Published: September 28, 2015 | Comments
Have you ever walked into an airport terminal and noticed that there is nobody in line at the check-in counter, but still headed for the self-service kiosk? Or, have you ever been at the hardware store and waited in line for the self-checkout register, instead of making a beeline for the human cashier?
As user-friendly technology has improved, customer service managers have found that both businesses and consumers favor efficiency over humans in their interactions. Today, interactive self-service tools are becoming increasingly popular to companies looking to strengthen the customer’s experience.
Improve Customer Loyalty through Proactive Interactions
Great customer service is not reactive; it’s proactive. When you proactively engage your customers you will make gains in customer loyalty, which translates to a healthier bottom line. In fact, 45% of companies offer web and mobile-optimized self-service applications, which indicates that customers are completing tasks efficiently without draining customer service resources.
Reduce Expenses through Automation
Automation is a consistent cost-cutter, which is why many companies are desperately trying to attract consumers to digital channels. According to a study by the Harvard Business Review, “An on-line banking transaction, for instance, costs just 2 cents, compared with 36 cents for an ATM transaction and $1.15 for a teller-assisted transaction.”
Labor costs are the greatest cost to bear for any business, which is why other self –service solutions like Interactive Voice Response (IVR) can be put in place to reduce incoming requests to customer service reps, decreasing labor costs. Michael Maoz, vice president and analyst at Gartner addressed the benefits of having a lean customer service team. “Of course cost cutting is essential in the current economic climate, but knowing how to cut costs without damaging the customer experience is crucial, and the role of the contact center is crucial to this.”
Expand Global Reach with 24/7 Service
In the information age, businesses cannot afford to run on an 8-hour workday, especially ones with global reach. When the sun is setting in New York, it is rising in Shanghai, and with it a new wave of concerned customers. So rather than having customer service representatives across the world ready to receive the stream of calls, a business can reduce this cost with a set of responsive self-service channels that operate 24/7.
Unshackle Your Customer Service Reps
Self-service applications absorb the bulk of customer interactions before they ever reach your customer service representatives. The majority of customers just need to do simple tasks like change their service plan, pay a bill, or update their information. This frees up your customer relationship team to focus on revenue generating tasks like cross-selling and up-selling.
According to the Harvard Business Review, 57% of inbound calls to sales reps come from customers who originally tried to resolve the issue through self-service channels (website, app, etc.). Customers are more than willing to self-service. They even prefer it. Make it easy for them using new self-service tools that effectively hold your customer’s hand as they navigate your site.
According to the same Harvard Business Review study, 30% of callers who call your sales reps are on the company’s website at the same time. Yikes! They really want their problems solved…now. As a customer service manager, these frustrated customers are of highest priority. Since they are the most likely to be reaching out to representatives, a self-service channel with high functionality filters the high priority callers from the low, ultimately delivering a better customer service experience overall.
If you’re not taking care of your customer, your competitor will. Self-service is the wave of the future. Check out your options and see what tools make sense for you.