There would have been a time, not that long ago, where if a company told a client “do it yourself”, that company would no longer have that client. But slowly overtime there has been a shift in the role of the client and their involvement in the delivery of services. We saw it with the demise of the petrol pump attendant (although the UK have revived them for a short time), the introduction of ATMs, and more recently the supermarket checkout. Most predominantly customer self-service can be found on the internet. It appears customer self-service is a lot of work voluntarily taken on by the client. So why do clients love self-service?
WHAT DOES CUSTOMER SELF-SERVICE LOOK LIKE?
Customer self-service comes in all shapes and sizes. In its most simple form it gives clients the ability to login and view their current contact details and perhaps a couple of other small relevant documents or information. In its most complex form it gives clients the ability to completely fill out and apply for an insurance policy, for example, online, without having spoken to anyone from the company during the entire transaction.
WE KNOW WHY COMPANIES LOVE CUSTOMER SELF-SERVICE
There are more obvious reasons as to why companies love customer self-service (CSS) including:
- Saves on costs
- Saves staff time, improving efficiency so that more transactions can be processed it as well as allowing the time to Boost workplace training and job satisfaction
- Creates more informed clients and communities
- Reduces repetition and therefore increases staff happiness
- Improves search engine ranking
- It allows a business to deliver good customer service to large numbers
WHAT’S IN IT FOR THE CLIENTS?
Convenience for your clients with 24/7 access, anywhere with internet access. The world doesn’t sleep. There are many reasons why people would prefer to transact at times outside of business hours. There are those people that work Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm, leaving only their lunch break to deal with mundane but essential errands, such as renewing their insurance policy. Probably not at the top of their list on how to spend their lunch. Then there are the night owls. Those people that work during the night and sleep during the day. Convenience is king in today’s market place, and this truth will only become stronger in the future.
If I hear that hold music one more time…! We can all admit that there is nothing worse than wasting your time on the phone on hold. CSS lets the client make an inquiry on their time, at their leisure and the company can respond within a reasonable time of a few hours to 24 hours. This takes the pressure off the customer service team and clients’ time is not wasted. Despite the response time most likely taking longer than over the phone, the client will be happier.
Don’t you know who I am?! Having to repeat personal details, everything from full name to the four digit code that is impossible to remember, can become tiresome and frustrating. Spell everything out in the phonetic alphabet at least twice, waiting for the company representative to search through the long list of other clients using a slow computer, is not a great experience for the client and probably not as personal as one would assume. CSS provides a solution to these challenges. The client is able to swiftly enter their email address and password and immediately access all their information. This already delivers a feeling of personalisation but on top that CSS has the ability to personalise the user interface. Depending on the CSS software this can be as little or as extensive as you like, for example a personalised welcome message, reminders on when their next policy is due, or further information tailored to the products your client is interested in.
I’ve got the power! Clients feel in control and empowered when they are able to easily find and source information themselves. This is especially true of their own information, such as current contact details, policies, invoices and claims. Further, clients gain greater understanding of the company and product through self-service, resolving problems at their own pace and learning as much or as little as they want.When clients aren’t able to find the information however it can cause frustration. For this reason, front-line employees should never be dismissed as they act as a back up, as well as serve those clients who aren’t as enthusiastic about the internet.
Consistency. CSS can deliver a consistent experience every time, unlike the front line customer service team, who can be made up of several different people, all with different personalities, different moods and different levels of experience. Not only is this great for strengthen the trust in your company and your brand value, clients are more likely to have a positive experience every time.
Due to the ever-evolving internet and the culture and norms that have developed as a consequence, as well as a number of other factors, most consumers are expectant of this service nowadays. The role of the clients has most definitely changed, and this has been brought about at the request of clients themselves. So those companies that shy away from offering self-service options put themselves at risk of losing clients to competitors who do.
If you would like to more about CSS email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 02 8467 3000.