Companies looking to improve customer retention and satisfaction are looking somewhere unexpected. To the customers themselves. Companies are taking notice of the fact that customers want to have more control over their service experience. And they are accommodating this desire with state-of-the-art customer self-service tools.
What is Customer Self-Service?
Not all questions are equal. There are some issues that customers can easily and quickly solve without the assistance of a customer service representative or service technician. The best-in-class service providers are creating digital tools and customer service portals to empower customers to meet their own service demands when possible. Relying on field service automation and tools like chat and messaging, they are making it possible for customers to get answers without talking to a live representative.
One of the main objectives for customer self-service integration is increasing customer satisfaction. The 83% first-time-fix rate for best-in-class companies utilizing these tools has contributed to a 16% annual increase in customer satisfaction, whereas other companies have experienced a decline. Companies are also seeing visible returns on the investment in self-service solutions. The best-in-class are seeing a 5.8% improvement in the use of labor resources, while other companies are experience a 1% decline. So how are best-in-class companies successfully integrating customers into the service experience?
Keep it Simple
Self-service is intended to address simple issues, so the process itself should also be simple. Self-service inherently facilitates the entire service experience because it is available 24/7 and often across numerous devices. This is especially the case with the rise in mobile field services. But keeping it simple also means creating an interface that is self-explanatory and provides for a seamless service experience. Any negative self-service interaction will reflect just as negatively on your company as an ineffective live experience.
No Wait Times
Aside from the uninterrupted accessibility of self-service systems, they also eliminate the need for waiting on hold for the right service representative with the relevant information as well as the time spent explaining the problem. The same can be said for waiting for the availability and arrival of a service technician.
All Channels Open
63% of best-in-class companies, compared to 35% of all others, integrate self-service into their omni-channel systems. The reason for this is clear. By connecting all your communications channels, you not only provide your clients with consistency, you also create across the board access to relevant information for customer service representatives and service technicians. Multi-channel integration will help customer service representatives ask the right questions and save customers the hassle of repeating potential steps.
There are a few things you need to keep in mind when devising your self-service tools.
● Keep Track of What your Customers Are Looking for: Some questions recur frequently. By providing a list of frequently asked questions, you can facilitate the self-service experience for your clients.
● Make it interactive: Providing a community platform with live-chats makes it possible for customers to interact with community members to help each other deal with problems. This is a great tactic for CRM measures since searches leading to your community forums can draw in potential new clients.
● Make it user-friendly: Including screenshots, video, and audio make it easier for your customers to understand the sequence of self-service steps.
● Stay updated: Any changes to your product may necessitate updates to your self-service tools. Make sure all of your information is relevant to the products and issues customers are dealing with.
● Make it searchable: 63% of customers complain that search functions on self-service portals are not meeting their expectations. Ensure that your search function yields relevant results.
● Make it mobile: As mentioned in The Evolution of Customer Service, customers are relying more and more on messaging and mobile devices. By making your self-service mobile, you are not only making it more accessible, you are also relying on tools that your customers are familiar and comfortable with.
Access your personal portal to monitor all service requests
The self-service tool from SAP Self-Service gives end customers access to a personal portal that lists all their machines with including a detailed history of past issues. The portal can be used to generate service requests.
Scan a QR Code to generate a service request
SAP Self-Service has also devised a more simple solution. By scanning a QR code or serial number with a mobile device, anyone using the device can easily initiate a service request. Thanks to the integration with multi-channel programs, all information is consolidated and stored in the portal for future service calls across all channels.
Whatever self-service system you decide on, be sure you are implementing to the advantage of your customers. Some issues are better solved with personal assistance. The better your omni-channel integration, the easier it will be to track and analyze customer concerns, experiences, frustrations and more. This kind of information will be invaluable to building a self-service tool that creates an all around better service experience.
Author: Thomas Wyss, Leader and Product Owner - Coresystems Now