Three Trends Driving A Shift Towards Customer Self-Service

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What’s Compelling This Shift In The Traditional Customer Support Model?

Today, customers desire instant access and first-contact resolution to their needs. From the consumer’s standpoint, they’re continually seeking instant gratification, immediate delivery, instant service, and most importantly, instant satisfaction. This need for immediacy is impacting the traditional customer support model.

Think about it. If you’ve just purchased a new Smart TV, you want to take it out of the box, plug it in, and start enjoying your favorite programs, right? But what happens if it just won’t connect to your Wi-Fi? What do you do? The last thing you want to do is sit on the phone for upwards of 30 minutes waiting to speak to a representative. And as it turns out, neither do the rest of the consumer pool!

Here are three trends that are causing a shift towards customer self-service:

Personal Preferences

Let’s quickly return to our example of the new (but malfunctioning) Smart TV. In today’s world, consumer preference is shifting towards self-service, as opposed to traditional troubleshooting and customer support. Seriously, do you want to contact a call center to find out why your new TV won’t connect to the internet? Would you instead file a support ticket? Or would you try a chatbot to see if you can self-serve your way to an answer?

I assume the latter. As it turns out, according to major industry research firms like Gartner and Forrester, self-service is one of the fastest growing channels within the customer support sector over the past five years and the channel of choice for the last three. 79% of customers would rather use self-service than a human-assisted support channel (Forrester). Funnily, 33% would rather “clean a toilet” than wait on hold for a support agent (Aspect CX Survey)!

Machine Learning

You’ve probably noticed the recent influx of technologies like chatbots and other AI-driven solutions on the internet in past years, but have you interacted with a chatbot in a customer-service situation? When built well, chatbots can gain a deeper insight into customer satisfaction by learning about related issues, troubleshooting solutions, and customer concerns. Read more about the role of chatbots in customer experience.

With the recent influx of AI and machine learning technology, businesses have seemed willing to implement the new technology into their customer support models because it presents a specific type of low-risk, high-reward kind of situation for companies.

Machine learning works by continually absorbing information. So, as customers continue to interact with chatbots and other forms of AI, it grows in intelligence and can offer more effective solutions – and perhaps its most impressive feature is that most customers aren’t even aware that they’re not chatting with a human. Because chatbots are quick, efficient, and somewhat helpful, consumers would rather self-service and self-troubleshoot their issues through the web.

Customer Success Now Trumps Customer Support

The Customer Support role is increasingly coming under the purview of the executive running Customer Success. Consider the metrics that matter most to a well-run support team today. If you think it’s cost followed by customer satisfaction, you would have been right five years ago. Today due to the strong adoption of subscription-based business models, renewals (customer retention) and upsells (organic growth within the customer) trump any cost-saving KPIs.

However, customer success that comes from customer satisfaction means better and more timely support. Creating this type of support with just customer support staff is neither easy or scalable. Automation and self-service, therefore, are critical in any customer success practice.

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