The idea that customers can manage their own customer queries almost sounds like a contradiction. However, self-service has become a growing trend in the call centre industry for some time now, and is set further increase its status as consumers look to adopt convenient customer experience solutions. Gail Partridge, consultant at PeopleTECH, examines how the introduction of self-service in your call centre will benefit the business and, in time, become commonplace across the industry
When used to its full potential, self-service can result in a win-win situation for both the customer and the agent, allowing customers to proactively find solutions to customer queries and granting agents the opportunity to pin-point the queries that will need to be resolved over the phone. But how can a company effectively introduce the forward-thinking approach of self-service?
Remember your customer demographics
When implementing a self-service strategy, it is crucial to always have the target demographic at the forefront of your thinking. While self-service is portrayed as an invaluable option that allows agents to prioritise and manage their workload, for many customers, however, they will always want to directly speak with an agent to resolve an issue.
If this traditional method is ignored, your call centre could potentially lose a majority of customers. Therefore, it is important to make sure that contact details are easily accessible and clearly displayed alongside your self-service content. You can and should encourage self-service where possible and align self-servicing routes/journeys to call drivers is an important part of this.
Keep it simple
Simplicity and clarity are essential tools to the development of any successful self-service channel. All relevant information, such as what personal or transactional detail is required for a customer to self-serve – or where to go if a query cannot be resolved via self-service – should be presented in a clear and easy manner to understand; managing customer expectations from the outset with the inclusion of the benefits of self-service.
These benefits include the round-the-clock availability, the speed of resolution, the lack of call queuing times and the sheer convenience to the customer. In addition, some interactions are simply not suitable for self-service – often for reasons of sensitivity and the depth of each query – therefore, a company should identify the queries that can be moved to and successfully handled via a self-service channel.
Self-service and omnichannel
A modern customer experience journey should always be about omnichannel, delivering to consumers a contextual experience. With this said, an organisation’s self-service channels should be completely connected and joined-up, allowing customers to effortlessly move between channels, retaining the context of that particular interaction as well as their prior history with the company.
This means they should be able to start an interaction in one channel and move to another without having to start the whole process again, and even use two or more channels simultaneously, allowing a company to meet customer requirements and not appearing to steer customers from the traditional voice channel. Any agent interaction following a self-service transaction should not require the customer to re-tell the story of their query as this can greatly impact on their choice to return.
Gail Partridge is a consultant at PeopleTECH, a customer experience management consultancy that advises organisations on how to deliver the right customer experience via people, processes and technology. Gail has previously worked with brands such as Sky, Standard Life and British Airways, advising on all elements of call centre strategy.