What is Customer Self-Service?

What is Customer Self-Service
Customer Self-Service Technologies

In the digital world, while customers prefer diverse communication channels, the contact center continues to be a point of contact to address queries and issues. However, customers have little time to navigate laborious interactive voice response (IVR) menus to connect with an agent or wait in queues to be connected. As a result, several businesses now offer self-service to customers to enable them to resolve their requirement.

Customer self-service (CSS) is a process through which a customer can access the required information, request data and perform routine tasks electronically without the requirement of a customer support executive.

The adoption and popularity of self-service among customers has increased significantly in the past five years, mainly driven by ease-of-use technology and time-saving characteristics of CSS. According to a Forrester survey, the use of help / FAQ web pages for customer service has increased to 76% in 2014, a rise of 9% from the figure in 2012.

Some of the well-known customer self-service methods are described below:

Customer Self-Service Technologies

  • Web Self-Service:

    Web self-service relates to giving customers access to a knowledge base or detailed FAQs that answer the most common questions. This is helpful for customers for whom the Internet is the first resort for information.

  • Mobile Apps:

    As the adoption of smartphones increases across the world, companies now provide mobile apps to enable customers to fulfill their requirements. For instance, in the competitive telecom sector, apps allow inquiry about mobile balance, recharge, new deals etc. Similarly, an automated SMS system can facilitate the start or stop of a service

  • Kiosks:

    Nowadays, businesses place self-service kiosks with a monitor where the customer can carry out specific tasks such as checking reservation status, checking flight timings etc.

  • Communities:

    Consumers of a particular brand can connect on a platform such as community blogs or social media like Facebook and Twitter, sharing their problems or feedback on the platform and getting solutions either from the company itself or from a fellow consumer.

  • Interactive Voice Response (IVR):

    Popularly known as IVR, the customer interacts with an automated voice system, which is menu driven and asks customers to press certain buttons in their phone to perform specific tasks.

Importance of Providing Customer Self-Service

  • 24×7 Availability:

    Self-service channels do not require any allocation of human resources, and hence can be open round-the-clock to provide customers with support for basic queries and problems.

  • Analyze Customer Behavior:

    Customer self-service allows businesses to analyze customer behavior on their platforms. Companies use this information to target customers for marketing their products in a more personalized and effective manner.

  • Cost Reduction:

    Once fully operational, customer self-service technology results in significant cost reduction for the business, minimizing the need to invest in a large team of agents. A well-built CSS could prevent routine calls. For example, a password reset problem can be resolved by customers on their own via password reset links sent through email. This will also bring down the number of tickets raised for customer support.

  • Improves Agent Efficiency:

    Support agents are free of answering repetitive questions from customers. This makes them more productive.

  • Improved Customer Satisfaction:

    With time being of the essence for customers, waiting in a long telephonic queue to speak to an agent for a simple problem is a task that no one will look forward to. Customer satisfaction is thus improved when they are able to count on self-service for quick resolution.

Improving customer experience is an ongoing process and companies must invest in various technologies and business processes to meet customer demands. Businesses that create an efficient self-service technology could see huge benefits within their support team and their customer base.

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