Published: September 24, 2014 | Comments
More than ever, customers have the power to influence your brand's reputation and klout — they expect to interact with and experience your brand on their preferred channel, at the time of their choosing. This new digital expectation translates to heightened pressure on companies to provide quality customer service that satisfies the modern customer’s demands.
Customers often expect an immediate answer — on any channel, and pertaining to any issue. This is a primary reason for their migration away from traditional service channels such as phone or email, towards self-service options. With access to the web, FAQ sites, or user communities, customers can proactively search for answers themselves - often to avoid speaking to a customer service agent until absolutely necessary. Desk.com has found that 72% of consumers think self-service is the fastest and easiest way to handle support issues. Moreover, 40% of customers who contact call centers have already looked for an answer via self-service options.
Because of this, when customers reach out to an agent, they are not only frustrated that they could not find the answer via self-service options, they expect the agent to be able to pick-up the conversation where they left off during their online search. It is paramount for companies to relieve this frustration and invest in better self-service channels. Here are four steps organizations can take to implement an effective self-service customer service experience:
Identify The Use Case for Self-Service. First, identify where your current systems and service falls short. Challenge yourself to think about the current satisfaction level of customers and how implementing self-service options can support current service gaps. Know that in addition to enabling customers to use self-service, it is important that you communicate how the new channel can make their lives easier and help them solve problems quicker.
Define Self-Service Channel(s) & Strategy. Choose your path wisely; you don’t need to offer a myriad of self-service channels, but instead focus on investing in the right channels for your customer base. For many organizations, establishing a customer community can be an engaging self-service option. Or start smaller by creating basic FAQs and tip-sheets that are easily accessible on your website. It is also important to have a way to monitor key social channels, such as Twitter and Facebook, as social engagement can be a great way to share self-service features with the masses.
Ask For Customer Feedback. As you move to provide more in-depth mediums for self-service, it is important monitor customers’ satisfaction with these new channels. Consider implementing customer surveys. Whether you survey customers each time an issues arises, or just on a periodic basis, it is a quick and easy way to gain valuable customer insight. Effective surveys also can ensure that your efforts to provide effective self-service options aligns with your customer expectations.
Measure Customer Experience Metrics. As you launch and grow these new channels, it’s critical to put into place measurement to track customer satisfaction with self-service. Make sure that you have the ability to monitor trends and track the changes in their behavior since becoming more reliant on self-service. It is important that customers still have the ability to share feedback in real-time. Effective self-service channels always offer an easy way to move to live service - whether via easy online chat or easy access to live phone support.
Always keep in mind that self-service can be a powerful service channel, but it must complement live service and work to support a holistic customer experience. To further discuss your service organization’s initiatives and goals, I’d love to continue the conversation. Tweet @bobfurniss, or request to speak with Bluewolf.
Continue your research. Learn how to optimize agent and customer engagement with our customer service guide. Additionally, if you’re interested in seeing how Sales force helps service organizations innovative their processes, refer to our Service Cloud white paper.