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What Customers Really Want From Self-Service

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What Customers Really Want From Self-Service

October 28, 2015
By Michelle Amodio
TMCnet Contributor

Customer self-service is the first activity allowing users of an online website or software to gain access to information they need, without having to request external assistance. Today’s generation of customers often go with the self-service route to get what they need, and that trend is going to continue. According to Gartner (News - Alert) Research, customers will manage 85 percent of the relationship with enterprises without human interaction by 2020. It’s clear that customers prefer this method, but what, exactly, do customers want from self-service tools?

An infographic from Forrester’s (News - Alert) Technology Adoption Profile report breaks it down into a few simple categories, and if self-service fails, it’s all about the channels businesses are using.

Consider that today’s customer is tech-savvy, thus looks for various channels that can help them get what they need. The multichannel experience means twice as many year-over-year improvements in customer satisfaction compared to peers using only a single channel. According to the infographic, customers want channels that are easy to use, are personalized, and are in real-time (or, at least close to it).

That’s not to say businesses should ditch the self-service model. While channels are a piece of the puzzle, a self-service option is the first point of contact for today’s independent consumer; self-service impacts a customer’s satisfaction level in many ways. According to the research, 77 percent of customers appreciate businesses that value their time, and this is how they measure a positive experience.

Image via Shutterstock

There are plenty of benefits to offering self-service: these options can help customers find solutions for basic “how-to” problems themselves, which reduces the need to contact live agents, thus resulting in lower customer service costs. Self-service frees up live agents for customers with more complex problems, and it allows the customer to act more independently for basic problems.

When properly designed and implemented, self-service systems increase customer satisfaction, reduce operating costs, and increase employee retention. The external benefits fall on the customer, and the internal benefits fall on your agents.

It’s obvious that the increased online connectivity of consumers coupled with cross-channel communications has changed the customer service landscape in ways that far surpass the days of waiting in long phone queues.

Do you know what your customers want and are you speaking to their demands?

Edited by Maurice Nagle

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