What Customer Service Will Look Like in 2020?
Part 2 – Self-service Customer Services
By Chris Recio, Director of Contact Center Operations
Big Data – so the phrase has been coined for marketing purposes – is not a new concept. Today more than ever, we enjoy an unprecedented amount of access to data.
Recent studies (ICMI) reveals astounding results regarding customers and their preferences when it comes to customer services:
Let me repeat this last one: 85% of the customer relationship will be self-managed by 2020.
What do these numbers tell us? Two things.
- Self-service options will determine whether consumers choose your service over a competitor’s.
- Self-service options that quickly and efficiently solve issues will achieve top performing customer service.
Self-Service has everything to do with Customer Service, as does the personal interaction with the agents in your Contact Center. More and more, this option is seen as a vital part of the Customer Service experience and the customer journey as a whole.
Self-Service options are not a trend, but rather, a mandatory tool for achieving overall customer satisfaction. Keeping pace is the only way your contact center is going to maintain an edge on the competition. Since the advent of IVR, self-service has become an advantage for the customer and the business alike.
IVR serves the contact center by handling many common inquires which always require access to systems and data. This includes, obtaining account information, due dates, balances, payment histories, and much more. Given the right assessment and common sense logic, IVR can be put to use in very creative ways providing both a great customer experience, while also assisting the operation in gaining control over key drivers for business control and, ultimately, growth.
Additionally, IVR and data can help the business with dynamic treatment of each call using a well-thought out plan and well-placed configuration personalizing the customer journey on a call-by-call basis. I am – quite frankly – surprised at how often users I meet are amazed at the options resting in sight that they have not yet explored or had opportunity realize and take full advantage.
In my mind, data is simple: it is either TRUE or FALSE. With that logic, there is yet a scenario that I’ve come across or a contact center operation that I’ve toured that couldn’t benefit from this point of integration.
Of the contact centers that are integrated, I often find holes in the logic that really make no sense.
My pet peeve: when an IVR asks for my account information, then when asked to speak with an agent, the agent then asks for my account information.
This is Contact Center Blasphemy.
This short-sighted thought is a golden opportunity for turning the customer experience on its head – in a good way. At the minimum, if the IVR requests the input of information, this information should be passed along to the agent, when the customer opts out to speak with an agent. This misstep completely discourages self-service and trains the customer to seek the assistance of an agent from that point going forward, and need I say, has a direct negative impact of the customer’s perception of customer service.
In my personal experience, when I am forced to place a call into a customer service contact center, I am less likely to reach out to the chosen vendor or business. I would rather find an option where I can choose my preferred experience and easily locate my answer. Generally speaking, I will leave calling a Customer Service operation as the last resort option.
When put in a position of “do it my way or not” I would rather walk away and find another vendor that provides the level of self-service and overall customer service than to continue jumping through broken hoops.
Next week, I will be diving into self-service options (beyond IVR), that contact centers need to utilize to provide excellent customer service that is expected today. If you’re interested in taking steps to ensure you’re providing the best customer service, make sure to read next week’s post.