Customer service has long been an industry that’s relied heavily on interactions between customers and a company representative. The primary channel has always been telephone - whether someone was calling into a call center located away from the business’ physical location or if they were calling representatives who worked in-house and cross-functionally.
Soon after, email and chat options became quick, nonverbal service solutions as the internet grew in popularity and scope.
Today, we are getting away from these beginnings. There will always be customers who want verbal interactions with the company. For this reason, telephone customer service remains an important part of customer experience offerings.
It is undeniable, though, that businesses must adapt, as the demand for self-service, non-verbal support rises. You can boost your customer experience with these 5 types of customer self-service.
1. Customer self-service portals
Unless your business can afford to employ customer service representatives around the world and around the clock, you will most likely have customers who have trouble reaching your company during your set business hours. Not to mention, many younger customers, those more comfortable with technology, will nearly always opt for online support first.
If they can easily find what they are looking for on a customer self-service portal, they will certainly be more satisfied with your support offerings.
An additional perk of these portals is that they can even decrease your customer service costs!
People today do everything on their phones. Sure, laptops are a great tool, but they don’t fit in your pocket.
Including a mobile app or mobile version of your site in the types of customer self-service you offer can be key. As far as a mobile version of your desktop site goes, don’t forget to make it user-friendly - browsing a site from a small screen can be challenging.
Apps offer the same perks, but also offer push notification and updated capabilities to keep your customers informed about company and service updates.
3. Bots and AI
When you think of bots in a CX context, you likely think of live chatbots. Artificial intelligence can be helpful as a tool in customer service. Over 70% of consumers search online for solutions to their problems, but only about half of them are willing to spend more than 10 minutes on that search.
Live chatbots are a great way to intervene in the midst of customer confusion. Many company sites have a popup chat window that appears after a certain amount of time spent on the website. These bots are great to help guide the customer to the answers they are looking for.
They don’t always have the answer, but they can often point customers in the right direction.
Not to mention, if this window pops up automatically, users will feel like your company really put thought into the accessibility of information and customer experience.
If you have a physical store clients can visit, kiosks can be good for short, specific tasks, such as finding an item in a store or checking the price of something without having to pull an associate aside. In the same vein is self-checkout, a kind of kiosk, obviously for the very specific task of checkout and payment.
5. Functional Automated Phone Systems
While some people prefer calling a customer service department, others only do it as a last resort. An easy way to make your customer’s day is to offer them the options of speaking with a representative or using an automated menu system to perform the tasks they were calling for.
Following menus and giving inputs using their dial pad can be a quick way to accomplish tasks without having to allocate an agent to a self-service task.
This is a great type of customer self-service for people on the go who don’t always have internet access to use your website.
We live in an age of technology-based independence. Whether or not that is true independence is up for debate, but customer service will never be truly independent. Whether people are calling in, logging on, or just using your various types of customer self-service, you will always be behind their successful experiences. Self-service is only self-serving once it has been set up by you, the business owner.
Never forget that even if your customers prefer to solve problems without directly interacting with you or your agents, you still owe them the best experience you can possibly offer.