Fifteen years ago, customers wanted to be able to resolve their issues over email; then they began to expect a reply within 24 hours. But the days when it was ok to answer an email within 24 hours are long gone, in fact, according to a survey conducted by the Fast Company, around 40% of consumers today; expect a reply within 4 hours. What’s more, social media users have even less patience – 55% of Twitter, Facebook and Instagram users want an answer in less than 4 hours. Companies are responding with all hands on deck, meaning every touch point – customer service, phone, mail, live chat, and social media –to serve their busy user base.
However, the survey revealed something even more interesting – a much quieter, 70% of customers expect companies they do business with to offer a self-service support center. In other words, a majority of customers would rather click on your website, go through your how-to resources and resolve their own problems without anyone’s help. To put it simply – customers want gratification so instant that they would rather not talk to you at all.
What started with Self-Check-Out lines in supermarkets, and Automated Teller Machines at banks has developed in a multi-billion dollar sharing economies populated by brands like Uber and AirBNB. While industry giants like Facebook, Google and Amazon have risen to success based (well, at least in part) on their ability to “master the art” of self-service software. Well-rounded CS software, which has a strong self-service element is a great way to boost your company’s profitability. Perhaps, the companies that use this software are able to earn more money because it is still substantially cheaper than both phone and mail options. In fact, the cost of the average web service sessions is around $1 (it can also cost as little as 25 cents), compared to $10 for an email and $33 for a phone call, according to Forrester Research.
Other benefits of CS software include the ability to provide 24-hour customer support without continuously paying employees through the graveyard shift, the ability to collect customer data and the software’s potential in driving global reach. While successfully integrating customer self-service is certainly not an easy task for any business, it is certainly not impossible. As a matter of fact, there are numerous companies out there that offer self-services. For instance, Orange (one of the leading providers of integrated communications services in the world) allows its customers to customize their packages according to their own distinctive needs.
Customer Want Answers
Now, while a well-designed platform should allow customers to work independently, you have to face it –customers will inevitably confront issues. If a customer has questions, and no one is there to answer them, the customer will surely get frustrated, which can lead to further difficulties. According to the last year’s Global CX Wakeup Call Report, around 45% of customers cannot remember having a recent successful customer experience, and more than 35% of the survey respondents experienced poor response time. In addition to that, most customers have specific preferences.
According to a Mobius Poll, more than 80% of customers prefer to speak with a representative during the weekend. Thankfully, 24/7 live chat support eliminates this issue. With live chats, customers can conveniently ask their questions right from their browsers. Consequently, this reduces abandonment for customers who give up when a member of staff is not there to help. The customers will feel more satisfied to accomplish their needed tasks right away with the assistance of a live customer service member.
Improving Customer Relationships
When the self-service principle first started to take root, in most cases, the main motivation for businesses was a search for efficiency. In their desire to build super-efficient companies, it seemed logical to have the customers perform certain tasks. In 2016, with more than 50% of businesses using self-service (according to IntelliResponse Systems), the principle can be much farther-reaching. This principle has the biggest impact when based on a win-win philosophy, and the primary goal of every organization should always be an improved customer relationship – the advantages are both efficiency and higher profits.