It is quite clear that that conversational chatbots are revolutionizing customer service. Growth has been significant in the past five years, with research showing that businesses are investing more on self-service than on any other customer service technology.
Early on, customers regarded ‘self-service’ options as inferior – as often these experiences often led to frustration where customers were stuck in a vicious automated call centre cycle. Chatbots were meant to simplify queries and save time — but often ended up doing the opposite. They could not understand enough human language or process enough data to do what customers required.
The adoption of chatbots comes with numerous benefits, such as faster customer support and improved customer experience. It’s not just about implementing automation AI though; organisations have to ensure customers have positive experiences. And you better get it right – because over 30% of your customers are willing to leave your brand after a bad customer service experience.
The technology supporting self-service innovation is much more advanced. We are in the middle of a significant chatbot boom, where omniscient chatbots we thought were the future have been replaced by more specialized bots. Early chatbots were used to have basic text conversations to mimic human interaction. Today they are versatile AI-powered software that enables them to not just react, but to comprehend.
What Is Customer Self-Service?
Self-service technology allows customers to find their own solutions to problems without the need for interacting with human support agents. Innovative support technologies like chatbots and knowledge bases are able to perform routine tasks so that customers access information about products or services.
What Are the Benefits of Customer Self-Service?
It’s clear that employing self-service customer support is a key cog in current and future business operations. According to research published in a Gartner Customer Report, 74% of respondents say creating a seamless customer journey across assisted and self-service channels is “important” or “very important.”
1. Improved customer experience
Consumers often prefer to answer their own questions without having to contact support. With a good knowledge base and other tools, customers can access the information they need at any time of the day or night. This convenience significantly improves customer experience (CX) and encourages them to interact more with your business.
2. Lower support costs
Self-service makes it possible to help large numbers of customers at a significantly lower cost. Automated self-service technologies require fewer staff; instead existing agents can focus on escalated customer queries and other business operations.
3. Increased sales
Customers will abandon a transaction rather than deal with opening a customer service request: “53% of U.S. online adults are likely to abandon their online purchase if they can’t find a quick answer to their question.” Besides salvaging potential lost sales, self-service technologies allow you to cross-sell and up-sell other products and services. Chatbots can suggest products when a customer contacts your company with a query, thereby generating more revenue.
4. Greater support availability
Many organisations are only able to provide human support on certain days of week, or even certain hours of the day. Self-service tools can make support available to your customers all day, every day. And you’re also providing customers with multiple options for solving their query.
Ways to implement Self-Service
There are various options available for companies looking to provide self-service to their customers.
A chatbot can provide customers with the information they require without input from support personnel. They can be trained to provide answers to frequently asked questions but be aware poorly trained chatbots can be frustrating to customers. That is why its important that the chatbot can hand over to a human agent.
2. Knowledge Base
A good knowledge base makes it easy to create an online help centre for your customers. You can publish how-to articles and answers to frequently asked questions and make your content easy to find.
A good FAQ page provides customers with an easily navigable list of commonly asked questions, and simple answers in one centralized source. The biggest task in creating an FAQ page is determining which topics you need to cover to make it a meaningful resource. A good place to start is in from report analytics – where you can see what questions and topics are most common. Alternatively, survey support teams about what questions they see most often.
And once it is created, its equally important to keep updated.
The bottom line is
The autonomous nature of customer self-service is changing how businesses handle customer support. They serve as an addition, augmenting the support and sales staff. Just remember if you are trying to pass a chatbot for a human, you aren’t fooling anyone. Honesty and transparency are the way to go.