Consumers are increasingly demanding more autonomy, faster service interactions, and more convenience. As such, self-service is coming increasingly to the fore.
Indeed, 88% of customers now expect every company to have a self-service strategy, and these strategies are improving all the time.
Consider all the recent conversational and generative AI innovations that continue to transform the CX landscape. These enable more intuitive self-service experiences.
Yet, this is perhaps only the tip of the iceberg. Let’s dig deeper by exploring the top five reasons why every business should invest in self-service.
1. Improved Customer Experiences
Perhaps the most common reason companies in today’s landscape are investing in self-service solutions is that it helps them to deliver the truly convenient experiences their customers want.
Creating a full “omnichannel” contact center today also means giving customers the option to choose whether they want to interact with an agent or solve issues using AI.
Conversational AI tools in the self-service landscape are becoming increasingly effective at understanding customer needs, completing common tasks, and delivering personalized support. These tools can even work across a range of channels, from voice and SMS to web chat and social media.
Such omnichannel solutions are critical to the modern contact center. As Jason Roos, CEO of Cirrus, states:
“The telephone has become a secondary contact method to messaging applications like Facebook Messenger, SMS, Twitter DMs and WhatsApp, where consumers can quickly and easily ask a question in real-time.
“As a result, businesses must pivot to focus on answering this demand from consumers and put messaging first. Voice comes into the equation once the discussion becomes too complex.”
Self-service solutions give customers that freedom to take control over their experience journey, accessing support whenever and wherever they need it, without waiting for a human response.
2. Enhanced Business Insights
As mentioned above, self-service solutions don’t just generate useful information for customers, they can also help to gather valuable data for businesses.
Intelligent voice assistants, chatbots, and other self-service tools can use conversational analysis techniques to collect valuable information through every stage of the customer journey.
Brands can use their analytical tools to pinpoint patterns in the customer journey. They can discover frictions and issues that may be increasing customer effort scores, or call handling times, and use AI tools to generate ideas of how to make the customer experience more efficient.
Self-service solutions built with artificial intelligence and automation can automatically request feedback from customers at the end of a call, or curate information from surveys.
Moreover, some tools can even detect and respond to sentiment in a customer’s voice, providing companies with useful information about which sales and service strategies increase or reduce churn.
3. Better Employee Engagement and Productivity
Discussions covering the benefits of self-service solutions in the contact center often focus frequently on the impact these tools have on the customer experience. However, increasingly, self-service solutions are leading to improvements in the agent experience too. In today’s evolving contact center, agents are facing increased pressure to deal with higher call volumes and more complex problems.
Self-service tools can reduce the strain on a contact center’s workforce, by limiting the number of queries passed to a human agent. A self-service solution such as a chatbot or an intelligent voice assistant can automatically handle common processes that don’t require human input. For instance, customers can use these tools to check bank balances, or order statuses.
It may also help to create a smarter back-office process. As Jon Dawson, CRO of Cirrus, says:
“Everyone talks about savings and benefits inside the contact center. Think about the benefits for the agent. They can capture information, collect it, understand it, and instantly process back-office admin tasks – that all streamlines the work for the person in the contact center.
“This efficiency shows a real understanding of where the AI can bring more benefits at the same time as improving the customer interface. However, this proves the fact that AI is a tool. It is a facilitator that enables us to improve business processes.”
As generative and conversational AI solutions continue to evolve, self-service tools can even handle processes like up-selling and cross-selling to customers with personalized recommendations, or automatically troubleshooting problems. This gives contact center agents more time to focus on the tasks that require their empathy and expertise.
Not only do self-service tools improve employee productivity and workplace efficiency, but they can also have an impact on employee engagement levels too, improving job satisfaction and reducing turnover.
4. Reducing Operational Costs
Investing in any transformational technology, including intelligent self-service solutions, does come with an initial cost.
However, implementing the right tools can also help businesses to save money too. Investing in conversational AI tools capable of handling unlimited queries on a 24/7 basis is much cheaper than hiring a round-the-clock team for global service.
Additionally, the right self-service tools can reduce the number of costly mistakes and errors made in a contact center, by automating processes that can often be rushed by human agents, such as post-call wrap-up and data entry.
According to the Harvard Business review, delivering great experiences actually reduces the cost to serve customers for brands.
When customers benefit from exceptional self-service experiences, they’re less expensive to retain, engage, and consistently convert. Implementing self-service tools could be an ideal way for companies to reduce the costs associated with acquiring and retaining their target audience.
5. Increase Sales and Revenue
Finally, self-service tools don’t just provide companies with a convenient way to reduce operational costs, they can also provide opportunities for businesses to increase their revenue too.
After all, 58% of customers say they’re willing to pay more for a better customer experience. A strong self-service solution, powered by intuitive conversational AI could give brands a competitive advantage.
Additionally, as conversational AI tools and self-service solutions grow more intelligent, they’re unlocking countless new opportunities to increase profits.
Companies can use self-service bots and voice assistants to make personalized recommendations to customers on which products to purchase next, or to implement upselling and cross-selling techniques.
Self-service solutions can also make it easier for customers to stay loyal to a brand for longer, providing easy ways to renew subscriptions and make additional purchases.
Since they have a direct impact on customer satisfaction levels, these tools also have the potential to consistently increase average order value and customer lifetime value over time.
As conversational AI tools learn from the data gathered by a business, they can provide ever-more relevant and impressive service to customers, making crucial clients more likely to stick around.
It’s Time to Invest in Self-Service
Self-service solutions offer significant benefits beyond customer satisfaction. By implementing intelligent self-service tools, businesses gain enhanced business insights.
As Dawson summarizes:
“These solutions leverage conversational analysis techniques to collect valuable data throughout the customer journey, allowing businesses to identify patterns, optimise processes, and deliver more efficient customer experiences.
“Investing in self-service technology is a smart move to drive operational efficiency and make data-informed business decisions.”
Indeed, the right tools, empowered by intuitive AI solutions, provide companies with the power to improve productivity, increase sales, strengthen customer relationships and reduce costs, all with minimal upfront effort.