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The Road Best Traveled: Smart Self-Service and the Fast Track to Resolution

When you think of self-service, imagine driving a car. You’re the driver of your own experience—just as you would select your destination, establish a route, and control the speed at which you get there, self-service empowers you to make decisions and take charge of your own journey.

However, these treks can sometimes come with frustrations—roadblocks if you will. For example, the impatience that comes with trying to find a new address. Taking a wrong turn. An accident that brings traffic to a standstill. Even though you’re in control of your vehicle, a smooth journey can sometimes still be hard to come by.

Today more than ever, consumers want to use technology to help themselves—they prefer self-service first. In fact, NICE 2022 Digital First Research shows that 81% of consumers say they want more self-service options.

Artificial intelligence is transforming self-service now for companies who tap into the right cloud platform and applications with built-in AI. Using customer interaction data, AI tools and models rapidly analyze and provide insights to companies on potential roadblocks, detours, or dead ends that customers are finding on rocky self-service journeys.

Self-service is the buyer’s journey equivalent of freedom and autonomy. You want to empower your customers to solve their questions and simple issues on their own instead of calling. With smarter self-service that works all the time for every customer, you reap all the benefits of happier, more satisfied customers, and you also gain significant financial and operational benefits with efficiency and lower cost of service. In short, all signs lead to one conclusion: smart self-service is the road to CX success.

Yet today’s self-service journeys often come with more obstacles and detours for customers that delay or divert them from reaching their end destination: answer found, problem solved, happy customer. If left unchecked, current limited self-service offerings will have a negative impact on customer loyalty. So, what can more customer-centric organizations do to mitigate these challenges?

This article will cover the most prevalent roadblocks to achieving successful self-service, and how businesses can transform each problem into an opportunity to elevate plain, ordinary systems into intuitive and intelligent services that harness the power of artificial intelligence. With AI that is purpose-built and a modern cloud CX platform, you can remove friction, eliminate unnecessary channel transfers, build smooth customer journeys, meet customers where they start, and guide them quickly via self-service to their destination.

Roadblock 1: Complex Journey Paths

Don’t you hate it when directions don’t pan out? Self-service applications can sometimes be difficult to navigate. Consumers may struggle to find the information they’re seeking or the support they need, leading to frustration and dissatisfaction.

Solution 1: Streamline and simplify

Simpler doesn’t mean shortsighted. Making self-service options simpler allows more customers to use them without encountering friction. Applying intuitive functionality to your applications presents opportunities for proactive assistance. Organize and streamline your information effectively and reduce complexity using clear, concise language and even visual aids such as diagrams or videos.

Solution 2: Extensive, up-to-date knowledge

Nothing throws a customer journey into chaos quite like outdated or redundant information. To avoid this, implement processes to regularly update and review knowledge bases, FAQs, or tutorials. Encourage customer feedback to identify knowledge gaps and improve the quality and relevance of content found through self-service.

Roadblock 2: Lack of Personalization

One of the most obvious caveats of self-service is the lack of human connection and the natural empathy that accompanies service provided by a human agent. Some consumers may prefer to communicate with a person who can understand their needs, offer reassurance, or provide personalized assistance.

Solution: Give every interaction that personal touch

Integrate personalization features into your applications that allow customized self-service experiences based on customer preferences and past interactions. This can include tailored recommendations and saved preferences. Gather and analyze interaction and customer journey data to gain insights into their behavior, preferences, and usage patterns.

Roadblock 3: Technical Troubles

As far as technology has advanced in the past few years, it’s still not perfect. Self-service platforms such as websites or mobile apps may experience glitches or errors, throwing a wrench in a customer’s ability to access the information they need or complete tasks. This doesn’t do much for customer satisfaction.

Solution 1: Evaluate customer experiences

Consider the value of CX to solve this one. Regularly gather customer feedback about their self-service experience. Make continual improvements based on that input. Subsequently monitor metrics such as user satisfaction and completion rates and feedback to identify areas for improvement.

Solution 2: Throw some money behind it

Invest in advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and natural language processing (NLP) to strengthen self-service capabilities. Tools such as chatbots and virtual agents can provide highly personalized automated support to improve a customer’s overall experience with your brand.

Roadblock 4: Disconnected Channels and Platforms

Companies often flounder when attempting to integrate various systems, databases, and interfaces. This can lead to incredibly disjointed experiences. Also posing a challenge: maintaining accurate, up-to-date information produced by self-service interactions. Data should be synchronized across different platforms; when it’s not, you are asking for significant delays and runaround.

The solution: Seamless omnichannel integration

Integrate self-service systems with other support channels to provide frictionless CX. Ensure that customer information and the context surrounding their inquiries are transferred successfully across channels to result in smooth transitions between self-service and assisted support. Information should never be lost to the ether.

Roadblock 5: When Self-Service Doesn’t Cut It

Inadequate support is the bane of the seamless customer journey. But the truth of the matter is that some self-service options may not provide sufficient support for unique situations or complex issues, requiring elevation to a live agent. Some issues may require individualized solutions or detailed explanations for customers, which some self-service platforms may struggle to deliver clearly or effectively.

The solution: The escalation path of least resistance

When normal self-service isn’t cutting it for complex or urgent inquiries, make it clear to customers that they’ve got options. Provide clear and easily accessible alternative opportunities for them to escalate their issues to a human agent, through live chat or phone support.

Get Smart. You’ll Be Glad You Did.

One of the most auspicious ways to substantiate the value of smart self-service options is to offer customers easy self-service options as the most desirable path. As more of your customers resolve their questions and simple service needs, your business travels upwards to dramatically improved KPIs.

  1. Smart self-service increases customer satisfaction. When customers have greater control and convenience throughout their journey, they access services or information at their own pace without relying on customer service staff.
  2. Smart self-service lowers costs. When you automate routine tasks, you minimize the need for human intervention, leading to cost savings through reduced staffing requirements. Additionally, self-service systems can handle a large volume of interactions, optimizing resource usage and improving overall efficiency. According to the Aberdeen report “The ROI of Smart Self-Service,” businesses that use smart self-service systems report a 2.2 times greater year over year (YoY) growth in annual revenue and a 2.0 times greater YoY improvement in service costs.
  3. Smart self-service provides opportunities to cross-sell and upsell. Leverage an intelligent self-service system to offer or promote additional products and services to customers, whether they buy something from you or not. Companies can present such opportunities to customers at any point of their self-service journey through intuitive recommendations and targeted advertising. The Aberdeen report indicated that smart self-service users report a 2.6 times greater YoY increase in cross-sell and upsell revenue.
  4. Smart self-service solutions can scale to accommodate business growth and customer demands. To complement business expansion, companies can enhance existing self-service systems without significant infrastructure changes or overhead.
  5. Smart self-service increases operational efficiency. Smart solutions streamline interaction processes and enable faster service. Customers can access information or complete transactions quickly without waiting for assistance, leading to reduced queues, shorter wait times, and increased throughput.

For more compelling data on the benefits of enhancing your self-service, check out the Aberdeen report, “The ROI of Smart Self-Service: Using Modern Tools to Delight Modern Customers.”