Posted On: June 12, 2020 | 10 mins read
The world is changing rapidly these days. These changes can be seen in the ways people think, plan, and work. New, disruptive technologies are coming every other day changing the way in which businesses operate. So with changing times, it is very necessary that businesses also adapt accordingly so that they don’t go out of business. Businesses need to keep themselves up-to-date with the latest customer self service behavior trends as they are also changing very fast.
One of the key consumer behaviors which have emerged amidst the COVID-19 crisis is that though people are staying physically apart, they are still connected with each other virtually. They are discovering new connections and maintaining the old ones via various video meeting apps like zoom, google meeting, etc.
Another key consumer behavior related to them being quite active in the virtual space is that consumers prefer to be more Atma Nirbhar (Self Reliant).
According to a Coleman Parkes survey, 91% of the respondents said that they’d like to use online self-service knowledge sources if available to them and catering to their needs, and 75% prefer online support as long as it’s reliable.
These figures clearly tell that reliability and suitability are the very important features of the self-service resources. The result of this survey is also a sign pointing towards the possibility of customer self service being the need of the hour. This sign is further strengthened due to the following reasons:
A recent survey conducted by Nuance Enterprises concluded with a comfortable majority that people had a positive perception of self-service. 3 out of 4 people in the survey said in affirmative that self service is a convenient way to solve customer service problems.
The same survey in which customers showed a positive attitude towards self-service also concluded that people consider self-service better than talking to a company representative. 67% of the people said that self service is preferred by them as compared to talking to a company representative.
Also, another survey conducted by Dimension Data (South African IT services company) found that maximum customers prefer to use a company’s website (73%) instead of using social media, SMS, and live chat for support.
This is the T-20 era in which customers want their questions to be responded to rapidly and their problems are also solved quickly. In fact, a survey stated that fast response times are rated as the most important attribute of the customer experience. Now, what happens if the most important attribute is neglected?
A lot of customers will be unhappy and will switch to competitors leading to a decrease in the market share of the company. Some active customers may also spread word of mouth in a negative manner leading to inculcating seeds of doubt and awakening the old sleeping resentment amongst the present customers and negative image amongst the spectators. This problem can be solved by using customer self service which can lead to faster response times and happier customers.
The number of channels for customer self service today is higher and also easier to use than they were a few years back. Due to easier to use and more channels available to help customers, people prefer to use them instead of calling and talking to the customer centre. So instead of customers going to the company to ask for help, they prefer that the company should come to them. The self service channels currently in use along with % of customers who prefer them are-
So, as we can observe that even though the Web is the most dominant channel, it is important to understand that there are situations when other channels are more useful. Thus, instead of just concentrating on one channel, it is better to adopt a holistic approach to allow the customers to help themselves through various self service channels. Whichever they feel is the best and convenient for them can be adapted accordingly.
It is a famous quote that the First impression is the Last Impression, which highlights the importance of the first impression in any interaction.
Gartner predicts that by 2022, 85% of the customer service interactions will start with self-service.
So it is very important for the companies to have an effective customer self-service portal. Also, in this modern digital era, most of the customers expect the companies to have self-service portals.
In a survey conducted by Statista, a comfortable majority of 88% of customers responded by saying that they expect companies to offer an online self-service portal.
In a survey conducted by Path Interactive, it was found that 77% of the respondents use Google to search at least 3 times a day. The reason behind that is simple, ease of use. Also if one notices carefully, then it can be observed that Google has been designed in such a manner that customers mostly get the answers satisfactorily to their questions just by searching on the search engine without going through the websites.
This saves them a lot of time and rescues them from irritation caused by scanning the websites for answers. Same goes for customer self-service as Google is also an example of self-service.
A self service portal by providing useful information and services to the customers creates a better experience for them and a better brand image of themselves. Furthermore, self-service portals can also help a company to save on costs as they decrease customer support costs.
A study conducted by Forrester Research and Oracle titled The Total Economic Impact™ Of Click to Call And Click to Chat evaluated business costs and found that providing a self-service portal can decrease costs by as much as $11 per call.
This amount may not seem very big in itself but it needs to be seen that it is the cost per call and when a large number of calls are there, it leads to a huge number in savings (approx. $ 2 million). The data from this research was also verified by Accenture who also arrived at almost the same data ($1-3 million).
Helps in increasing customer engagement by providing various digital channels such as websites, chatbots, apps, etc. As there are multiple channels available, the average waiting time for a customer is also reduced.
Encourage customers to learn by themselves by providing them a better experience and also feel empowered and confident about themselves.
Helps customers to move from one page to another easily and finding solutions on their own with AI-backed Knowledge self service systems.
Modern-day customers are not the same as the old ones. They want companies to have self-service portals as they prefer them instead of other channels of customer support. But interestingly, 55% of the customers find self-service portals difficult to use according to a study by North Ridge Group. So the companies should keep in mind while designing them that a customer self-service portal is useful only if it is easy to use.
Following steps can be taken by the companies to improve their customer self-service portals-