When a new innovation comes along it’s natural to get excited about it, especially when it comes to customer service. More and more is being demanded by customers, and in order to keep up, companies need new tools and solutions. Now that those tools and solutions have arrived in the form of digital self-service, which has the potential to make customer service easier and more efficient than ever, the self-service fever is spreading.
However, and isn’t there always a however, successfully taking advantage of a digital self-service platform is much more complicated than shouting “Take my money!” at self-service solution vendors and firing the customer service department. For the good of organizations everywhere, there are three big digital self-service myths that need to be dispelled.
Helping customers help themselves
We’re living in the age of the consumer. Customers now have more buying options than ever, and when they’re making a purchase, they aren’t content to go in uninformed. They want all their questions answered on everything from the product to the shipping and the return process before a transaction ever occurs.
According to The Real Self-Service Economy report in which 3,000 customers were surveyed, a full 70 percent of customers expect a website to include a self-service application. Digital self-service options give customers the ability to get as much information as they want on the channel of their choosing, with the device they prefer and on their own schedule. Sounds good, doesn’t it? For consumers and companies alike, so long as the following points are heeded.
1. Self-service is one size fits all
Offering an effective digital self-service platform requires two main things: an understanding of how your market likes to interact with your brand, and the tools that best allow for that interaction.
For companies whose customers prefer purchasing directly from the main website, this may mean a dynamic FAQ that allows shoppers to receive fast and informative answers to their specific questions while browsing and making buying decisions. For companies with a thriving user community this may mean a well-maintained discussion forum where users provide information to each other. And for companies with a progressive digital presence, this means an advanced AI option like a virtual assistant from digital self-service leader nanorep, which can immediately assist customers with everything from questions to product recommendations to purchasing transactions in popular messaging apps such as Facebook Messenger and SMS.
Yet for many companies, an optimal self-service platform will consist of more than one tool, and each must be carefully selected to avoid being an ineffective investment.
2. Customer service employees are no longer necessary
Self-service tools are undoubtedly awesome for the decision makers in an organization because, yes, they can cut down on customer service related spending while also saving time for employees that would otherwise be stuck on the phone or in email answering the same questions over and over.
That said, while self-service is a great resource, it’s not the be all end all of customer service. There will always be some tasks that only a person can complete, and there will always be customers who long to speak with a real live human. Self-service tools should be one component of a comprehensive customer service approach.
3. It’s a quick-fix for customer service issues
Self-service customer service will undoubtedly lead to a few quick and easy improvements. For instance, if customers are frustrated by how long it takes to get a response from a company’s customer service, or if they dislike how many steps they have to take to reach a resolution, self-service tools will pay great dividends for the company in question almost immediately.
However, truly great customer service requires a customer-centric approach, which is a company-wide understanding that the customer experience is the most important factor when it comes to the success of the company. This approach prioritizes customers across every department in a company and at every level, very much including management. With this approach in place, self-service solutions are in an excellent position to enhancea company’s customer service as well as its overall business, not just slap a band-aid over a problem.
Self-service tools can be terrifically effective, but they aren’t designed to be standalone solutions, and they aren’t designed to exist in a silo. They’re most effective when integrated into the organization’s overall systems to allow for a 360-degree view of all customer interactions, providing insights that help shape everything from sales and marketing to research and development and ultimately helping to create the ultimate customer experience. Only customer-centric companies will appreciate that, though. If customer service issues run deep, even the best self-service tools won’t make a significant difference.
The future of customer service has arrived, and it’s effective and efficient while also being empowering for customers who will find themselves fully in control of every interaction and transaction thanks to advanced self-service tools. Yet while these tools are bound to improve customer service for organizations of all kinds, it’s the companies that fully understand what these tools can, cannot, should and shouldn’t be doing that will reap the biggest rewards.