More and more of today’s consumers are demanding a quick solution to their problem, inquiry, or purchase. They are often in several channels at once trying to get the fastest support they can with the lowest effort.
How can we give them what they want without creating more processes or adding more agents to handle it?
By Torbjörn Hörberg,Customer Experience Expert at TM Group
Customer self-service can be the best solution for both agents and customers if handled and executed correctly. However, a self-service feature is often just for the customers, and still require just as much work to done by agents in the backend.
Let’s see some points on how.
Types of self-service on the market
Frequently Asked Questions – aka. FAQ’s
- In a lot of cases the customer has follow-up questions, and then it’s back to scrolling the FAQ.
- Or the customers will use a second channel for follow-up questions, which is taking up time for an agent, and creating an unnecessary customer queue.
- And the biggest mistake of them all is that a lot of the answers to the FAQ’s end up in, “please contact us”. This is where I put my foot down and say STOP!
E-mail form submissions and questionnaires
- There are often several questions that you need to fill in.
- Multiple steps to complete for the customer.
- Often no customer recognition, and that means no pre-population of the field and no verification.
- Often based on existing FAQ
- Often not a solver of problem if not in FAQ
- Often not connected to backend system
Is this real customer self-service? For me it’s not. You need to add more elements to this. We need to create that self-service in its true meaning, and that is that customers solve the issues and inquiries themselves in your systems. Now that’s customer self-service!
A self-service example from real life
I wanted to change my address for a subscription. I went to the website and after some scrolling and searching on the site I found an e-mail form for just this. I filled in all of the fields and clicked submit. Not that big an effort for me.
But some days later I got an email back, saying that something went wrong with my request, and I should please contact the company.
“Ok, I’ll call them, that’s the fastest way, I think” I said to myself.
When I was finally transferred to an agent, he asked me to hold on for a moment, because he needed to check something. Then came some beautiful music in my ears for some minutes.
“Ok, found out what the problem is, your zip code is not correct,” the agent told me.
“My bad, I miss typed it,” I said. “Done, all good,” the agent ended the interaction.
What happened here?
I miss-clicked one number in my zip code, creating work for 3 agents in the contact center:
- One replying to my first email.
- One taking my call.
- One to transfer the data into internal systems, like CRM.
That is not at all self-service in the true sense for either customer or agent.
This is how I would have done the self-service in this situation
- We need to remove the manual tasks for your contact center and lower the effort for the customer massively.
- I would remove the Email form completely.
- Replace with a chatbot connected to your internal applications via RPA and/or RDA depending on the need.
- Create a dialog flow that is constantly in contact with your system, and checking my needs as a customer and oversee the data I as a customer types in.
- Add some sort of security check to verify if the requester really is the customer.
Bonus: You will then have a lot of information pre-populated in the dialog.
When I type in the wrong number in my zip code after my suggestion have been implemented, the chatbot instantly recognizes this as wrong data and ask me as the customer if I am sure this is correct.
If it’s not I will rewrite. The customer feels in control, but both the customer and your RPA/RDA are in control at the same time and in perfect symbiosis.
Now the bot has all data needed. It ends the interactions by thanking the customer, and of course asking if there’s anything else, it can help with today. A perfect example of a smooth and effortless customer experience.
Once the session is closed, the bot starts to work with transferring all the data to relevant systems and send out an e-mail for confirmation to the customer. This results in the customer feeling safe, even though the customer never actually talked to a human agent.
We free up 3 agents in one go, this is valuable time that should be spent on customers that have complexed issues or sales. Not handling this nonvalue added interactions.
All of this above can be achieved with low coding and applications suited for this purpose. The beauty of it is that you can use the same applications to automate more processes internally – now, that’s true customer self-service.
Hope this brings up some thoughts on the self-service you already provide your customer or are thinking of providing.
Stay safe and let’s nail the self-service together!