Self-service is officially here to stay. Around 78% of leaders in the US say they’re investing more in self-service today, as customers demand more freedom to troubleshoot issues and complete tasks without agent intervention.
Moreover, companies innovating on the front line of the self-service revolution are also experiencing significant benefits. Teams can reduce ticket volume by around 27% using self-service and AI chatbots. These tools also allow companies to empower and delight their customers, resolving problems faster than they would with traditional communication channels alone.
However, like most things in the CX world, self-service technology solutions aren’t one-size-fits-all. Here’s what you need to know to choose the perfect vendor in 2022.
Step 1: Know Your Audience
First, you’ll need to decide who you want to support with your self-service technology. Customers are the most obvious place to start. However, before you can start implementing tools for your target audience, you’ll need to consider the kind of solutions they expect.
Are you working with a range of B2B clients who expect to be able to log into a branded customer portal, issue support tickets, track requests, and troubleshoot problems? Or are you assisting a consumer base more likely to be happy with FAQ articles and chatbots to help them find answers to common questions?
Once you’ve assessed your customers, don’t forget to consider the benefits of self-service for your employees. Team members can also benefit from self-service tools, particularly in today’s hybrid and remote work world. Self-service tools and troubleshooting apps will help your employees to stay productive when IT teams aren’t available to offer assistance.
Step 2: Prioritise Integrations
Self-service solutions work best when they’re an integrated part of your existing CX strategy. 76% of companies experience phenomenal benefits from implementing self-service tools, like NPS score increases and improved first call resolution. However, they’d struggle to get the right results with siloed tools. With that in mind, ask yourself what you need your self-service systems to work with.
Can you access self-service functionality in your existing CCaaS environment or as part of your CRM deployment? If not, are API connectors and integrators available to help align your various tools? Remember, an integrated environment will also make tracking important information about your customer’s journey easier.
The more connected your service solutions and tools, the easier it will be to understand which problems your customers regularly face and how you can help them.
Step 3: Decide on the Self-Service Options You Need
These days, self-service technology comes in a variety of flavours. The simplest options start with FAQ pages, community sites, and knowledgebase environments, where people can find videos, blogs, and guides to help them address their problems in the digital world. There are more advanced options for companies willing to invest a little more into self-service technology.
For instance, you might want to build a custom chatbot capable of searching through your knowledgebase on your customer’s behalf and delivering answers to questions defined by certain keywords. You could also look into more advanced AI automation tools, like virtual assistants with natural language processing abilities to understand the human voice.
More comprehensive self-service offerings can also allow business leaders to design secure portals for users to access when they need to access onboarding and training sessions, track service tickets, and perform various other simple tasks.
Step 4: Look for Customisable Tools
When looking for a self-service technology vendor, it’s worth paying close attention to how much you can customise the solution on offer. As mentioned above, enhancing your technology with integrations and APIs is a good start, but it’s also worth looking beyond. For instance, can you build your community environment or customer service portal with minimal coding knowledge?
When implementing chatbots into your website or app, can you design your widget to suit your branding and implement other features which make the experience unique to your brand?
You can even consider your policy options and your ability to build automated workflows so you can instantly transfer a customer service request from a bot to a human agent. The right solutions should make it easy to keep the context of the conversation clear across every channel. Good levels of customisation will ensure you can continue to outshine the competition.
Step 5: Invest in Innovation
Self-service solutions have seen rapid adoption over the last couple of years, as consumers have grown more accustomed to socially-distanced transactions and online shopping. As the world’s digital transformation continues to accelerate, it’s important to be ready for an increase in demand for intelligent service offerings.
Even if you only can invest in basic FAQ tools for now, it’s worth looking for a vendor capable of offering the innovative systems you might need in the future. Look at companies exploring things like no-code and low-code automation tools. Find brands offering smart assistants with a better grasp of natural language and the ability to evolve with machine learning.
You could even look into companies that can help you get one step ahead of the competition and take advantage of emerging trends in things like extended reality. XR self-service applications could completely transform the problem-solving and onboarding experiences for customers.
Step 6: Don’t Overlook Security and Compliance
Self-service solutions have a lot of value to offer companies from various perspectives. The right tools empower both agents and customers while boosting business efficiency and productivity. They can even make it easier to collect information about your target audience, and their progress through the purchasing cycle.
However, suppose you are going to be collecting data about your consumers to enhance and optimise your self-service solutions. In that case, you’ll need to ensure your vendor puts security and compliance first. Think about how data throughout your customer service strategy is going to be aligned, collected, and stored. How can you make sure you’re compliant with the latest regulations?
Your vendor should be able to give you a clear insight into how you can maintain security, privacy, and compliance standards with your new tools.