7 Ways to Drive Customers Towards Self-Serve

Self-serve technologies can help you achieve the seemingly impossible – improved customer service at a reduced cost. However, they can only do this if customers opt to use them. Here, we take a look at seven different ways you can drive customers towards self-serve channels, improve the performance of these channels and increase their value to the business.

  1. Provide easy access to channels

This is the single most important step you can take to increase self-service adoption. If customers struggle to find your self-serve options, they will not use them. The whole point of self-service is that it’s quick, easy and fuss-free.

Customers should not have to search through endless internet pages to find your FAQs. Your Chatbot Solution should pop-up and engage all visitors when they first reach your website. If you want more customers to use your self-service technologies, it’s all about properly signposting them.

7 Ways to Drive Customers Towards Self-Serve

  1. Ensure customers can engage via their preferred channel

Not all self-service channels are equal. Some are better suited to an older demographic, while others are more likely to be used by younger customers. The most obvious example of this is IVR and Chatbots.

While both are remarkably useful self-service technologies, the former will appeal more to customers who don’t mind talking over the phone. On the other hand, the latter is better suited to those customers who prefer text-based communication. In demographic terms, this means that IVR will be used more often by older customers, while Chatbots will be the more popular choice amongst millennials (Forbes).

If your organisation’s target audience is millennials, it makes sense to invest in improving your Chatbot and publicising its existence, rather than focusing on your IVR system. Driving greater uptake depends on you giving customers the right self-serve channels.

  1. Reach out to customers

Self-serve use can also be increased by reaching out to customers before they contact you. While no-one can tell the future and you won’t be able to resolve all issues before they arise, you can use what you do know about customers to improve your service provision and increase self-service.

For instance, local authority Revenue & Benefits departments know that calls relating to Council Tax increase drastically just before the deadline for payment in April. In this instance, it makes sense to reach out to citizens before this occurs and to direct them towards self-service channels that can help. [CTA to Revs and Bens service will be inserted here]

7 Ways to Drive Customers Towards Self-Serve

find out about our Revenues & Benefits Chatbot for local government

This proactive approach differs markedly from the traditional, reactive response that sees contact centres waiting for a spike in incoming calls, which they then struggle to process quickly and effectively.

Essentially, looking to engage users before they contact your business is an excellent opportunity to make them aware and direct them towards any available self-service options.

  1. Understand what your customers are trying to achieve

Automation in customer service is all about getting maximum returns out of minimal investment. Essentially, we want to automate the largest number of enquiries possible in a single, sweeping change.

If 60% of your enquiries involve helping users change their passwords, 25% want to pay a bill and 15% want to check their balance, it makes sense to start by automating the password-changing process. In one fell swoop, you’ve reduced call volumes by as much as 60%.

Of course, this all depends on you understanding what your customers want and why they’re calling. Without this information, you’re making decisions in the dark and cannot be expected to significantly increase self-serve uptake. So, analyse why your customers are calling, work out where self-serve will have the biggest impact and start there.

  1. Make the most of 24/7 service

One of the greatest advantages of self-service technology is that it allows for 24/7 customer service. This means it doesn’t matter what time your customers work or when they can contact you, they’ll always get an answer.

For organisations like local authorities, who provide essential services to individuals who may not be available during traditional office hours, this is invaluable. However, you must make the most of being able to offer 24/7 service. After all, there’s little point in providing out-of-hours access to the IVR system if customers engage with self-serve tools and are still asked to phone back the following day.

7 Ways to Drive Customers Towards Self-Serve

Consequently, you need to find ways to provide out-of-hours callers with an effective means of following up their contact if it’s not resolved by the IVR system or a Chatbot. This may mean linking to other online resources, providing an email address through which customers can contact an agent or allowing them to schedule a call-back at a time that suits them.

  1. Use human agents to prompt future self-service

Human agents also have a role to play in encouraging the use of self-service channels. This can be as simple as making a customer aware that they can complete a certain task via a self-serve channel in the future or it may mean providing them with a link to a relevant resource.

This is most useful when it comes to online resources such as forms. With intelligent omnichannel integration, contact centres can message customers links to useful resources via their preferred channel, be it SMS, email or social media.

  1. Make sure it works

Finally, one of the most important steps you can take to improve self-service adoption is to make sure it works. A large percentage of customers will be willing to give your self-serve technology a chance. However, if it fails or proves more time consuming, confusing or difficult than picking up the phone and speaking to an agent, they’ll quickly ditch it. Unfortunately, they’ll also then be more hesitant to engage with your self-serve channels in the future.

7 Ways to Drive Customers Towards Self-Serve

Consequently, you must ensure your self-service channels are performing as they should before opening them up to customers.

What Next?

Self-service technologies are only useful if customers choose to use them. Due to some natural hesitation to engage with new technology, many customers need to be gently nudged in the right direction. In this article, we’ve explored seven ways to increase self-serve adoption. By following this guidance, you’ll find that customers are more willing to utilise self-serve options when they’re designed to meet their needs. From ensuring easy access to asking your human agents to promote self-serve channels, every one of our top tips should improve your self-serve performance.

Our expert team have been providing customer self-service solutions for over 25 years. Call us on 01344 595800 or drop us a line to find out more.