Self-Service Is Not Just About the Customer

A lot of times when there is the mention of “self-service”, we immediately jump to the thought of someone interacting exclusively with our IVR or visiting our website for information when they would have otherwise needed to call into our center and speak with a representative.  What we don’t consider all too often, however, is the positive impact that we could have on the customer experience by enhancing the agent’s self-service tools.  We get caught up in making them a “jack of all trades” and set unrealistic expectations on the amount of information that they should know off the top of their head.  We struggle to understand why our training programs take so long and yet agents still come out ineffective.  We wonder why our handle times seem longer than they need to be and there are those awkward pauses with customers.

This could stem from a number of factors such as a poorly constructed knowledgebase, outdated information, or poor training.  I’m not here today to diagnose and dissect what the problem is in your center, but I am here to tell you what WON’T contribute to any of those negative outcomes listed in paragraph one.

Use an easy to search and navigate knowledgebase, which is robustly filled with current and accurate information, and train the agents on how to use the tool. It’s a simple as that.

You’re probably thinking, “Simple, Justin? Do you know how much time, effort, and money that would take?”

To which I respond, “Do you know how much time, effort, and money you’re losing in agent productivity, customer satisfaction, and potential revenue?”

I’m willing to place a bet that my number is smaller.

Once we have the right tool in place, we can shift our focus in training to the things that our agents should REALLY be great at; the things that probably caused us to hire them in the first place.  We spend our time building and enhancing their soft skills.  We spend our time teaching them how to handle difficult customers, or how to upsell, or how to best deliver a quality experience. When it comes to the product and content knowledge, spend time training agents to be masters of using the tool.  Highlight the key components and critical areas, but stop wasting time reviewing trivial information when you can instead teach your employees how to find the information themselves.

Your employees will thank you. Your customers will thank you. Your bottom line will thank you.


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