Do Customers Actually Want Self-Service?

Do Customers Actually Want Self-Service?

In our fast-paced, digital world many customers still choose to call customer contact centers. With so many opting for live agent assistance, where does self-service fit in?

According to Microsoft’s 2019 State Of Global Customer ServiceReport, Americans prefer calling customer service to any other channel of interaction. If customers are so attached to getting help from live agents, why are the best customer care departments and CX professionals focussing so much on automation and self-service capabilities?

Customers might prefer calling into customer service for a variety of reasons, but avoiding self-service isn’t one of them. According to the same report, 61% of American consumers try self-service first before connecting to an agent, and 88% expect businesses to have some kind of self-service support portal.

Today’s customers clearly crave self-service customer support — many are simply used to calling customer service. Companies must bring self-service and automation to the channels customers are using if they want to see real CX success.

“Companies must bring self-service and automation to the channels customers are using if they want to see real CX success.”

The Right Channel

Some cutting edge customer service departments have begun investing in social media divisions to respond to customer questions and complaints. Consumers haven’t exactly embraced the practice. According to Microsoft’s report, most Americans still have never used social media for customer service. While the majority of consumers have used 3-5 different channels for customer service, the traditional phone channel remains their #1 preferred channel with email coming in second.

Customers prefer the channels they’ve become accustomed to using. Business must meet consumers where they are to deliver the best CX to the most customers. 39% of Americans rank phone channels as their preferred method of interaction and 20% prefer email. That means most customers don’t want to use a chatbot on a website or text back and forth with customer service. Consumers are already using phone and email channels and they expect companies to be there too.

The Right Response

The focus on phone calls and emails doesn’t mean consumers prefer live agent interactions over a modern CX or automated self-service. In fact, the vast majority of Americans (88%) expect companies to provide self-service. Most (61%) try that method before trying anything else. The problem for business comes when customers don’t find their self-service portals. Sometimes buried on websites or limited to chatbot interactions, many consumers are missing business’ automated experiences.

The most advanced AI in the world has limited advantages when customers don’t utilize the communication channels it’s programmed into. The right response to customers’ love of traditional channels isn’t to abandon self-service initiatives, it’s to build automation and self-service into phone and email channels. Consumers demand self-service and want to use phone lines. It’s up to businesses to give them the best of both worlds.

Best Of Both Worlds

Thankfully for businesses, the answer has arrived.Visual IVRbuilds off existing IVR and phone customer experiences to modernize CX and give customers the automated self-service they want when they call existing customer service phone lines. Zappix On-Demand Apps take things one step further, allowing businesses to offer self-service through phone channels, or embedded directly into emails, QR codes, websites, and many other channels.

Both systems leverage instant visual menus to simplify CX, create faster resolutions and lower average handle time, deliver the right answers through the right channels.

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