visits to the customer self-service portal and articles per month. Customers are calling the contact center less because they can find the knowledge they need through self-service. Even its online parts store has made 1400 sales from leads from the self-help website. People love the video guides and the image-based guidance in self-service. There has been fabulous customer feedback.
A European tax organization implemented a virtual assistant for self-serving customers
A year later, the VA had handled 257,000 interactions, and along with other digital channels like integrated chat, helped reduce paper consumption by 21%! Considering that print costs previously ran to €96 million, this alone was a tremendous saving. There’s more in this 10-minute video.