Does self-service mean good customer service?

Topic: Customer Service

Done right, good customer service brings trust, loyalty and sales. A reputation for bad service spreads like wildfire, all the while, expectations grow higher every year.
Nearly 3 in 4 consumers prefer to solve their customer service issues on their own, setting the stage for big changes in the consumer experience landscape. Attitudes to contacting customer service are less than optimistic with one survey reporting that a third of consumers say they would “rather clean a toilet” than speak with a customer service team or representative.
Self-service isn’t just about customer convenience. Your company and its employees also stand to benefit from it. From increased productivity to better time management, there are numerous reasons to explore self-serve solutions in more depth.

Constant availability provides more convenience

Where self-serve technology excels is in its accessibility – it’s always available. It allows customers to be served outside of office hours and without the need for a dedicated contact centre. Accessibility doesn’t just mean 24/7 contact but also providing the same level of service across devices; 60% of consumers view a brand with a mobile-responsive self-service option more favourably than one that doesn’t.
When it comes to phone calls only 14% of calls to businesses are answered without being placed on hold. More importantly, a third of those put on hold hang up. An IVR system allows customers to call in at any time of the day and funnel their way down a path to their intended goal whether it’s to make a payment, update details or make an appointment without anyone being placed on hold.

Educate your customers

Part of assisting the customer is not just about providing solutions but guiding them with the right tools they need to solve their own problems in the future. If customers are able to find the answers to their most asked questions or find a guide or tutorial online, they become less dependant on support from members of your team.
Tutorial videos are some of the most popular on YouTube, generating a 70% year-on-year growth in searches related to “how-to”, with more than 100M hours of how-to content watched. Zendesk found that over 50% of customers felt it important to solve product issues themselves rather than rely on customer service – this represents an opportunity.

Reducing costs and increasing efficiency

New technologies can help companies cut their support costs through reducing the number of calls directed to customer support agents, providing customer self-help without support agent interaction, and using labour-saving automations for dealing with both issues and service requests.
The Harvard Business Review reported that for the privilege of skipping the queue, American fast food chain Taco Bell charges a 20% premium for orders made via its digital app.
Of course, for more complex problems, person to person contact helps –  NewVoiceMedia found that 45% of people still believe calling a company in person is the fastest way to solve an issue.
It’s predicted that by 2020, the customer will manage 85% of the relationship with an enterprise without interacting with a human (Source: Gartner). Solutions such as live chat, social media support, and online communities all help to provide a more consistent and personalised customer experience that enables the customer to have some of that control. Take a look at our free customer service ebook for some more fantastic stats and ideas

Author Avatar
Jordana Makin

I'm the Marketing Team Lead for Esendex UK and Ireland, with a background in SEO and PPC. I'm always interested to see how our customers are using their products and want to deliver an excellent user experience.