Customer DIY – Boom or Bust?


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Using Interaction Analytics to Gauge Effectiveness of DIY Initiatives

Do It Yourself (DIY) is a popular topic on TV and in magazines these days.   For many B2C companies it’s become a popular practice as well. Moving customer interactions from expensive telephone channels to cheaper chat and web channels promises to reduce costs and help maintain margins in an increasingly competitive consumer marketplace.

But DIY is not appropriate for all transactions. In fact, if done carelessly, pushing customers to self-service channels can erode customer loyalty and promote defection. Why? Customers want an easy experience above all. If DIY makes their lives easier, they will adopt it enthusiastically (how many people take advantage of the self-checkout lines at the grocery store?) But if self-service forces customers to do the work your agents used to do, with no counterbalancing benefit to them, watch out.

How can you determine that your DIY approach is striking this delicate balance between cost efficiency and quality customer service? Your customers will tell you.  Interaction analytics can measure Customer Effort across all a company’s touch points – meaning that self-service initiatives can be evaluated for their impact (positive and negative) on the customer experience.

(Photo credit: Mister GC/

In one case, a credit-card company used interaction analytics to quantify and trend when customers called the contact center with questions about their online portal. They observed a call spike starting at the end of January, involving questions related to passwords and account lockouts. (In this case, a DIY approach was actually forcing users to call in against their will!)

A deeper look revealed that many customers relied on the portal during tax season but rarely used it at other times of the year. These customers forgot their passwords or had passwords expire; as a result, they called into the contact center to re-establish access. Based on this insight, the company evaluated several methods to remind people to reset passwords and allowed resets through email rather than over the phone.

In another example, a bank found that some customers were calling to find the address of a nearby ATM, because the one they normally used was out of order. This inspired an idea to put a sticker at each ATM with the address of the next-nearest one.

Looking at DIY through the lens of Customer Effort shows that self-service can have unintended consequences that actually increase effort and cost in the contact center. Interaction analytics is the key to ensure that self-service initiatives are beneficial for both customers and operations, and that well-intended enhancements actually create the outcomes for which they were designed. When that happens, costs go down and customer loyalty goes up. Beautiful!

Republished with author's permission from original post.

John Caddell
At Nexidia, I help financial svcs companies increase their success by understanding patterns & trends in customer interactions. Interested in using interaction data to improve companies' insight into their customers - and to improve the services offered to customers as a result.


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