Help Yourself – 21st Century Customer Service

 

 

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As technology develops, a cycle of events is triggered generating more product, more demand, more custom and ultimately more customer service. And the more complex a product is, the higher the likelihood of customers experiencing difficulties consequently supplementing the expanding need for customer service. So how have businesses adapted to tackle these difficulties?

The 21st century has overseen the dawn of a new era in customer service that the majority of large businesses have already embraced – self-service. The need for self-service to enable organisations to keep step with customer service was highlighted in a report from Gartner as far back as 2002, but how successful has self-service really been and furthermore how many have embraced this approach?

In 2014 a US-based company that researches knowledge management, Software Advice, conducted an industry review surveying 170 senior figures throughout customer service departments in the US, to analyse the usage and effectiveness of differing channels of customer self-service. Within this review it was found that of the companies surveyed, 89% were shown to implement FAQ sections within their online space whilst online Knowledge Bases were implemented within 81% of survey participants.

 

A So Many Questions, So Little Time

With so many consumers actively seeking the help of customer advisors, there comes one key problem: more customers and more questions but no time to answer them. That’s where FAQs come into the fold, lifting the call load from the advisor’s shoulders and allowing the customer to draw a parallel with previous customers to self-serve. The simplicity of a FAQ system and the benefits it conveys could definitely be viewed as the primary incentive for the observed 89% of organisations, for implementing FAQs

Your Own Online Knowledge Library

In most cases the absence of an FAQ facility on company websites, is rectified by the well-known search tool. This tool is the key to an archive of information within the website, providing information to the customer that need not be sought from a contact centre advisor. Again this works to alleviate the volume of customer calls, allowing the advisor more time to handle the more complex customer enquiry.

Crunching the Numbers

Within Software Advice’s review the impact of self-service on key performance indicators (KPIs) was also measured to gain an idea of the bigger picture of the benefits of using self-service channels. The results of their analysis showed that self-service methods considerably improved KPIs such as first-call resolution rate (FCR) by as much as 35%, whilst contacts per agent and new agent training hours were both considerably improved by self-service channels by 34% and 26% respectively.

The revelations of these results are that self-service channels are having a significant positive impact on modern-day customer service, creating a measurable effect on both the quantity of calls and quality of customer service whilst also substantially lowering the cost of providing customer service.

The customer service arena is continuously changing and with the benefits that self-service brings to businesses, this avenue of customer service is only going to experience further development and changes.

A How Can We Help?

Knowledge Management solutions are a key platform in combining different modes of self-service channels, making it an attractive prospect for businesses looking to extend their reach when serving customers.