The Company vs. The Customer – Who is the Big Winner in Self Service?


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Often, when employees bring their managers new technology tools they want to implement, the most common response is, “Well how do we know it will actually work?” This is a common impulse based on our desire to not be duped by a catchy market slogan or some flashy advertisements translates into people’s reluctance to try out new technology or systems.

This also seems to be a regular conversation around when people seek to implement self-service channels for help desk or customer support as well. It seems like it should work and be a no brainer, let customers get their answers for themselves and save my reps’ time. This “Too good to be true” proposition seems to scare some help desk department heads from implementing channels that really could help them in dramatic ways.

That’s why I was interested to see some recent research conducted by Software Advice, a web-based research site for help desk software. They surveyed 170 customer service managers, directors and supervisors that had direct experience managing, tracking and implementing self-service channels to see if 

The Company vs. The Customer – Who is the Big Winner?

As evidenced by the charts below, self-service is very effective. Of the key customer service metrics surveyed, speed to answer was the KPI most positively impacted, with 80% saying it was significantly improved by implementing self-service channels.

Other KPIs that companies frequently track improved as well, such as cost per contact, cost per incident first-level resolution and even new agent training hours. Companies can see immediate benefit when these KPIs improve because it means they continue to offer more/better support to their customers without taking on additional costs.

Surprisingly, KPIs associated with a great customer experience, such as speed to answer and call abandonment rates, were improved as well. These findings indicate that, while companies might benefit from these efficiency enhancements, the customers may be the true winners because of their overall improved experience.

 More, Better Support

In addition to providing more support, some of the survey respondents indicated self-service freed them to actually spend more quality time with the customer, ensuring better outcomes and developing deeper relationship with their customer base. A couple of the quotes that resonated with me particularly are:

“We have more time to spend one-on-one per contact.” &

“[We’ve seen] a dramatic improvement in customer service quality.”

These quotes show that self-service isn’t just about eliminating the humanity from the help desk, it’s about letting your reps interact with high value customers in a much more meaningful way.

Do Self-Service!

The takeaway from this report was how much potential self-service has, for both the customer and the company. Given the recent improvements in self-service technology, there is no better time then now to implement these channels.

In my own research about self service (two years ago), the same conclusion was made but then from a consumer point of view. It is very relevant to add the business point of view as well. 

This was my research report on Self Service:

I’ll include a SlideShare version of this report below, and if you want to read more about Software Advice’s findings you can check that out here.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Steven Van Belleghem
Steven Van Belleghem is inspirator at B-Conversational. He is an inspirator, a coach and gives strategic advice to help companies better understand the world of conversations, social media and digital marketing. In 2010, he published his first book The Conversation Manager, which became a management literature bestseller and was awarded with the Marketing Literature Prize. In 2012, The Conversation Company was published. Steven is also part time Marketing Professor at the Vlerick Management School. He is a former managing partner of the innovative research agency InSites Consulting.


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