Many call center organizations today have seen stagnant budgets (or even budget cuts), and this presents them with a problem: cut back on service, which risks damaging customer relationships and even losing customers, or trying to make more out of less, which risks burning out agents and leaving the call center chaotic and service levels on the decline. Most call centers know how important consistent, personalized service is, but they may believe that improving service requires large technology purchases or hiring sprees they simply can’t afford.
While self-service is often highlighted as a corner-cutting method when it comes to keeping costs low, this needn’t be the case. When self-service is done well, customers like to use it (provided a live agent is available when the customer needs one). Properly implemented self-service can accomplish a number of things: it can take pressure off live agents by offloading routine tasks like balance checks, which helps reduce agent turnover. It can provide customers with confidence that they are in control of part of their customer experience. It helps avoid long hold times. While you might expect all these things, a properly implemented self-service program can actually yield unexpected benefits. When combined with analytics, self-service can provide a call center organization with better insight into their operations and customer relationships. It can also boost revenue, according to a recent blog by CRM solutions provider Soffront.
“An often overlooked benefit of self-service is its ability to generate revenues. A self-service solution with analytics and reporting capabilities can give you crucial insights into your customer behavior resulting in up-sell or cross-sell opportunities. By reducing incoming calls and emails, it frees your support staff to take on revenue generating activities or more complex tasks,” writes Soffront, which offers its Knowledge Management for Customer Self Service solution, a knowledge base that allows customers to help solve their own support issues.
Today’s self-service solutions are very different from those of a decade ago. They have evolved from being simple knowledge base searches and online FAQs to customizable, multichannel tools that can not only help take pressure off the contact center and boost the customer relationship by providing customers with more options, but yield both insight and new revenue.
Edited by Rachel Ramsey