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Can anything derail the self-service revolution?

30th Jun 2014
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With some reports predicting that, by the end of the decade, self-service could account for as much as 40% of customer service engagements, this is clearly a discipline that is on the up and up. 

Reflecting the desire for greater independence and 24x7 service from the empowered customer, and the corporate need to keep service costs to a minimum, self-service appears to be one of the rare occasions where it is equally popular amongst customers and companies. 

Virtual agents, customer forums, how-to videos and other forms of web self-service are rapidly gaining traction, as customers turn to them as a first port of call when in need. However, with Forrester estimating that around half of customers fail to find the information they need online, and then resorting to contacting the call centre, clearly companies are a bit behind the curve. 

This is perhaps to be expected, and customers are still fairly forgiving. But this won't be the case for long, and in the not too distant future, if your online knowledge bases don't have the appropriate information, or your self-service systems up to scratch, customers won't be dialling your call centre, they'll be contacting a competitor instead. 

So there is an increasing urgency here. And for this reason, MyCustomer will be exploring customer self-service over the next month, providing an overview of the discipline, what technologies are in the market, and how to adopt a strategic approach to self-service that integrates it into your wider service operations. 

It's time to help your customers help themselves. After all, it's what they want. 

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By Lloyd Buxton
09th Jul 2014 11:24

It definitely feels that self-service is rapidly gaining ground Neil – however its application still seems to be patchy. Our recent Eptica Multichannel Customer Experience Study found that 53% of big UK brands had deployed web self-service, helping improve the customer experience. But some sectors are ahead of others - 80% of banks have web self-service, and saw a 23% increase in performance, while just 20% of travel companies have such systems, and only improved by 5%. More on the findings in this blog post http://eptica.wordpress.com/2014/03/26/whats-the-state-of-the-uk-customer-experience-8-key-findings/

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By Peter McKean
09th Jul 2014 12:45

Hi Neil, Yes indeed, the majority of consumers want and expect to be able to self-serve answers to their questions online quickly and easily, and in the channel of their choice. However, our own research has shown that despite 90% of consumers expecting to receive a consistent experience over multiple channels, 65% have received inconsistent information when contacting brands via different channels. A businesses ability to provide the same service and experience across all touch-points is key to improving customer satisfaction levels and loyalty to a brand - http://bit.ly/UVXUiB

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ND
By Neil Davey
10th Jul 2014 10:21

There certainly appears to be a disparity in the adoption of web self-service cross sector. I have seen several reports that suggest financial services is leading the way - which indicates that concerns about self-service's appeal for even simple transactions that may require reassurance (such as financial matters) may be unfounded. 

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ND
By Neil Davey
10th Jul 2014 10:26

Consistency is definitely one of the biggest obstacles facing self-service. Providing a consistent experience across channels to ensure your customers receive accurate information about products and services regardless of their channel of choice, is of paramount importance. And the only way to achieve this is to operate on a single and adaptable knowledge base. There will be more on this topic shortly on MyCustomer. 

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