Web Self Service User Adoption – Carrot or Stick?

KPS Search resizedWeb based self-service for delivering customer service and technical support is one of the fastest growing areas in service delivery. In addition to the challenges in creating an effective self-service experience, the question often asked is:

“What do we have to do to ensure users adopt self service over the current approach?”

The underlying question is “ should we use carrot or stick? ” Can we and should we force our customer or user base towards self-service and if so, how do we implement the change without causing a customer backlash.

The Business Case?

Let’s get over the easy bit. Self-service has the potential of an 80% reduction in call centre traffic. Call centre and IT support traffic is expensive. Self-service saves money. Recent estimates of external customer support through call centres can be as high as £15 to £30 per call while web-chat may be £2 to £3 per interaction. Automated web self-service is almost exclusively setup cost with per transaction costs being insignificant.

Transaction based services such as banking, travel and delivery logistics are already forcing self-service by removing other options. Amazon is not losing sales and EasyJet is still growing despite removal of the service agent in the booking and ordering process. When users see other benefits such as low cost or convenience they are ready to switch. What is still required is focus and attention on delivering a slick and effective self-service experience to stimulate repeat business referrals and recommendations.

“If something is worth doing, it’s worth doing it well”

Self-service as a delivery channel seems an obvious choice. Well executed, the approach saves cost, time and is infinitely scalable: “If 90% of people are happy to use on-line banking, why are 90% of people not happy to self-service for internal IT support?” The answers could be summed up as:

Because people don’t like change and users don’t like being forced into a different channel unless they can see the benefit from their own perspective. The key to a successful self-service implementation is to focus on the user experience and user perspective. Which means making it simple to use and providing the information needed, when its needed.

Making the Web Self Service Experience Excellent – The Carrot

Working towards a natural conversion into self-service support channels is all about getting the user experience right and promoting the opportunity to self-serve to all users at all stages of the support interaction. Having worked with many clients across different sectors, we have gathered insights on how to create a self-service experience that encourages user adoption.

Amazon and eBay’s entire user experience is designed to be slick, user friendly and most importantly right first time. With users driving the action and suppliers being highly motivated to deliver good service (no supplier can afford poor ratings) there is little or no need for escalation to a call centre agent. This is handy, as the call centre escalation has been entirely removed from the service experience.

“So what happens when information intensive services such as IT support and customer service heads the same way?”

We have collected the user adoption insights and experiences from working with our customers across a wide range of sectors and made these available in our Web Self Service Whitepaper.  Download the white paper and find out.