Customer Self Service: The Future is Now

Customer self service is not a new idea. Banks have been using self service features for decades. ATM’s and online account management are just two ways banks have been able to help customers help themselves while reducing customer service costs. All businesses can learn much from the banking industry’s history of leveraging customer self service.

Gearing customer service towards the next generation of customers has given some businesses a head start on tomorrow’s marketplace. This doesn’t mean that businesses are to forget about today’s market and current customers. But the ability to anticipate what customers are going to want tomorrow gives businesses an edge on the competition. So what does the customer want?

Automated self service is a growing global trend. “Moving forward, automation is going to be about cutting to the chase, skipping past laborious processes, to get us to the experience or the product more quickly,” said Richard Cope, Director of Insight and Trends of competitive intelligence firm Mintel.

Kate Leggett, analyst for industry research firm Forrester, said that self service is a close second to voice as the primary means of support sought out by customers. Her research shows that there has been a 12% increase in web self service, a 24% increase in chat support and a 25% increase in community support all over the last three years.

While customers are moving toward self service options, they don’t have the confidence that businesses will make it easy to find the information customers are looking for. Additional research shows that 67% of customers prefer self service over speaking to a customer service representative yet the majority of customers still call the company.

Customer self service is a great way to build a solid relationship with the customer and decrease support costs at the same time. But it must be done right. Focusing solely on cost savings places the emphasis on the balance sheet instead of on the customer and creates the perfect environment for making bad customer support decisions.

The best way to implement self support is to design systems geared towards giving the customers what they want, information at their fingertips. Cost savings will naturally follow as streamlined systems eliminate redundancies and reduce the need for large support departments.

Please contact us for more information about customer self service and how you can help your customers help themselves.