This year, between lockdowns and quarantines, contact centers across the world are impacted both in terms of being able to stay open as well as unavailability of agents. The agents who are now working from home also face numerous hindrances like poor connectivity and lack of the right technology. At the same time, companies are facing higher call volumes, almost 60% in some sectors, with customers who are increasingly frustrated and stressed.
The need of the hour in these increasingly digital times is a self-service option that lets both customers and companies quickly deal with customer support needs. Implementing a good self-service plan has a double-edged benefit: First, simple queries are resolved faster. And second, your call queues get considerably shorter, letting customers with more complex queries or complaints, reach your live agents faster.
At the beginning of this year, we held a webinar with Mayur Kansal, Customer Experience Manager, Delhivery, Namisha Gupta, Presales Manager, Ozonetel and Ashik Basha, Product Marketer, Freshworks— a team who has successfully implemented self-service solutions that have improved operational efficiency by 40% or more. In the following blog we summarize the most important insights:
What is customer self-service?
Customer self-service is a means of empowering customers to solve problems and complete simple transactions by themselves. There are three ways of delivering customer self-service
- An FAQ page on your website
- Self-service IVR
Examples of customer self-service
Self-service can be implemented across any sector and all customer touchpoint channels. For example, in healthcare, customers can get their test reports through IVR with a link to download their report. In the travel sector, it can be used to allow customers to address simple queries like getting hotel addresses, checking ticket statuses or cancellations, and refunds through IVR and chatbots both. Recruitment companies can screen candidates through IVR or do reference checks. And in the retail space, there are multiple uses for self-service like getting retail outlet addresses or tracking and rescheduling deliveries.
Benefits of implementing a self-service support strategy
Here are the top two reasons why you need to implement a self-service strategy for your customer support:
Self-service helps customers find information and solutions faster. It gives them an option to find the information needed for simple support questions without going through a long chain of communication. Similarly, this also frees up agents from time spent on repetitive basic questions and allows them to focus on more critical issues, leading to more productivity and the ability to handle more volumes.
“What we have found out is that implementing any single query through self-service leads to a 12% increase in contact center efficiency.”Namisha Gupta
Meets changing customer preferences
Today’s customer prefers to resolve things themselves and quickly and easily get their needs addressed. In fact, 81% of customers today try to solve problems themselves before reaching out to a live representative.* While 72% of customers prefer self-service to resolve issues over calling or sending an email. **
While it’s pretty clear that customers would prefer to resolve things themselves if they could, there’s a clear gap between business provisions for the same. Strangely enough, according to studies by Gartner, only 9% of customers are able to resolve their issues via self-service. And 51% of calls to customer service were from people who had unsuccessfully attempted self-service.*
How to create an effective customer self-service solution?
Here’s how you can deliver self-service in a way that actually produces positive results by leveraging IVR, CRM, and cloud call center tools:
Step 1 – Collect knowledge from conversations
The first step to a good self-service strategy begins with identifying what conversations can and should be automated. Track repetitive questions and common queries and issues from customer conversations across all your channels. You can assess:
- Search engine queries
- Search bar queries
- L1 tickets within your helpdesk
- Call dispositions.
- Call recordings.
You can use keyword analysis to collect keywords from call recordings and compare their volumes. This will give you an insight into where all you can implement self-service and where you may need human intervention.
Mayur recommends that you categorize the various reasons why your customer contacts you, and then analyze which of these can be automated. For instance, upon analysis, he found that within his call center nearly 60% of the calls were for status updates or rescheduling deliveries, both of which could be automated.
Step 2 – Prioritize and create content
Once you know what you need to focus on, it is also important to create the right kind of content. The three most helpful content categories here would be:
- Video Tutorials
This content repository can be shared both internally, amongst your agents as well as externally to users. This content is the base for creating useful searchable content online such as creating better bots.
“Having a foolproof knowledge base not only helps customers, but also enables agents to get onboarded quickly and know your products quickly so that they can ramp up their support game.”Ashik Basha
Step 3 – Give choices, Improve usage
Once the content and self-service portal is ready, it is better to make this content easily accessible across all-available channels. Customers should be able to find what they need via a channel of their choice, be it chat, calls, web forms, search engines, or social media. Here are the various forms in which you can enable customer self-service:
- FAQ page
- Online Video Tutorials
- Chatbots on your app or website
- Conversational IVR or voice bots
- Self-service IVR via DTMF inputs
A lot of our clients could reduce their call volumes between 12% to 60% by enabling self-service via DTMF inputs on their IVR.
Also Read: How a furniture e-tail store used its IVR to reduce call traffic and serve customers better
Step 4 – Deflect With bots
Take self-service a step closer to customers by automating it with interactive bots. This not only makes the process conversational but also provides quick answers and suggestions while a customer is typing their question. Voice bots or conversational IVR are extremely efficient tools for general queries like order status checks, reschedules, cancellations, etc. These should be directly integrated with your databases, so the minute a customer puts forth a query on a call they get a response. No lag, no wait time, easy to use, completely automated, and no agent intervention required.
Also Read: What is conversational IVR?
Step 5 – Track feedback
Customer satisfaction is the ultimate goal, therefore it’s necessary to track and analyze feedback from all conversation channels to know if you are doing right, through surveys and other modes. It is extremely important to know if issues have actually been resolved if your channel is easy to navigate and whether customers are happy with the process.
We were able to see a 25% increment in our CSAT scores over self-serve and automation implementation across various channels, in a very short period of time of about three months.” – Mayur Kansal
Step 6 – Measure. Refine. Repeat
Creating and implementing successful self-service isn’t a one-time process. Now that you have implemented and analyzed, keep checking your knowledge bases and databases, and keep listening to customers. Measure how it is working and refine to make it even better. Queries keep changing, companies grow, services and products change, and so forth; it is an ongoing process to ensure your self-service channels are updated and efficient.
At the end of the day keeping customers happy and seamless CX gives a business an edge over competitors and builds relationships. Self-service plays a pivotal role in communication today.
For a deeper dive into successfully implementing self-service and how Delhivery tackled their customer service challenges, watch the recording here.
Citations*Harvard Business Review. ** Forrester