The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly of Self-Service

Avoid these self-service pitfalls and stay on the path to success 

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The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly of Self-Service
Contact CentreEnghouse InteractiveInsightsNews Analysis

Published: May 15, 2023

Rebekah Carter

Self-service has become a must-have for businesses that compete on CX.    

Considered by many consumers to be the most convenient way of completing tasks and resolving problems, self-service is now the go-to option for many clients.    

Indeed, around 77 percent of customers say they have a more positive perception of brands that offer self-service solutions.    

While many companies have viewed self-service solutions simply as a way to reduce costs and improve efficiency, this perception has begun to evolve. Today, many companies see self-service as a crucial strategic investment and a way of enhancing customer loyalty and revenue.     

However, self-service solutions can only provide the right results when implemented strategically.     

As such, companies must understand how to leverage the “good” of self-service while avoiding the bad and the ugly.   

The Good of Self-Service Solutions

A great deal of “good” is associated with bringing self-service into a customer experience strategy. Around 95 percent of companies reported a dramatic increase in consumers requesting self-service options in the last few years. Plus, 81 percent of customers say they want businesses to implement more opportunities for self-service.     

Today’s digitally native customers appreciate the opportunity to resolve problems themselves without waiting for a human agent or specialist to answer the phone or respond to an email. Self-service is inherently convenient and fast. It allows consumers to use their chosen channels to resolve problems and tailor their experience to their needs.     

Self-service enhances customer experience by allowing clients to access an immediate response to their queries – making the service experience much more effortless.    

Moreover, as Colin Mann, VP of Marketing at Enghouse Interactive, states:  

“These solutions – whether a self-service portal, bot, or smart FAQ page – often lower operational costs by minimizing the number of active employees who need to be available to answer questions from customers.”

Contact centers may then tactfully drop occupancy rates, reduce the strain on the workforce, and allow employees to focus on the tasks that are make or break to the experience.    

The Bad and the Ugly of Self-Service

Implementing an effective self-service strategy isn’t without its challenges. Such an unfortunate reality is evident in many statistics. For example, 60 percent of customers face frequent disappointment in their chatbot experiences.   

Here are some of the challenges companies should be aware of to avoid encountering the “bad” and the “ugly” of self-service.    

1. Designing Intuitive Experiences 

According to a Forrester study, businesses waste almost $22 million on unnecessary CX costs annually because customers can’t access the solutions they need to serve themselves effectively.     

To avoid an ugly self-service experience, companies must consider an accessibility strategy for their new solution, so customers can easily find it when and where they require it.    

“Consider the points on the customer journey when the customer may choose to use the solution,” recommends SmithMann. “Then, use this knowledge to inform its placement on the website, in the IVR, and across other channels.”    

Every tool created for self-service should be user-friendly for both consumers and the employees who might be interacting with the tools.     

Also, consider proactive messaging as a means of pre-emptive service. AI-enhanced solutions capable of rapidly delivering personalized, automated, and streamlined experiences may help remove as many pain points as possible.     

Although, the best option is to consider solving the problem upstream first. If that is not possible, then consider how to allow customers to solve their issues autonomously.    

2. Stuffing the IVR  

Simplicity should always be a core component of a self-service experience. However, the IVR system, in which self-service is often embedded, tends to be a source of significant frustration for many clients.     

Even in today’s world of innovative conversational AI and automated technology, companies still create IVR systems that present clients with unclear options and dead ends.    

Any organization planning on using IVR technology within their self-service strategy should ensure they’re making the most out of their system.    

This means leveraging intelligent tools to ensure the technology can fully understand what the customer is looking for and provide the options each client needs. It also involves building routing strategies that effectively direct customers to the right bot or agent based on their requirements.    

3. Automating Too Much, Too Fast 

Determined to use self-service as a differentiator – or to save costs – some companies often try to boil the ocean with automation. They try to do too much, too quickly.   

Self-service solutions can’t always replace the human agent, even when designed to the most advanced standards. Many tasks will always require a human’s empathetic and creative input. Pushing customers to use self-service for everything will only lead to frustration.     

“Companies should ensure self-service is an option for customers, not a mandatory solution,” adds Smith.Mann  

“Clients should always have the opportunity to accelerate their service experience from a DIY approach to an agent-assisted journey.”

4. Failing to Evolve the Solution 

Ideally, a contact center will monitor the performance of a self-service solution as they would a human agent against targeted CX metrics.     

It is critical to monitor these over time, even if the solution shows promising initial results. Then, when a metric drops, consider why and tweak the solution to safeguard the service experience.     

After all, a process change in another part of the business may influence the customer journey, and the solution will not report to a supervisor as a human agent would.     

So, often the fault lies there for months, frustrating customers and increasing the load on human agents. A careful reporting and acting strategy negates this issue.     

Understanding the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of Self-Service

Self-service empowers customers and employees alike, streamlines the customer journey, and reduces operational spending for companies. However, like any business tool, self-service solutions must be implemented with care to deliver the right results.     

Building a self-service solution focused on simplicity, convenience, and constant optimization will help organizations avoid some of the most common challenges of succeeding in today’s digitally transforming CX world.     

Delve deeper into the customer self-service possibilities by visiting:    


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