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Article : The Evolution of Self-Serve Customer Service

#contactcenterworld, @BlueOceanTweets

Ever have one of those days when you simply don’t want to talk to anyone? That day inevitably coincides with the renewed urgency of the task you’ve been procrastinating over: calling customer service to fix your computer/check your warranty/renew your membership/reset your password.

We know you hate calling tech support. We know you’d rather not "press one for yes." We certainly get the irritation of being left on hold forever. And so it’s unsurprising that we’ve seen a growing popularity in self-serve customer service. Variations include Tier 0, IVR, automation, and artificial intelligence, and they all have one thing in common: you no longer have to interact with a real live human being. It’s not a new concept, but it has evolved over the years.

If you’re looking to outsource your call center, self-serve at some level will likely be part of your solution design. Tier 0 support has the potential to significantly reduce transactional call volume, while simultaneously engaging your customers on their own terms. However, automation in customer service also carries the risk of negatively impacting the customer experience. Finding a sweet spot is vital.

What Self-Serve Used to Look Like


Assuming you’ve already cut the cord with the few companies that never upgraded from the earliest forms of self-serve customer service (aka "IVR Hell"), we probably don’t have to remind you what Tier 0 support looked like "back in the day." It’s that circular, primitive version of self-help where you get stuck in an automated loop of endless numeric options and voicemail boxes. Good luck finding what you need.

Companies that implemented the earliest versions of Tier 0 technology were likely excited by the possibilities. It was cutting edge. It relieved agent bandwidth. Their customers hold times were reduced. Most of all, it drove down call volume, resulting in lower call center costs.

But being lowering costs came with a different price: customer frustration and compromised customer loyalty.

What Tier 0 Support Looks Like Today

Today’s self-serve or Tier 0 customer service is heavily focused on customer satisfaction, and as a result, the technology has become increasingly elegant, better integrated, and – most importantly – more user-friendly.

Self-serve is an integral part of omni-channel customer service, seamlessly integrating with the customer experience across social media, live chat, email and phone. Every transaction is captured and stored so that when a customer does eventually interact with a live agent, the agent understands the customer journey and what steps they’ve already taken towards reaching resolution.

Building the right Tier 0 strategy requires a lot of collaboration with your frontline agents as well as a comprehensive understanding of your brand and its promises. It’s not a simple matter of bringing in programmers and saying, "automate this function." Your customer care team members, including frontline agents, are critical resources in helping to decide how and what to automate. They’ll know which kind of processes and queries can be easily and effectively translated into self-serve customer service. And they’ll know how to communicate it all in a way that aligns with your company’s brand.

It’s also worth mentioning here that engaging a self-serve option or triggering Tier 0 is rarely the first step in the customer journey map. A great self-serve strategy is acutely aware of everywhere a customer may go first before picking up the phone. This includes both online customer support and crowd-sourced customer support. Think of your iPhone or iMac for a moment. Although Apple has a wealth of customer support channels, many people will turn to public forums before they go to Apple’s website, store or phoneline. Being aware of the reasons why people might turn to crowd-sourced customer support is essential in building a strong self-serve strategy.

How Self-Serve Fits into the Customer Experience

We’ve already mentioned the companies that went with the primitive self-serve customer service automation when it was shiny and new. They wanted cost-effectiveness and excitement, and many of them implemented it on every level. On the flip side, though, are companies that go kicking and screaming to Tier 0. Their core belief is that they want 100% agent interaction for every query. But this is equally detrimental to the customer experience.

Sure, your 87-year old grandmother probably wants nothing to do with self-serve. But according to IBM, 75% of Millennials want to solve their own issue. As an ever-growing portion of your customer demographics, supporting the specific preferences of this generation of consumers is vital. When they have a problem with their computer/car/password/membership, they will almost always go to Google first. From there, they will turn to social media, FAQs, public forums, and live chat before they pick up the phone. If you can pleasantly surprise them with a simple, elegant self-serve option via phone (or better yet text or chatbot) that solves relatively simple problems, then you’ve just gained a notch in their level of loyalty (which, as studies show, is fragile and difficult to gain in Millennials in the first place).

Interestingly, although the Millennial generation prefers less human interaction in their customer service, they do value personalized support. That’s where Tier 0 support – and strategic omni-channel service in general – has upped the ante. The proliferation of data that floods into the call center from every channel helps to build a very specific profile of each customer, which enables an agent to personalize their interaction and deliver a differentiated customer experience.

Leveraging Self-Serve Customer Support in Your Call Center

The beauty of an intelligent self-serve solution is that you can redirect your agent efforts to much more complex customer service situations. The auto club member who is experiencing an emergency wants human support not a chatbot. The network administrator who’s troubleshooting a critical issue that impacts enterprise stakeholders needs a partner in the process to make the right decisions and take the right actions quickly. The caller who’s genuinely befuddled by the fine print on their insurance contract wants less frustration and more clarity. These are scenarios where frontline agents are the star of the show. Putting your resources here – instead of the password resets, the membership activations, the billing transactions – benefits both your customer and your bottom line.

We’d love to provide more insight into how Tier 0/self-serve customer service fits into the big picture in your contact center. Let's chat.

