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The Best in Customer Service Involves Self-Service and Omni-Channel Options

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April 30, 2015

The Best in Customer Service Involves Self-Service and Omni-Channel Options

By Steve Anderson, Contributing TMCnet Writer

For most any business out there, giving the customer what he or she wants—within some basic standards of reason—is perhaps the most important thing that can be done. Figuring out just what that is, however, can sometimes be a process much more difficult than some might expect. A new report from Team Support, meanwhile, points out two key points that drive customer expectations these days: allowing customers to engage in self-service behaviors, and giving customers the tools to engage in those behaviors regardless of platform.

Customers want, essentially, omni-channel and self-service options. Indeed, some studies point out that customers are already relying more on self-service options than on phone calls, and that's particularly telling in that customers are still putting the phone to work in a fairly wide range of cases. But customers are also going to the Web for more first attempts, and that's saying something.

This is also where omni-channel comes in. If customers can't find the answers desired from the Web, said customers need to turn elsewhere, and that's usually where phones come in. But it can be more than that, too, like live chat and even text messaging. The last thing these customers will want, in turn, is to talk to someone who only has access to Web content; chances are, the caller already tried all of that without success.

But it goes beyond that; when an omni-channel system is in place, much of the effort can be centralized, and that means that agents get to know as much as possible about the caller. Even in some cases before the conversation starts. Customers no longer need repeat names and account numbers when transferred to different agents. Agents don't have to waste time and enrage customers getting the basics out of a customer. In the meantime, companies are able to save money since agents can resolve calls faster, and customers are in turn more satisfied. That's a big part of the best in overall customer experience, but it's still only part. There are other issues on hand, like hiring the right people and giving those people the right tools to succeed. 

Perhaps the best news in all this is that “omni-channel” and “self-service tools” are not zero-sum games. It's not a matter of having such things or not having same, but rather, a matter of in what degrees such are on hand. More than anything, in a way, customers want to feel valued, and showing respect for the fact that customers don't have a lot of time on hand is a great way to do that. Having the tools around to let customers solve even some of the issues experienced, in the time the customer has to do such things, shows that respect and helps keep the customer happy. Even if the customer only saves a couple minutes, that's a couple more minutes the customer has that wouldn't have been on hand had this not been so.

It might sound daunting to have self-service and omni-channel tools around, but even some simple, basic changes can make a lot of difference. Try some how-to videos in the FAQ section, or some new record-keeping tools. These can bolster the customer experience in sometimes unexpected ways.

Edited by Maurice Nagle

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