Reimagine Self-Service to Give Customers the Experiences They Expect
Customers are more demanding than ever before. One bad experience with your brand could send them packing to the competition in the blink of an eye. As a matter of fact, in a recent Customer Service Index study from Five9, 95 percent of respondents perceived customer service as very important. A recent Salesforce survey also found that 47 percent of customers would stop buying from a company based on a sub-par experience.
This may sound like a knee-jerk reaction, but it’s true. There are lots of brands out there, and customer service is among the top reasons customers choose one brand over another. In fact, 98 percent of respondents in the same Five9 CSI survey recognize this and see customer experience as crucial for their business to retain customers.
As we have stated before, the contact center has become the front door of many businesses during this time, and as Covid restrictions continue to subside, some customers may go back to your physical store. But others will not. So how do we keep the experience in the contact center the best it can be so customers don’t bolt to the competition?
The secret is to staff up your contact center with the best trained, most experienced agents you can find. Oh, and have plenty of them on staff at all times so the wait times to talk to an agent are mere seconds. Sounds like an expensive proposition, but you are willing to do whatever it takes to keep your customers happy. Right? Well, guess what? This is one answer, but not the only answer. There is a more cost-effective way to serve customers and provide them the information they need in a timely, accurate, and helpful way. And yes, they will remain satisfied and loyal to your brand.
It’s self-service. As a matter of fact, customers today are turning to self-service as the preferred method to get help in the contact center. An article from Harvard Business Review, Kick-ass Customer Service, stated that 81 percent of all customers attempt to take care of issues themselves before reaching out to a live representative. Gartner further confirms this stating that 85 percent of customer interactions will start with self-service by 2022.
So, what is the answer? Start by adding an IVR to your contact center. Your customer calls in and pushes “1” for account balances. They are asked for their account number and enter it. They attempt to get their savings balance only to get their checking account balance. They push another number to get their checking account balance but are transferred back to the welcome message. They then try pushing zero to get to an agent only to be asked for their 16-digit account number, again. And then they are transferred to the wrong department – Arrrrggggg!!!! You get the picture. This is not the self-service that is going to win you points with your customers.
Do you have one of these IVRs in your contact center?
Maybe it’s time to think about an intelligent virtual agent or IVA to help your customers. An IVA uses natural language to provide self-service that is as natural as talking to a live agent. It asks simple questions like, “How can I help you today?” And your customer can ask, “How much money do I have in my savings account?” With AI-automation, natural language processing and connections to your backend systems like CRMs and accounts, the IVA answers the question, quickly and accurately. Transaction done. Your customer gets the information they wanted.
And there is an added bonus to using IVAs! Remember all those talented, well-trained agents you have on board? They are no longer spending time retrieving account balances for customers. They are now working with your customers on higher-value tasks like investment opportunities or setting up an IRA.
Remember, your customers like self-service, and self-service is great when it works. And when it doesn't, it can be frustrating and lead your customers to move on to your competition.
So that IVR we spoke of earlier... It was good technology in its day, but that day has passed. It’s time to upgrade to an IVA.
To understand why, download The Future Is Calling: Why it’s Time to Upgrade Your IVR to an IVA.