Contact Center Solutions Featured Article

Eliminating Customer Frustrations with Self-Service Options

February 25, 2019

When questions or problem arise, customers and their providers or vendors have the same objectives – getting issues resolved as quickly as possible and to customers’ satisfaction.  There is little that erodes brand power more than poor customer service, and countless studies have shown that today’s customers are more fickle than ever and likely to stop conducting business with companies that have poor customer service.

But, today’s customers would prefer to solve problem on their own instead of relying on  live support, which is why self-service options have become a critical piece of the customer service puzzle.  In fact, even two years ago, 84% of customers said they had used self-service when they’ve had problems.  Good self-service options not only solve customers’ problems, but they also give customers a sense of accomplishment and reduce the frustration that often accompanies the need to contact customer support.  That includes well-designed IVR systems that leverage current technology.

Dynamic IVR

Rather than relying on pre-defined IVR trees, natural language processing allows companies to leverage speech recognition and artificial intelligence to create intelligent interactions with their IVR systems based on customers’ specific needs.  Combined with growing knowledge bases and extensive customer data, these systems create a dynamic, personalized calling experience that eliminates the long string of IVR prompts and brings customers to resolution much more quickly, while still leaving open the option to transfer to a live agent when needed.

InQueue Self-Service

There are many times, however, when customers may not be aware of self-service options, or prefer to start with a call to a live agent, and find themselves in a queue waiting for assistance.  Advanced capabilities like in-queue self-service options combine live and self-service options, giving customers the option of getting a link to a mobile self-service app via SMS, based on their specific problem.  This not only gives them the opportunity to resolve their problem quickly, but to do it on their own, giving an increased sense of satisfaction.  The byproduct is greater satisfaction with the customer service organization, which was able to reduce waiting time and present and effective solution.  Importantly, customers will not lose their place in queue – they will be prioritized should they not be able to resolve their concerns using the self-service options.

Visual IVR

Customers not only want to be able to solve their own problems; they also want to do it using the most convenient channels for them.  Visual IVR creates a visual representation of the IVR tree to allow customers to use self-service options on their digital devices.  By using visual on-screen menus, customers can navigate to solutions quickly and quietly, wherever they are, at their own convenience, and without becoming disruptive to others around them.  Like AI-based IVR, text-based NLP allows can be leveraged to bring customers to resolution quickly.  Think of it as a search engine for self-service. 

Mobile Self-Service

In a mobile-first society, it’s critical to be able to support customer needs in a mobile environment.  In fact, customers not only expect it – they demand it.  Customers tend to contact customer service when it’s convenient for them, requiring access to as many self-service options as possible.  Whether they are driving and only have access to voice IVR, or are at the office and prefer not to disturb colleagues, these modern IVR and self-service technologies offer opportunities for problem resolution that meet any customers’ needs.

In addition to the increased efficiency of problem resolution, once customers have tried self-service tools, they tend to turn back to them for future needs.  The result is an increase in overall efficiency of support operations, and an ability for live agents to dedicate their efforts to those customers who prefer live agents or who are unable to find solutions through self-service, rather than forcing them to wait in longer queues.

Edited by Erik Linask