Self-help from UK websites misses the mark

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UK organisations are failing to provide reliable self-service to online customers, according to new research from eGain. The results show companies seriously failing to help customers effectively help themselves online.

Although 63% of the 140 websites surveyed offer some form of self-help, all failed to fully answer accurately and only 19% partially answered accurately. Furthermore, 58% of websites do not make it easy to locate self-service tools online.

The survey, conducted by Hewson Consulting on behalf of eGain, investigated self-service capabilities of UK's leading organisations in nine market sectors (personal finance, branded clothes, automotive, mobile phones, computers, business travel, business schools, adult entertainment and home furnishings).

The survey investigated if tools for self-service were offered online, and if so were they easy to locate and did they provide accurate answers to a genuine customer query or search.

Of 140 websites surveyed, 37% do not offer any form of self-service, such as a search engine or FAQ list. For those that offer self-service, 58% do not make it easy for customers to locate these tools online.

Alarmingly, 100% failed to fully answer accurately, while 81% failed to even partially answer accurately.

Cars and home furnishings were the worst sectors with nearly 75% of them not offering self-service, while the mobile phones sector was the best with 86% offering self-service.

Ryan Rosenberg, eGain vice president of international marketing said: "Many companies recognise the advantages of self-service, but have yet to do it right. Companies need to have appropriate eService tools for appropriate situations, knowledge content and processes in place in order to improve the state of online self-service.

"The self-service channel should be integrated to email, phone and text chat so that a customer could be escalated to other channels for further assistance. Companies also need to aggressively promote these self-service solutions to their customer base. If done right, the return on investment is huge."

McAfee.com, a web security service provider, can testify to the benefits of self-help. At www.mcafee.com/assistant, a virtual assistant named 'Lori' is positioned prominently on the customer support page. She manages an average of 2,300 self-service sessions per day, with each session lasting 4.3 minutes. Assuming that a human agent can handle 50 calls per day, Lori – which is powered by eGain Assistant – is handling a workload that would take 46 call centre agents to do. Furthermore, less than 1% of the times does she need to escalate customers to email or phone for further help.

About eGain Communications
eGain provides enterprise interaction management (EIM) software to transform traditional call centres into multi-channel eService networks. Headquartered in Sunnyvale, California, eGain operates in 18 countries and serves over 750 enterprise customers including AOL, Charles Schwab and Verizon.

eGain Communications

About Hewson Consulting
Hewson Group is an independent UK-based organisation specialising in market analysis, vendor advice and CRM.

Hewson Consulting

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