Why Self-Service is the Future of Customer Engagement
Convenience has become mandatory for businesses to offer
As consumers, we all love the convenience of online self-service. We can buy products or find information online, 24/7, in our PJs, from our patio, if that’s what we want do. We’ve come to expect immediate gratification via electronic service delivery. Yet the more we progress technologically, the more personally disconnected we become. We’re more reclusive, more sedentary. So self-service is one of the ways we connect now. We want what we want, right now, and we don’t want to have to leave our homes to get it.
Pretty self-evident, huh? It’s easy to see how self-service benefits customers. And it’s equally easy to imagine how this kind of simple, online self-service drives higher engagement from your customers. The easier you are to do business with and the more satisfied your customers are, the more business your customers will want to do with you.
But the overall business and your individual contact center agents also play key roles in driving high customer engagement. And self-service benefits both of them in a big way.
Why Business Leaders Should Love Online Self-Service
The overriding benefit businesses receive from online self-service is a better bottom line. This is due to:
- Increased revenue—Customers who can self-serve online tend to have higher average order value (AOV) on purchases and spend more money with your business throughout their lifetime. They’re more likely to become repeat customers, more likely to become long-term customers and more likely to try other products you offer. That’s customer engagement at its finest.
- Lower customer acquisition and support costs—Customers who self-serve online reduce your company’s cost to acquire them and also your cost to support them. Since they rely less on brick-and-mortar storefronts and one-to-one support, your overhead decreases while their customer satisfaction grows.
- More strategic selling models—By letting customers self-serve online for simple orders, reorders and support, you can focus your expensive sales reps on more complex, higher-end selling situations that pay bigger dividends for their time.
Why Contact Center Agents Should Love—Not Fear—Online Self-Service
The initial response from any contact center agent when the topic of online self-service first comes up is usually, “What does that mean for my job? Am I still needed?” But agents definitely play a critical customer engagement role in the new self-service world. And self-service benefits them in many ways.
- They become happier and more informed—An agent’s job is not an easy one—in fact, it’s the hardest one in the contact center. Taking calls and resolving complaints day in and day out can be draining. It can be physically, psychologically and emotionally demanding. But self-service can help. By allowing customers to self-serve online, the number of inquiries agents are expected to handle drops. With more time available for product training and skills development, agents experience higher morale, less burnout and decreased turnover.
- They become more empowered—When your customers do need to connect with a contact center agent, they want that agent to give them solutions, not just information. In a self-service world, businesses have the latitude to foster more empowered agents who better tend to customers. Agents now have more time available to serve each customer, and they want to serve them well. By empowering agents with more authority and autonomy, they can more quickly, easily remedy customer issues and resolve customer complaints.
- They’re the positive human connection—When customers do desire personal contact with your company, they want that connection to be easy, fast and friendly. Your agents represent your company; they’re part of your brand. They deliver an experience to every customer with whom they interact, and you want it to be a positive one. With self-service, your agents can clear their queues, spending more time on activities that deliver higher value to customers, while customers themselves happily self-serve for basic needs or information.
It’s important you help contact center agents understand their new relevance. Self-service might change their role in customer engagement, but it certainly doesn’t eliminate it.
You might also be interested in:
- Whitepaper: “Are You Ready for 2020?”
- Blog post: Top 5 Tips for Motivating Contact Center Agents
- Blog post: Contact Centers aren’t Ready for Omnichannel