Self-service has a greater role to play than simply reducing the number of voice calls into contact centres. Mashud Ahmed of Puzzel explains more.
The role of self-service is in a state of transformation as contact centre leaders look for smarter ways to meet customer demand and corporate business requirements. Research by ContactBabel indicates that 80% of organisations offer some form of self-service with web self-service and telephony self-service or voice IVR being the most widely adopted across contact centres of all sizes. When it comes to other forms of self-service adoption, by far the most prevalent are FAQs (83%) followed by self-help customer videos at 23% and virtual agents at nearly 10%.
Self-service is growing but it has a far greater role to play than simply reducing the number of calls coming into the contact centre. Our latest white paper outlines the options and explains how to create an effective self-service strategy supported by the latest cloud-based contact centre technology.
8 Top Tips for Self-Service
An important rule to remember is that self-service shouldn’t be left to chance. A successful self-service implementation comes down to a clear, carefully thought-out process that puts the customer at the heart of everything. Here are 8 top tips to maximise self-service in contact centres including:
1. Have a clear goal
Start by questioning your organisation’s true motives for deploying self-service? Whatever the reason, make sure the customer is the key motivator. Give customers what they really want and consider rewarding them for using self-service.
2. Focus on existing self-service assets
Find out what works and what does not work by focusing on your existing self-service assets while looking for opportunities to improve their value.
3. Make the experience more engaging
Customer intimacy is the name of the game. Why not use tools such as speech recognition to bring a human element to voice IVR? Customers can ‘speak’ with the added bonus of round-the-clock self-service availability for example to look up their bank balance, pay their utility bills, purchase theatre tickets or book flights.
4. Look beyond IVR
Today’s self-service options are varied and appeal to different senses from automated speech recognition, web self-service including search text and FAQs, bots, virtual agents to
the latest Smartphone apps and Visual IVR.
5. Zero out the “zeroed out to an agent” statistics
It is estimated that typically 17% of all calls that go into a self-service option are “zeroed-out” when the customer decides they would actually prefer to speak with a live agent. Remember to listen to what customers want and avoid complex IVR functionality.
6. Consider Visual IVR
Smartphones make it possible to offer visual representations of IVR menus. Visual IVR can be used to send video presentations such as relevant ‘how to’ YouTube clips, while waiting for an agent.
7. Bridging the gap with bots
Bots offer a powerful way to build a bridge between the digital and human world. They are a powerful addition to an organisation’s self-service portfolio. The secret is to choose the right bot for your contact centre.
8. Take a closer look at virtual agents
Virtual agents often appear as an embedded widget on support pages, sometimes fronted with an avatar, inviting customers to engage via text in the hunt for answers. Whether you decide to use bots or virtual agents, be sure to make them an intrinsic part of your self-service offering to deliver far greater levels of personalisation.
Good self-service should be customer-focused and become a part of the customer journey. Take on board these 8 simple strategies to get it right and you’ll be rewarded with customer loyalty, healthy profits and a distinct competitive advantage.
Click to download our latest white paper entitled “8 Top Tips to Make Self-Service a Success” to find out more.
Mashud Ahmed is Innovation Manager at Puzzel UK
 The UK Contact Centre Decision-Marker’s Guide 2017-2018
 Call Centre Helper – What Contact Centres are Doing Right Now (2017 edition)
 The UK Contact Centre Decision-Maker’s Guide 2017-2018