Have you ever visited one of those palatial buffet restaurants with dozens of assorted fresh dishes in self-serve stations, with the crowds and people walking (seemingly) aimlessly with their plates in search of the pasta or the dessert cart?
Raise your hand if you appreciate a good buffet — I certainly do!
Like lots of fellow foodies, I sometimes have found myself nearly falling into the classic trap of the buffet: Noshing every single dish — you know, like you’re suddenly on some kind of “see food” diet and need to eat everything you see.
When it comes to the buffet, I firmly believe that ‘strategy is everything’. I try to pace myself. I don’t mix too many different cuisines. I aim to have a taste of my favorite dishes (my weakness: anything with shrimp!) — and still save room for something from the dessert cart.
What’s your strategy? In a way, self-service in the contact centre is kind of like a buffet: You need a strategy, or you might overeat or miss all the best dishes.
It seems like self-service options are everywhere these days. My grocery store has new lanes for ‘self-checkout’ that I often use to save time when there’s a long queue (I can report that, after a few tries, I am getting the hang of it — even though I still can struggle to find the sticker on my avocado and bananas.)
I know I am not the only fan of faster self-service. Research indicates that consumers are showing increased interest in leveraging tools that enable them to help themselves. According to research by Microsoft, 90% of consumers now expect a brand or organisation to offer a self-service portal for customer support.
And businesses are listening. Self-service isn’t just about giving customers what they want; it is also about substantial cost savings.
Accenture found that, by adding self-service, a typical utility company could save millions of dollars in annual savings. 45% of companies offering self-service show increased website traffic and reduced phone inquiries.
Self-service not only has benefits for consumers and businesses, but for advisors and call center agents as well. ICMI research indicates that, with the right self-service strategy, agent satisfaction actually can increase. When you think about it, self-service has the capability of shifting customer behaviours and transforming the workforce.
Self-service options for the contact centre are far and many. It may be a simple DTMF-based IVR or a sophisticated voice-enabled intelligent IVR that fully automates actions. It can be a self-help page or simple FAQ on your website (any fellow FAQ junkies out there?).
Self-service can be anything from a virtual agent that can respond to a specific question to fully AI-enabled smart chatbots that can anticipate and automate work for the advisor. There are so many tempting ways to go about self-service that it can be a little intimidating.
What Does It Take to Compete for Today’s Global Consumers?
One thing seems certain: Self-service is key to the customer experience (CX). The momentum is building for self-service in the contact centre, and the stakes are high. As we enter the experience economy, CX proves to be a tremendous competitive differentiator.
Achieving exceptional CX is a continuous and iterative process. If you’re interested in incorporating self-service into your CX strategy, it’s important to be armed with the latest research — but you might be wondering: where do I start?
AI & Self-Service Are Transforming CX
The newly released 2019 NICE inContact CX Transformation Benchmark reveals a surprising gap between business and consumer perceptions — and contains some critical takeaways for contact centres of all sizes.
The latest research on CX reveals that forward-thinking businesses are confident in artificial intelligence (AI), but consumers are more cautious. You will learn so much more in an upcoming, interactive webinar focused solely on self-service.
This webinar is a can’t-miss event for any contact centre leaders looking for strategy tips for self-service that delivers the largest benefits for all — customers, businesses, and advisors. For some cutting-edge insights on self-service and CX, please register to join me.