Self-service that works – tips & tricks
Customers today are more independent than ever. Research has shown that approximately half of them would rather look for solutions themselves than contact a service employee. Preferably 24/7, i.e. also outside the contact centre’s opening hours. By offering the right self-service channels, you not only meet that need, but it is also the best way to keep monotonous questions and processes away from your agents and to limit the call volumes in the contact centre.
Thanks to the correct application of self-service in customer contact, agents can focus on more challenging issues. They can provide customers with solutions instead of information, and therefore have much more added value. Moreover, there is more time for training and personal development. All this has a proven positive influence on employee satisfaction and ensures less absenteeism and a lower turnover in the contact centre.
Give your customers access to as much information as possible so they can easily find the answers they are looking for. Your company website is the starting point for the vast majority of customers. What information does it offer them? Do you have an FAQ page? A user forum? A chatbot? With the support of a multilingual knowledge base, you provide a central source of information, so the customer always gets the same answer, regardless of the channel he chooses to approach your company.
Even when customers do call the contact centre, you can help them get started before – or even without – getting to speak to an agent. For example, you can make interactive spoken feedback available and/or have the interaction handled by a voice bot using speech technology where possible.
In addition, it can be super useful to share videos via YouTube or another platform. For example, it allows you to show how a product works and how the customer can solve any problems themselves. We all know that visual instructions work much better than text, right?
Don't forget to also include your back-end systems in the self-service process. After all, self-service is about so much more than just Q&A. The goal is a customer that is not only self-sufficient in requesting information, but also in arranging things without the support of an agent. Outside the contact centre’s opening hours as well. For example to place an order, make changes to an existing order, or take out insurance. A seamless integration with the back-end systems is indispensable for this.
Although self-service channels are a godsend for many customers, they, unfortunately, can also be a major source of frustration, something you’ll want to avoid at all costs. Hence the following tips:
Make sure the information on your self-service channels is always accurate, up-to-date, and unambiguous. As mentioned, the most efficient way to achieve this is to use a central knowledge base. One that not only supports the contact centre agents but all self-service channels as well.
Give your customers the opportunity to contact an agent at any time during the self-service process, for example by means of an online chat function or a user-friendly 'web-to-call' function. And if the contact centre happens to be unmanned at that time, offer them the option to be called back during regular opening hours. A seamless operation of your company's omnichannel platform is essential for this, so the history of the total interaction is visible to the agent. It's simply a matter of proper case management: (also) outside the contact centre opening hours, the bot assigns a case number to the interaction to ensure it is traceable from a to z.
Make interactions between a customer and a chat or voice bot as efficient as possible. Using keywords and having the support of a knowledge base will ensure that the correct dialogues are available. Result: the customer is actually helped and does not end the conversation out of frustration because the bot does not understand them (“Sorry, I did not understand your question”… sounds familiar?). In addition, conversations with chat and voice bots are becoming more and more human-like thanks to the developments in the field of 'conversational AI'. Make use of that technology!
Whatever you offer customers in terms of self-service, make sure it works. Sounds obvious? We think so too, but unfortunately, it’s not always self-evident. Just as an example, here’s a recent personal anecdote, courtesy of the author of this blog:
A certain Southern European budget airline offers a super easy chatbot on its website, helping customers to request compensation for flight delays. Nice! You go through the process in a few steps and a case number appears on the screen. So far, so good. Unfortunately, in our case the promised e-mail confirmation never arrived, so the next step – after a few days of waiting patiently – was to call the contact centre. Result? No trace to be found of either the claim or the case number.
A one-off incident or a structural hitch in the case management process? In any case, these kinds of things cause huge frustration for the customer. Quite rightly so. And every contact centre agent knows how uncomfortable conversations with a frustrated customer can be. So, for the sake of customer and employee retention: Make. Sure. It. Works.
Wondering how to make the most of the self-service channels in your contact centre? Let us know! We’ll be happy to help you on your way.
Whitepaper 'From cost centre to centre stage'
In our whitepaper ‘From cost centre to centre stage: the effect of employee satisfaction on the customer experience’ we focus on the employee. We look at factors that have a positive effect on their well-being, and what their impact is on the customer experience and the business results. Twenty pages of useful information that you can apply immediately.
How do you make your contact centre a success for employees, customers and management? In other words, how do you change it from a cost centre to the centre stage of the organisation
Would you like to find out how to achieve this?
At DDM Consulting we believe that our customers benefit most from tailor-made advice, without preference for a particular product or specific supplier. That is why we offer a wide range of intelligent omnichannel contact centre solutions, delivered by renowned partners who are all specialists in their field.
How we work
Together with the client, we evaluate the current contact centre processes as well as the requirements and preferences for the new platform. We apply our years of experience to find the best match, and provide advice on the potential optimisation and automation of business operations, for example through the use of AI.
We naturally guarantee a successful implementation of the new solution, and ensure that all back-end systems are seamlessly (re)connected. After the deployment, we are at the service of our customers to offer advice and aftercare.
But we go one step further: time and time again, we push the boundaries of the chosen platform, and adapt it to the customer's specific business processes and needs. Our team has the business and technical expertise to achieve the maximum potential, even when it comes to an out-of-the-box solution. This is our way of ensuring that every customer makes optimal use of the capabilities of the chosen platform!
Our clients come from a wide range of sectors, from major financial institutions such as banks and insurance companies, to telecom operators, healthcare institutions, government agencies, retail, and media.
We have grown into a team of about 30 contact centre experts, and are mainly active in Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, France, Germany, Austria and Switzerland. To be able to guarantee the highest quality, we continuously invest in the knowledge, training and experience of our employees.