Self-service – one of the most popular new trends in customer service
We live in an age where customers are increasingly comfortable using technology and tools to handle their own affairs quickly. Especially since the pandemic, when most customers simply could not interact with sales reps and agents, self-service has become more commonplace.
Today, 67% of customers say they prefer self-service to talking to a representative. Self-service is becoming so popular that Gartner estimates that approximately one billion service tickets are automatically created and resolved by customer-owned bots.
The good news for today’s executives is that there are countless ways to implement self-service solutions in your business. The bad news is that not every strategy is suitable. Today, we will look at how you can improve and optimize your self-service strategy.
Step 1: Know What Kinds of Self-Service to Offer
Self-service comes in many varieties in today’s digital world. Among the simplest options are FAQ and knowledge base sites, where customers can manually search for the information they need and watch videos or read articles to get help.
A slightly more advanced solution is the chatbot, a tool capable of searching for solutions to problems on behalf of a customer and providing instant suggestions on how to proceed. Chatbots are becoming more common in an age where consumers are accustomed to using online messaging tools and apps to interact with businesses.
The most advanced self-service tools can go beyond standard chatbot capabilities, such as providing automated customer service with AI systems that can understand natural language, process transactions, and complete interactions without input from a human agent. These solutions can even help with common issues, troubleshoot problems, and perform automated diagnostic checks on behalf of customers.
The type of self-service that’s right for your business depends on your customers. In a tech-heavy environment like the telecom industry, automated call centers and diagnostic tools are more appropriate for customers who need issues resolved quickly. In a basic retail environment, a chatbot with basic customer support algorithms can speed up the path to purchase and resolve customer issues quickly while freeing up your staff.
Step 2: Make it Intuitive
Once you have figured out what kind of self-service solutions you want to offer your customers, you need to figure out how to make the experience as streamlined and intuitive as possible. For utility providers, for example, a great self-service option might come in the form of a portal where users can track useful information about their usage, make changes to payment plans, and even access new features.
But even the most feature-rich portal will not lead to a better customer experience if customers do not know how to use it. A complicated self-service environment will cause customers to turn directly to your support team, diminishing the value of your investment. In some cases, complex tools can also lead to greater employee frustration, increasing the risk of negative conversations.
To make your system as intuitive as possible, put yourself in your target customer’s shoes. Ask yourself what they need to do to fix a problem or train a new user on the system. If you had never used such technology before, what parts would you find confusing? Can you introduce wizards and bots to guide customers through more complex processes? To make sure your offering is as intuitive as possible, ask some top customers to test it and give their feedback.
Step 3: Address the Entire Customer Journey
Self-service solutions can help with a variety of customer journey touchpoints. In the initial buying phase, a self-service solution can help suggest to customers what type of products and solutions are best for them based on their specific needs. Chatbots could help customers answer important questions about the differences between various packages and then relay information from those conversations to a sales representative when the customer reaches out.
After the sale, during the customer success process, automated self-service solutions can help with onboarding and order management. These tools can help companies leverage their new investments as quickly as possible. With the help of virtual agents and chatbots, businesses can ensure that their customers immediately see the value of their purchase and get quick wins to validate the purchase.
Sometimes self-service solutions can also be great for proactive service. Gartner predicts that by 2025, predictive and proactive customer interactions will outnumber reactive ones. Using AI and bots, companies can track the performance of specific tools and resources and reach out to customers when they may be facing an issue or need help. A service performance dashboard could predict a peak in demand and provide automated advice on how customers can optimize their network performance.
Step 4: Listen to your Customers
Your customers are the best sources of information when it comes to improving any type of service or CX strategy. The more information you gather about their experience, the easier it is to create meaningful experiences that reduce customer churn. To listen to your customers, there are a variety of ways for businesses to do this.
For example, you can use self-service metrics like customer satisfaction scores to monitor how your customers feel after using one of your self-service strategies. Bots and virtual agents can be equipped with features that send surveys or solicit reviews from customers after resolving an issue. Be careful not to ask for too much information at once, as this tends to overwhelm customers.
You also have the option of looking at other metrics, such as the number of support tickets created with real human agents, to see if your customers are really using your self-service tools or if they still rely heavily on human advice.
If you have close relationships with some of your VIP customers, it can be helpful to periodically ask them for their feedback, such as what you can improve or what kind of customer service strategies they would like to see in the future. You can also eavesdrop on what your customers are saying about you online by using social media listening tools to track every time someone mentions your brand name.
Once you have gathered information from your users, you can use it to improve your self-service strategy.
Step 5: Adapt and Evolve as You Grow
Self-service solutions are not something you just set up and forget about. In most cases, companies need to constantly update their services to ensure they still meet the latest customer requirements. For example, the more information you gather from your customers about their specific needs and common problems, the more you can update and expand your knowledge base.
Keep an eye on your metrics and consider how you need to update your solutions in the future. If your self-service strategy is working well and more customers are using it, it may be time to automate your strategy more and implement more advanced technologies into your virtual agents and AI tools.
Implementing things like machine learning and automation into your self-service strategy is often extremely useful. Machine learning ensures that your solution can learn from every interaction with a customer, enabling better customer interactions every time. Intelligent process automation solutions allow businesses to set up automated problem solving whenever customers need it.
Make the Most of the Self-Service Revolution
Self-service solutions are taking the world by storm. Customers in virtually every environment are increasingly looking for ways to reduce their interactions with human agents and solve common problems themselves. Those companies that are able to offer sensational self-service solutions are the ones most likely to see positive results.
Set the stage for an impressive self-service campaign by setting goals to achieve with your new technology. As you roll out new tools it is important to measure customer satisfaction and to be prepared to adapt as your business grows.
If you need help implementing self-service solutions, contact Bulb Tech today!