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Customer Loyalty Best Practices for Self-Service

Everyone knows customer loyalty is important, and the best way to create loyal customers is to create satisfied customers through truly exceptional service. So, if that concept sounds so simple, why are so many companies having loyalty issues, especially when it comes to their self-service platforms? Is it possible to deliver an overall positive customer experience in your Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system at all? The answer is a definitive yes.

The old adage “don’t shoot the messenger” most certainly applies to self-service channels. Though they are there to help customers achieve call goals more quickly and efficiently, many systems are so complicated and poorly executed that they end up disappointing and frustrating customers instead of helping them get the service they need. Like the messenger, IVR is just there to help. If your customers are consistently experiencing bad service in your IVR, it will damage the reputation of your brand, and put your bottom line at risk.

Consumers hate bad IVR, but contrary to popular belief, research shows that when used correctly, consumers actually prefer self-service if it gets them what they need more quickly and easily. The problem is, most companies aren’t using their IVR effectively. According to a recent survey conducted by Contact Solutions, only 18.2 percent of consumers have been satisfied—or extremely satisfied—after using an automated voice menu. This does not have to be the case.

So, how do you provide a self-service interaction that will delight your customers? When interacting with the contact center, the main objective of most consumers is quick problem resolution. But, most truly believe the best way to get a problem solved is by engaging a live agent. In order to optimize your IVR and start changing this perception, two best practices are key: continuous improvement and personalization of the IVR.

So what, exactly, is continuous improvement? This process begins when you set benchmarks and mine data. Compare and contrast consumer sentiments to determine the overall satisfaction level with the customer experience within the call center. Key is mining the right data and  analyzing the perception of each customer service interaction. Then, compare those perceptions with established benchmarks. Better analysis of the correct data is essential to continuous improvement of the customer experience in the IVR.

The other key best practice is personalization of the IVR. In a world of increasing personalization, customers have come to expect that automated service channels will be tailored to their individual needs. New technology even allows for more complex personalization that even considers caller behavior! The result of high-grade personalization is an improved customer experience and increased caller preference for self-service over live agents.

Customers know there is a forever-expanding range of options for attaining customer service today, and they are willing to try self-service channels if those options can meet their needs. Pair this with the fact that that an increased rate of self-service can significantly lower costs for a call center, and it is evident that now is the time to invest in doing self-service right.