Self-Service is the Answer to Scale Customer Service Experiences


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With growing online customer numbers and demands, self-service is an untapped option, because hiring additional customer support agents isn’t scalable or financially viable to providing customer success.

Summer has barely started and retailers are already beginning to anticipate the back to school season – but are customer support teams ready to scale?

Late last week, J.C. Penney reported it was hiring more than 500 customer service agents for online customer support positions in anticipation of the back to school online shopping rush.

Just as banks have self-service ATMs, reducing wait times and streamlining the service process, website self-service is a fast-hitting trend that’s more sustainable than hiring hundreds of support agents before an influx of shoppers flood the call center.

I recently sat down with Answerdash’s CEO, Bill Colleran to discuss the impact that digital advances and technology have had in transforming customer experiences online.

With the wide adoption of mobile, smart devices into the general population, organizations today can employ smart systems for self-service to connect users with the information they need, bypassing the need for in-person customer service agents. Self-service won’t eliminate the need for call centers or for expert customer service agents, but it most certainly enhance the overall customer experience as it becomes an integrated system for customer on boarding and service support.

AnswerDash‘s leading self-service tool for web and mobile apps helps organizations meet users exactly where they are online, providing instant Q&A, which greatly deflects the need to ever pick up the phone to call an agent. Rather than making a customer call the (much-dreaded) help line or visit the FAQ page to hunt for their answer.

How is Self-Service Changing the Nature of Customer Experience?

Even as online shopping explodes, consumers increasingly expect a seamless buying experience. Banks have used self-service ATMs for many years, and movie theaters offer self-service kiosks to reduce wait times and streamline the customer service process. So, why don’t websites offer similar self-service options for their visitors?

“Having an effective strategy in place for self-service means that users don’t need to stop what they were doing to visit the FAQ page or search the website,” says Colleran. “Rather than picking up the phone to dial a customer support agent—and inevitably being placed on hold or going through an automated system—users can get their questions answered within the context of a webpage with the simple click of a mouse.”

Integrating this source of information at critical junctions of the customer experience can be a key element in service recovery when breakdowns in the process occur. Because all customers are not the same, service processes may not account for every customer need. Help will always been needed by some segment of the customer population and the lower the barrier can be to connecting these customers with the help they need, the greater the chance of maintaining the positive results intended by your experience strategy.

“Self-service becomes a viable solution that positively impacts the shopping experience by enabling customers to get answers they need, on their own. self-service tools reduce wait times by enabling customers to get answers to questions in just a click or two.

Also, by reducing the number of customers using online help, self-service solutions decrease wait times for customers with more pressing questions that must be escalated to live chat or a customer support agent.”

-Bill Colleran, CEO of AnswerDash

Forrester data show that 55 percent of U.S. adults are likely to abandon their online purchases if they can’t find a quick answer to their questions. If a website has a self-service option online, visitors are more likely to complete transactions if they can find their answers quickly.

“Choosing a self-service solution, like AnswerDash,” says Colleran, “can give organizations an online customer service solution that impacts the customer experience by not only reducing wait times and customer support costs, but by also increasing sales, which is a powerful set of benefits for both the consumer and the online business.”

Why Customer Service Efficiency Matters

Customer service efficiency can lead to increased customer retention, which is substantially more efficient than customer acquisition. In fact, it’s 6-7 times more costly to attract a new customer than to retain an existing one.

Good customer service starts with efficient, relevant, fast, accurate customer support available any time. Customer support comes in many different forms, such as the online, self-service solution offered by self-service.

In today’s digital world, companies assist their customers at the first point of contact, and that engagement tends to happen online more than face-to-face, since 65 percent of shoppers like to browse products online – and the percentage of online shoppers is increasing.

-Bill Colleran, CEO of AnswerDash

Satisfied customers make successful companies, so there’s no question that customer service matters—the real question is why good customer service matters. Whether you are a fortune 500 company, a small mom-and-pop shop or a growing enterprise, good customer service determines the future of your business.

Self-service channels can be a customer service solution that helps organizations achieve their service efficiency goals, while creating successful customer interactions with their product or service.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Flavio Martins
Flavio Martins is the VP of Operations and Customer Support at DigiCert, Inc., a leading provider of enterprise authentication services and high-assurance SSL certificates trusted by thousands of government, education, and Fortune 500 organizations. Flavio is an award-winning customer service blogger, customer service fanatic, and on a mission to show that organizations can use customer experience as a competitive advantage win customer loyalty. Blog: Win the Customer!


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