June 12, 2012
How to Get a Hold on Superior Self-Service
Today, customers demand not only the availability of self-service options, but the availability of them at all times. For example, airline passengers are now accustomed to printing their own boarding passes at home, and the latest Royal Caribbean cruise ship also now has kiosk “concierges” on every desk to help customers find their way back to their room. In an age where these types of practices have become the standard, providing customer-friendly service has skyrocketed to the top of businesses’ priority lists. In order to be customer-friendly, self-service needs to follow the rules of great service design.
Ever thought of building your own self-service options to provide anticipatory customer service? Here are some principles to building your own successful customer self-service.
Some companies, especially those with great hospitality, strive to anticipate and accommodate to even the most unexpressed wishes of their customers. Anticipatory customer service is vital to creating successful customer-self service, as it should reflect this process of having the customers’ desires pre-determined and fulfilled with no effort required on their behalf. Additionally, self-service is likely to be anticipatory by nature, accompanied by a unique, smart, and customizable design.
Don’t forget the point of customer self-service, which is to help suggest choices and behaviors in an intelligent manner. If you’re looking for a supreme example, take Siri, the new go-to guide for the iPhone (News - Alert). Siri literally will answer just about anything in an intelligent and customizable manner – it’s almost quite scary. Another good example is Amazon.com (News - Alert), where we’ve all fell for its tricks of showing you what like-minded customers purchase, which often leads you to check out (and sometimes buy) additional items – all based on what you thought looked interesting or favorable.
Let’s move on to the next crucial aspect of customer self-service: usability. Trying to “reinvent the wheel” will only defeat your purpose. For example, don’t dare try and relocate the search bar; it belongs right at the top of the web page where it always has been. Innovation is a highly respected and effective tool, but within reason. Many companies try to re-route their business practices, but it only ends up hurting more than helping. For example, most people can’t even retain more than 30 seconds of information at a time, so a hosted IVR with more than thirty seconds of options of information will inevitably just confuse customers.
Address this issue by building escape routes into your self-service. Self-service is – and should be – fun for customers, but when it’s not fun, it can go from bad to worse in seconds. Building escape routes for customers that will take them directly to humans will alleviate potential frustration, as live agents will be much better at more immediately helping solve problems when customers are stuck.
Edited by Rachel Ramsey