Self-Service Contact Center Tools: Good for Customers, Good for Agents
According to recent research on the customer experience, more than two-thirds of all contact center interactions are agent-assisted. However, use of self-service tools such as interactive voice response (IVR) and chat bots nearly doubled from 17 percent in 2017 to 31 percent in 2018. Another study on customer service found that nearly three-quarters of consumers have used a self-service support portal.
Why Self-Service Adoption Is on the Rise
More organizations are adopting self-service tools in the contact center because they benefit the customer, the agent, contact center operations, and the organization as a whole. For the customer, self-service is becoming a standard expectation.
Customers like to be able to find simple information, such as an account balance or delivery date, without having to speak with an agent, wait on hold, or call during specific business hours. Self-service is often faster and more convenient for low-level inquiries, especially for younger consumers who are comfortable with technology and used to seeking answers and information through apps and websites.
Self-service channels also make life easier for contact center agents, who no longer get bogged down with mundane, repetitive inquiries that customers can resolve themselves. With self-service, agents typically field fewer calls and can focus on more complex inquiries that can’t be resolved with automated, self-service tools. Agents can also spend more time identifying upsell and cross-sell opportunities.
By encouraging customers to use self-service options, you can actually deliver a better customer experience than you would if every interaction involved a live agent. At the same time, you can drive down costs, operate more efficiently, improve outcomes, and increase agent performance and productivity.
Tips for Optimizing Self-Service Channels
The first step is to deploy and fully integrate self-service options to suite a wide range of communication preferences for both desktop and mobile devices. The second step is to recognize that you can’t just leave them on auto pilot.
Even though self-service is an intelligent automation tool, humans are needed to keep your contact center running effectively. Agents should be trained to jump in when self-service options fail to resolve an issue or the customer starts to struggle. Managers also need to track what types of inquiries shift from self-service to live agents, and at what stage of the customer journey, so adjustments can be made to improve performance and reduce call abandon rates.
Cisco Webex Contact Center
Cisco Webex Contact Center is a unified, omnichannel contact center solution designed to deliver the best possible customer experience and maximize agent productivity. Critical to achieving these goals is the Customer Virtual Assistant, an integrated chatbot self-service feature that can handle simple inquiries that don’t require a live agent.
Interactions with the Customer Virtual Assistant can seamlessly escalate to a live agent if necessary. When this happens, the agent will have access to the customer’s conversation history and interaction history. Agents have the information they need to either resolve the issue themselves or seek assistance from colleagues and subject-matter experts. The Customer Virtual Assistant feature, combined with intelligent call routing, predictive analytics, and granular reporting, enable you to improve important contact center performance metrics and increase your bottom line.
Cerium has extensive experience in the latest contact center technologies and is certified to deliver Cisco Webex Contact Center. Let us help you take full advantage of self-service tools to achieve better business results and deliver the kind of experience your customers expect.