How To Solve Your Biggest Customer Service Problems With Digital Self-Service

[24] | April 20, 2016

What’s your biggest customer service problem? Is it too many inbound phone calls and emails? The escalating costs from all those calls and emails? Poor first contact resolution rates? Is outdated or inaccurate information confusing your customers? Or perhaps, you lack insight into what your customers really want.

Digital Self-Service: Solving BIG Customer Service Problems

If you’re experiencing any of these problems, relax. Every contact center manager or customer experience professional has had to deal with one or more of these issues at one point in their careers. So the question is, how did they do it? One increasingly popular "blanket" solution that addresses all of these problems in one clean swoop is digital self-service. Let’s explore how this can be accomplished.

What is Digital Self-Service

But first, a quick primer. Digital self-service enables customers to visit your organization’s web, mobile, or social channel (even web-enabled kiosks) and be automatically guided toward the answers and information they require. That’s all you need to know for now. In the following paragraphs, you’ll see how that simple capability gets you on the path to solving some of these big customer service problems mentioned above.

Digital Self-Service: Lowering Call and Email Volume

The best digital self-service solutions have virtual agent technology at their core. Virtual agents are software services that allow customers to enter your digital channel, enter a question in natural language, and get the single approved answer without ever having to contact a live agent. Consider this: 3 out of every 5 of your customers turn to your company’s website first to find answer to their questions (i.e. bypassing the contact center), digital self-service can help reduce the vast majority of those routine, informational-type questions that would otherwise end up being handled by a live agent in your contact center.

Digital Self-Service: Reducing Costs

With all those calls and emails being deflected away from live agents in the contact center, you can certainly see how digital self-service reduces costs: allowing organizations to scale customer service efforts without additional headcount or reallocate contact center resources. This is incredibly valuable for an organization that is planning for higher growth. So how much are we talking about? Well, digital self-service can typically reduce phone call volume by 5-35%, and reduce e-mail volume by 25-60%. If you want to dig into the numbers, let me suggest the following whitepaper: Simple Calculations: Forecasting Cost Reductions from Digital Self-Service.

Digital Self Service: Helps Improve Answer Accuracy and Consistency

An engaging virtual agent, located on your website or other digital channel such as social and mobile, invites your customers to ask a question using natural language. When a customer asks the question, the virtual agent intelligently recognizes the intent behind the question and serves the single approved answer. By recognizing intent, not just keywords, the Virtual Agent can deliver the one accurate answer to a question regardless of the hundreds of ways a question can be phrased. How accurate? Many of our clients experience a 90%+ average accuracy rating in terms of delivering a single answer to direct questions posed to the virtual agent across any digital channel. And remember, this same technology can be used in the contact center too, so when customers do call in, your live agents can always provide an accurate answer to customers.

Digital Self-Service: Increases First Contact Resolution Rates

In terms of the improving contact center effectiveness, perhaps there’s no better metric than First Contact Resolution (FCR). FCR rates have a direct impact on customer satisfaction as well as cost management in busy contact centers and it’s a metric that digital self-service can have a positive impact on.

When digital self-service is used in the contact center, agents can easily obtain accurate answers to common questions, which in turn empowers them to provide useful, consistent answers to customer queries. With accurate answers, agents are in a much better position to resolve customer inquiries the first time.

Digital Self-Service: Deep Customer Insight

Digital self-service also provides companies with instant, actionable, real-time insight on customer behavior and emerging trends. How? Your digital self-service solution will be processing answers to millions of customer questions from across all online channels. In this regard, you can think of your digital self-service solution as a dynamic voice-of-the-customer platform, where unstructured customer data from across all your digital channels is presented in a highly visual format to customer experience, contact center and marketing professionals.

Customer data is automatically organized into themes, which you can further explore with a simple click, (there’s no custom reports to create and no data analysis expertise required). Having such rich, intuitive insight available to customer experience, marketing and other users means your customer data can quickly be understood and monetized in the form of new products and services and optimized marketing campaigns.

Digital Self-Service: Next Steps

Digital self-service truly is a foundational technology that needs to be part of any customer service strategy. While I’ve touched on some major problems the technology solves, there are many more customer service challenges that digital self-service can address. If you’re trying to determine the best approach to introduce digital self-service to your organization, we suggest starting with a free, no obligation consultation highlighting [24]’s virtual agent technology.