Don’t Sacrifice Quality of Customer Service For Self-Support

Posted by John Rake

9/10/15 1:30 PM

Help_yourselfOnline self-service is usually very convenient for such processes as checking your bank account anytime, anywhere; refilling a medical prescription with just the click of a button; or finding answers to commonly asked questions on a company website, for example. However, this type of self-service can be frustrating without the right technologies and processes in place.

In the end, self-service should be an expedient and satisfying experience; it simply isn’t worth it to provide self-service if the process is not helpful for the customer. So, how can companies avoid creating a tangled self-service web where it’s nearly impossible for customers to find their way? Here are a few tips:

  1. Online self-service applications should replicate the in-store customer experience. Whether that means having an agent on standby that can assist customers or an FAQ section of a website that can address common problems, self-service should serve the sole purpose of maximizing efficiency.
  2. Companies need to financially prioritize self-service. Research conducted by one industrial firm found, for example, that if one out of every 12 customers could better self-diagnose their issues, it could save roughly $10 million in maintenance costs in less than 18 months. These kinds of savings can permit companies to invest in maintenance and optimization of their sites for even better results.

  3. Reward effective online agents. Incentives and exclusive perks are strong motivators when it comes to improving service and productivity. Ensure your most effective agents are publically acknowledged and rewarded for a job well done, especially when it comes to assisting those customers who are struggling with self-service online.  

  4. Being independent is something most consumers strive for. By leveraging customers’ desires to resolve problems on their own, either by highlighting common questions or directing them to an agent, organizations will be able to meet individual needs and leave customers with a sense of satisfaction that they’ve accomplished what they set out to do.

  5. Because self-service oftentimes requires redirection to Q&A sections, these databases should be kept current so consumers can get their questions answered quickly and/or complete their purchases.

In the end, your bottom line will benefit from outstanding self-service. If consumers can quickly access the product they’re looking for, or the question they need answering to, they are likely guaranteed to become return visitors, ensuring long-term recurring revenue for your organization.

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