How to deliver ROI from your digital self-service
The pandemic has radically altered many aspects of how we live our lives, including increasing everyone’s use of digital channels. At the same time customers are becoming more demanding, wanting faster answers to their queries. Together, this puts the spotlight on self-service – customers are now more comfortable using this channel to find information and solve routine queries, provided it delivers the speed and effectiveness that they are looking for.
The key point is ensuring that your self-service is effective. When implemented and run correctly you can generate ROI from self-service while improving the customer experience. However, fail to meet customer needs and they simply won’t use it, or will abandon their queries and switch to other channels, adding to call volumes, costs, and customer dissatisfaction.
The challenges to self-service success – and how to overcome them
Deploying digital self-service successfully, ensuring you achieve a good ROI and your customers see the benefits requires focus on these four areas:
1. Delivering up-to-date, accessible knowledge
An effective self-service system must be underpinned by a comprehensive, accessible knowledge base. One that can understand questions, however ,customers ask them. They need to deliver relevant answers, rather than forcing consumers to scroll through pages of irrelevant results. Crucially you need to invest not just in building the knowledge base but keeping it constantly updated. In addition, don’t forget to enrich as answers change and new questions come up. An important aspect to any self-service system is ensuring there is a way for people to provide feedback. This is how you can identify gaps and ensure that customers keep using the solution.
2. Easy to use
It may seem obvious but if self-service isn’t easy to use, then customers will choose to switch to other (more expensive) channels such as the phone. What’s worse is that they’ll end up even more frustrated because they’ll feel your company has wasted their time unnecessarily. In fact, Forrester estimates that an average of $22 million is spent annually on unnecessary service costs due to customers not being able to self-serve effectively. So, focus on creating a user centred design for your self-service system. Also, monitor where people drop out of self-service. This way you can identify and fix common issues which might be causing problems.
Digital Self-Service ROI (continued)
3. Use it as part of an omnichannel approach
Self-service doesn’t work for every interaction and is not right for every business. Agents will still need to be handle the more complex queries. And some demographic groups still feel more comfortable using other channels – so don’t stop them. Focus your self-service where it delivers most value by looking at customer journeys that are both important and high volume. Don’t forget to offer an omnichannel approach. Make it easy for someone to escalate away from self-service if it’s not providing a satisfactory response. Additionally, you need a minimum number of interactions to cover the costs and ensure your business will get value from self-service. So, measure your call and email volumes and double-check that it will be cost-effective for you.
4. Focus on continual improvement, not just cutting costs
While it is clearly cheaper than other channels, don’t use self-service as an excuse to cut costs. Re-invest the savings you generate into upskilling agents. Expand customer service resources, as well as improving and updating your knowledge base, of course. Monitor your completion rates and escalations and analyse the data to identify and spot patterns. Can you find a way to keep certain escalations within self-service? Or do you need to put in place a clearer path to another channel to save your customer’s time? Continuously aim to improve and ensure self-service keeps delivering value.
All customers want to feel valued by the companies they choose and appreciate those that don’t waste their time. And in an increasingly digital world, the ability to find quick answers to routine queries themselves will be appreciated. Digital self-service delivers these benefits (and increases ROI), but only if you understand and overcome potential pitfalls. Most importantly, continue to monitor your self-service to ensure it is delivering. Find out more by downloading our new guide “The Value of Customer Self-Service in the Digital Age“.