Does your brand need a self-service portal?

18th Apr 2016

Here are some things to think about before you entrust the customer experience to a self-service platform.
Fueled by technology and customers’ growing independence, self-service is becoming a strongly emerging trend among brands. Not surprisingly, it has repeatedly been touted as the future of customer service. But is it really?
Self-service has numerous advantages. One is its capacity to provide instant information without requiring much effort from customers. Another is its round-the-clock availability, which ensures that customers have no moments of frustration. However, these benefits don’t mean that self-service portals entirely rob voice call centers off their important functions.
Here are some of the things you need to consider before creating a self-service portal for your customers.
1. Self-service isn’t for everyone.
Remember that customers have varied preferences. Some of them are very hands-on and would prefer to solve their product issues first before seeking help from your agents. Others, however, are not that patient. They’d rather let brand representatives work on the glitches they’re experiencing, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Because your primary goal is to create the ideal customer experience, you must strive to meet their expectations.

2. Human insights are an integral part of problem solving.
No matter how sophisticated your self-service tools are, some customer problems would still require human intervention. Although they rarely come, there will be instances when you have to make exceptions to address your customers’ unique situation. Your self-service portal may not be able to do that.
You and your agents, however, can. For example, you can make up for customers’ negative impressions by offering exclusive perks or, in other cases, doing something extra special for your customers. These are the types of action that your tech tools will probably not be able to do.
3. You need a team to build a self-service channel.
The success of your self-service portal depends greatly on your team’s skills. You need people who can think like your customers. At the same time, they must be able to expertly navigate through your company’s IT infrastructure and the bigger web in the process of building such a platform. For your team of developers, therefore, you must hire only the best talents.
4. Give your customers a choice.
Technology isn’t what empowers customers. What empowers customers is choice. It’s up to customers to connect with you on the platform most convenient to them. In the same way, it’s up to brands and call centers to ensure that all touchpoints are optimized to accommodate customers at all times.
For this reason, although self-service may play an important role in defining the future of customer service, it will not obliterate voice contact centers. Platforms operated by agents will remain relevant in brands’ mission to always please the customer.

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