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Lead Your Team Strategy

Empowering Customers With Self-Service Options

Stefanie Amini is Marketing Director of WalkMe

The customer is the driving force of any business. Businesses and service providers try their best to encourage and convince customers to buy from them, ideally in a way that empowers the customer to be independent and enabled. Yet one recognizable attempt of businesses, particularly in the online arena, has yet to reach its full potential.

Customer service providers have struggled for years to encourage customers to use their self-service channels and despite continued marketing efforts to promote higher usage, self-service often plateaus at a level somewhat lower than its potential. 

The real question that needs to be asked is why some customers haven't been so quick to adopt using them. An automated service has various benefits, but it lacks human assistance and interaction. This is very important some customers. Yet let's be honest. For the average online customer, while some types of transactions require human assistance, there are many others that can be successfully automated but have barriers that make it difficult to use.

Looking more closely at why customers don't like automated service, one finds that poor performance, such as too many responses on FAQs or navigating through long menus or speech commands are generally customers' main complaints. Additionally, some customers are uncertain that the automated systems accurately record their information and they lack confidence in using the service.

WalkMe, the world's first interactive website guidance system can enable self-service. Using this tool increases self-service adoption and reduces incoming support requests thus improving the customer experience and lowering costs.

Of fundamental importance is that the process of inputting data be as easy and as short possible. Customers end up getting frustrated if they need to re-enter data over and over again. Hence, relative and relevant information should be saved and personalized so as to be used later on. Even context personalization — which uses historical and real-time information, such as recent account activity and GPS information from mobile devices to better predict the reason for the current interaction — helps to simplify and speed up the online process. As a result, it does a great deal in promoting more confidence in the automated system.

To resolve the issue of lack of real human interaction, it is important that the overall performance of the automated machine is made as "human" as possible. A customer is often left frustrated and confused in dealing with a difficult website interface, in which he/she has to spend much time simply locating the trigger for certain desired actions and is left wondering why the process simply couldn't be made easier.

It is therefore highly advantageous for the business to eliminate those feelings, in order to reduce customer service calls, and perhaps worse, that the customer will simply leave the site altogether. This includes the need to provide clear information, instructions and guidelines to the customer. The system's knowledge base, therefore, needs to be designed and programmed in such a way that the customer can easily understand the interface, utilize it and find quick and complete answers to his/her needs.

The customer must be able to find what he/she is looking for as easily as possible, without needing to call a customer service representative to clarify the process or give additional instructions. Therefore, all in all, the process needs to be made as easy and interactive as possible. In order to achieve this, it is important that the knowledge base is updated and upgraded regularly. Hence, continuous monitoring is important.

The benefits of adopted self-service are clear: a business enjoys reduced costs on the need for customer service representatives and incoming help requests, while the customer, if the self-service is done right, enjoys a more personalized and expedited experience. Business should invest heavily in automated systems, and making them as user-friendly to the customer as possible.

The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of BusinessNewsDaily.

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