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Enghouse Interactive: The importance of self-service in the Contact Center

Customers have changed in many ways. For example, they prefer to find information on their own, rather than wait for a company to respond to their phone call or email, especially if it is routine information. In fact, 88% of consumers today expect brands to offer self-service in the contact center and 81% will try to solve their problems themselves before going to a company.

With the advent of chatbots, virtual assistants, and other similar technologies, it has become easier for companies to provide customers with the ability to solve their problems easily and quickly at any time of the day, while at the same time taking the workload off agents, who would now attend to the most comprehensive user situations.

Characteristics of good self-service

Consumers appreciate that you implement measures focused on their needs, however, they require that these implementations actually work. In this case, there are two essential characteristics that any self-service solution must have to serve its customers:

  • Convenience:

It must solve real and frequent problems. For example, in an airline, if you want to check your reservation number or cancel a flight; in an insurance agency if you request immediate assistance; in an online store if you need to return an order or request information about your purchase. In other words, all those queries and difficulties that may arise in your customers’ journey should be able to be resolved by them through the self-service tool in the Contact Center.

Your customers must feel that they are in control of the process and can immediately find the answer to their query, without having to wait for your company to contact them.

In addition, you must show them that you value their time and this means that they don’t have to stop what they are doing to pick up the phone or send an email to your company. They can access information through Self-Service 24 hours a day, through any device connected to the Internet.

This will be of great help to your company’s operations, as the more people using self-service, the more agent resources are freed up to assist consumers when they have more complex queries that require human involvement, thus reducing wait times for these interactions.

How to implement self-service in the contact center

When implemented correctly, self-service offers a fantastic opportunity to increase efficiency and cost savings while improving the customer experience. Here are five key things to consider when delivering self-service successfully:

  1. Don’t treat self-service solely as an opportunity to reduce costs. Reinvest any savings in training agents to improve other channels and increase available resources.
  2. Get the right mix of human and self-service agents and facilitate interactions. Ensure agents have the right skills to deal with the most complex and involved queries.
  3. Understand where self-service delivers real ROI by focusing on high-value, high-volume journeys. Analyze the questions agents ask to identify the queries and processes that will benefit from self-service.
  4. Establish a continuously updated knowledge base to empower self-service. Facilitate customer feedback on missing answers and use it to identify and fill gaps.
  5. Focus on self-service design, both on the web and in the IVR. Understand why and where people abandon self-service to solve problems.
  6. Don’t force users to use self-service, but make it as easy and seamless as possible so that it becomes the default option for routines over time.
  7. Continually measure effectiveness and use this data to improve the efficiency and experience of self-service.

Measurable benefits of self-service in the Contact Center (ROI)

  • Cost reduction

Staff salaries are one of the biggest ongoing costs for any contact center. With limited resources, it is therefore critical to use agents’ time wisely, focusing their efforts on more complex and higher-value interactions. By allowing customers to serve themselves and find their own answers to routine or repetitive queries, efficiency is greatly improved because self-service operates 24×7, meaning there is no need to invest in having agents available during off-peak periods.

According to ContactBabel’s research with contact center managers, answering a phone call costs €5.34 on average, email €4.58, chat €4.0, and social media €3.75. Although self-service requires an investment, it is estimated to be 40 to 100 times cheaper than a live call to an agent.

  • Better customer experience

Delivering a high-quality experience is crucial to winning and retaining customers. Speed of response is one of the main factors consumers value when contacting a company, and they don’t want to wait for an answer to their query.

90% rate an “immediate” response as important/very important, and most people consider immediate to be less than 10 minutes.

Self-service also improves CX in other ways. Helping customers help themselves empowers them and deepens the relationship between them and your brand. It frees agents to focus on resolving more complex queries that can’t be handled through self-service. This means they can spend more time on these interactions, using key skills such as empathy and understanding to deliver the right experience in a personal way.

When implemented correctly, self-service offers a fantastic opportunity to increase efficiency and cost savings, while improving the service experience for employees. Here are five key aspects to consider in order to successfully deliver self-service.

Self-service thus increases customer satisfaction and retention, differentiating your business through a superior customer experience. Studies show that increasing retention rates by 5% increases profits by 25% to 95%.

And that’s without taking into account the positive impact of a good customer experience on brand reputation, employee morale, and recruitment of talented people.

Self-service in the contact center is a powerful way to improve the overall experience and increase efficiency. In an increasingly digital and digitally connected world, it helps customers save time and find the information they need, freeing up resources for more complex queries.

Sourced from: Enghouse Interactive. View the original article here.