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Blog

Feb 12, 2016

Creating Excellent Web Self-Service Experiences: Part 3

Web self-service has become the preferred mode of initial customer communication, providing massive potential for companies to wow their customers with advanced self-service technologies. Successful service interactions lead to higher customer satisfaction and retention, as well as reduced costs.

Outstanding self-service is a win-win, but a poorly executed self-service solution can seriously undermine customer relationships with your company. The average web self-service solutions are often plagued by the fact that they...

  • Create additional costs instead of reducing them
  • Turn into yet another information silo
  • Make it impossible to identify knowledge gaps or customer trends

This multi-part series, “Strengthening Customer Relationships through Outstanding Web Self-Service,” identifies the key components of advanced self-service technologies and why they should matter to organizations. The first two parts of the series discuss the importance of reliable, accurate, and relevant answers and the significance of personalized, up-to-date, and intelligent responses.  

In this third part of the series, you will learn how to ensure your self-service solution is truly reducing interaction costs, enabling consistency across channels, and providing useful customer insights. An outstanding web self-service solution excels at...

1. Reducing interaction costs -- in real life

Companies are interested in web self-service solutions because they are the least expensive form of customer communication. In theory, these solutions can save the company considerable sums. However, when poorly executed, online self-service can actually increase interaction costs! If the customer receives a response that is not useful, accurate, personalized, or consistent, he or she will be more likely to follow up with an email and/or phone call. This can add between $10 and $40 to the original cost of the interaction.

However, more sophisticated and effective self-service delivers the answers customers want and need for approximately 50 cents per interaction. Compared to $4.50 for an email and $10 or more for a phone call, the cost savings are substantial. In addition, well-executed self-service reduces the repeat calls from frustrated customers who weren’t able to get the resolution they needed online. Fewer calls mean shorter wait times and hold times, as well as more time for your live agents to devote to high-value conversations with customers.

2. Guaranteeing consistency across all communication channels

Today’s companies have no shortage of silos -- your knowledgebase should not become yet another silo of information! When the knowledgebase is cut off from the other communication channels, responses are no longer consistent and customers become confused and frustrated.

The knowledgebase should be integrated into the other channels of communication and accessible through multiple touch points, ensuring consistency, accuracy, and quality across the board. Some examples include:

  • Providing the same answers no matter the channel, be it a web browser, mobile app, or desktop CRM software
  • Engaging customers in a conversation through an interactive voice response (IVR) system
  • Supporting live agents by offering chat, email, and voice response suggestions
  • Responding to questions from employees and business partners through an Intranet portal

In addition to providing customers with consistent and accurate answers regardless of the touch point, an integrated knowledgebase delivers additional value by supporting all channels through a single application.

3. Providing insight into knowledge gaps and customer trends

Even the most well-thought-out knowledgebase is bound to be missing a few answers at first. Collecting customer search data helps you identify what questions are being asked that don’t currently have an answer. However, many self-service tools expect you to dig through tens of thousands of customer questions to uncover gaps in the knowledgebase.

Thankfully, there are self-service solutions with more advanced reporting capabilities. Through the use of machine learning, some self-service technologies can linguistically cluster thousands of questions and organize them into summaries, providing a clear path forward for filling knowledge gaps. This type of reporting also enables higher-level analysis of customer trends, sentiments, and perceptions. Such “voice of the customer” insights help companies prepare for the future.

The best self-service solutions deliver reduced interaction costs, consistent answers regardless of the communication channel, and actionable customer insights. Learn more about the makings of a great self-service solution in the white paper,  “Self-Service Effectiveness: Does Yours Measure Up?”  as well as Part 1Part 2 and Part 4 of this series.

See how Astute Solutions’ web self-service and KMS technology increase customer satisfaction and improve bottom-line results.

 

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