Insights|Time Is of the Essence: Is Your Organization Meeting Customers’ Self-Service Needs?

Time Is of the Essence: Is Your Organization Meeting Customers’ Self-Service Needs?

A new Sitel Group proprietary study, COVID-19: the CX Impact study, reveals a growing consumer appetite for self-service solutions, particularly among younger generations.

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by Rob Adams July 21, 2020 - 3 MIN READ

A new Sitel Group proprietary study, COVID-19: the CX Impact study, reveals a growing consumer appetite for self-service solutions, particularly among younger generations.

Comprised of two studies of consumers in the U.S. and the U.K. conducted in March and May of this year, our latest white paper highlights the emerging customer behaviors that are set to develop into long-term habits over the months to come.

One of these major trends is a move towards self-service. Over one third – 35% – of consumers across the U.S. and the U.K. want companies to provide the tools and features needed so they can solve their own problems while 43% of millennials and Gen Z say that they now prefer finding a solution for themselves when experiencing difficulty with a product or service.

More customers want to help themselves

When we first polled consumers in March, before the coronavirus was declared a pandemic and drove changes in consumer behavior, 27% of respondents said they preferred using self-service options for solving problems, meaning that between March and May, there had been a 30% increase in demand.

As for why consumers are opting for self-service over interacting with a live agent, 53% say it’s because it’s faster than using a live channel and 22% say the biggest benefit of self-service is the ability to find the answer to a question or resolution to a problem at any time of the day.

Organizations should be relieved by this as a comprehensive self-service strategy will deflect live contacts, reducing operational costs as well as having a beneficial impact on customer experience (CX).

Prioritize important contacts

There are always instances when a customer prefers to speak to a real person about an issue; a solid self-service strategy will ensure those interactions are prioritized by actively routing customers into the channel or to the digital tool where the fastest resolution is possible. 

Consumers are clear that speed and availability are the key driving forces when it comes to their self-service expectations, so organizations need to examine all of their existing channels and touchpoints and identify how and where to leverage digital tools to optimize resolution speed.

The goal of any self-service strategy must be to augment your existing channels, not to simply add more ways for a customer to touch your company. 

Leverage digital tools

For instance, the addition of conversational IVR would give customers the opportunity to speak with an intelligent digital assistant in the same way as a live agent and receive answers, support or guidance across a set number of themes or topics.

This would move those customers out of the queue for speaking with a live agent while ensuring those whose issues are too complex to be resolved via digital tools are connected with an agent who already has all the information he or she needs to deliver a solution.

Understand channels of choice

Our research also shows consumers are moving away from voice and now prefer using email or online chat to engage on general matters with companies and brands.

In these instances, the intelligent use of a chatbot to make the initial interaction with customers in a chat queue would increase an organization’s ability to deliver self-service while as with conversational IVR, prequalify and route those consumers that need to engage with a live agent.

To deliver self-service on this scale requires the identification of all common contact drivers and this means using speech and data analytics to draw insights from all existing contact center data.  

Only this level of understanding will give your organization the clarity it needs to determine which contact types can be handled via self-service.

Consumers have made it clear how much they value good CX – 38% of consumers are willing to pay more for a product or service if it means getting a better CX in return. Just as important, 73% of customers said they’re prepared to leave a brand for a competitor if they perceived the levels of CX to be substandard. So, whether you’re looking to drive profitability, customer retention or both, self-services solutions are an essential part of your CX strategy. 

To learn more about Sitel Group’s COVID-19: the CX Impact study and find out more about how coronavirus is changing and shaping consumer trends, download the full white paper.

written by Rob Adams Director, Digital CX & Transformation, Sitel UK & Ireland
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