#contactcenterworld, @BlueOceanTweets


About Andrew O'Brien:
Andrew O’Brien is a results-driven strategic thinker. In his 15+ years with Blue Ocean, Andrew has been instrumental in creating strategic solutions that build loyalty and help drive revenue for clients with complex support requirements. Under Andrew’s watch, the operational culture of Blue Ocean is one of constant striving for even greater efficiency, for dynamic innovation, and for the relentless pursuit of best-in-class performance.

About Blue Ocean Contact Centers:
Company LogoWe thrive on delivering critical customer service solutions that go beyond transactional interactions. As such, our goal is to enhance lifetime customer value, providing support that is a reflection of your brand promise, even in high-pressure, complex customer service scenarios.
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Today's Tip of the Day - Technology

Read today's tip or listen to it on podcast.

Published: Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Printer Friendly Version Printer friendly version

2021 Buyers Guide Inbound Call Handling Services

 
1.) 
3Fiftynine

Branches
Calls are received by the right person or department. The right corresponding information is shown to the agent which makes that appointments are handled quicker and more secure.

2.) 
Agara

Agara is an autonomous virtual voice agent powered by Real-time Voice AI. It is designed to have intelligent conversations with your customers, vendors, and partners without any assistance from human agents. It can handle a wide variety of calls including inbound customer care calls, outbound lead generation calls, appointment scheduling calls, and overdue payment recovery calls.

Agara is available for several industries including banking, insurance, retail, e-commerce, airlines, and telecom. Powered by advanced Real-time Voice AI that understands speech in real-time, automatically determines the right process to follow and guides the caller along in the process with natural conversation.
PH: +1 (512) 333 4634

3.) 
Call Center Studio

Call Center Studio
Call Center Studio is the world’s first call center built on Google and is one of the most secure and stable systems with some of the industry’s best reporting. It is one of the most full-featured enterprise grade systems (with the most calling features, one of the best call distribution, outbound dialing features and integrations—including IVR, AI Speech Recognition, blended inbound/outbound calling and includes Google’s new Dialogflow and Speech API. Call Center Studio is the absolute easiest to use (with a 10 minute setup), and is the price performance leader with lower equipment cost and less setup time.
PH: +1 512-872-7565

4.) 
Connect Assist

Contact Centre Services
We’re a specialist Contact Centre business and market leaders helping socially focused organisations deliver quality support to their clients and service users. We do this by providing 24/7 helplines, software solutions and consultancy services.

Since launching in 2006, we’ve operated at the sharp end of customer service, supporting some of society’s most vulnerable people. We’ve pioneered in our space to become a specialist in helplines, whilst using the most advanced communication and database technologies available.

Our social mission has remained a constant throughout, providing many meaningful career prospects and growth opportunities to people within our local communities and fur...
(read more)
PH: 07973640527

5.) 
Jointly International Inc.

Front Office Solutions
Front office is your Company’s first line of customer interaction and serves as the mirror of your business. Focus on your core business and let our competent staff handle your various front office needs such as:

* Customer Service via chat, email or phone
* Technical Support via chat, email or phone
* Helpdesk
* Virtual Assistant/Receptionist
* Answering Service
* Lead Generation
* Appointment Setting
* Verification
* Surveys
* Debt Recover, Collections
PH: +61 7 5660 6284

6.) 
MattsenKumar LLC

Contact Center Outsourcing
By catering valuable, usable and enjoyable customer service, businesses can increase their CSAT Score and Customer Retention Rate. We help organizations to provide quality customer service through varied channels like email, phone and live chat. Ensuring quality after-sales support is our USP and we rely on proven approaches to ensure quality customer service.

7.) 
OpsTel Services

SPEED
The SPEED solution solves for service level issues while cost optimizing the environment with automation.

Provides an enhanced way to speed up & optimize invoking temporary agent skills configuration changes into the contact center environment.

Speed allows you to schedule both future changes & temporary changes that auto-revert back to the original state when scheduled time expires.

Speed features:

*Automated / Scheduled Temporary Agent Skills Configuration Management
*Immediate Temporary or Reoccurring Schedule Skills Configuration Changes
*Easy to Use/Operations Administration Focused
*Descriptive Monitoring Activity Dashboard
*Detailed “End to End’ Audit Trail and Performance Monitoring
PH: 1+480-435-9390

8.) 
Vads

VADS Inbound Contact Center
VADS Inbound Contact Center Services provide live operators who answer incoming calls as you would yourself. A team of professional script writers is available to help you script a greeting and experience programmers will set up a time and money saving program. Our unique approach to call center services is client-focused, and takes each project’s unique needs into account to our client’s satisfaction. We offer solution as part of our service to keep you in touch with your client and drive sales.

- Customer Service
- Walk In Center
- Service Desk
PH: 0217991445

9.) 
Tru29 Outsource Solutions Inc.

Front Office Solutions
Any part of your business operations that requires constant end-customer facing task is an essential part of your business.

This task requires a good customer experience results for every customer interaction. Our extensive experience in handling Front Office related tasks can help you focus on your core business while being cost-efficient at the same time.
 

ABOUT US IN 60 seconds!

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