Today’s consumers are increasingly fond of the idea of self-service. From push-button prompts that make it easy to choose the reason why they’re calling to interactive, option-heavy menus that make speaking to a live human being mostly unnecessary, the current and future generation of consumers are in love with the idea of taking matters into their own hands.
However, that doesn’t mean that a successful contact center should abandon the quality of their live agent customer service in favor of focusing on self-service. Instead, it is vitally important to understand how the two work together - and just how necessary a supporting team of real human beings are to even the most fully-featured self-service suite.
Your Customers May Not Love Your Self-Service as Much as You Think
Sure, you’ve got a great self-service suite lined up. You use a smart combination of interactive voice recognition, push-button prompts, and interactive menus to make the calling process easier on your consumers. You empower your callers by letting them handle much of the early steps of the connection process themselves, even allowing them to opt into a call back if your wait times are too long. And they love you for it! Don’t they?
Not necessarily. Not every consumer is looking for self-service as part of their experience. Likewise, not every consumer is as technologically literate as the majority of today’s population. This discrepancy can make it difficult for these consumers to feel catered to and properly served by self-service options, essentially making them counter-productive.
The truth is, behind even the best technology, there should always be a well-trained, knowledgeable, and friendly staff waiting to help your customers. Without their support, your technology is no better than dead air time.
The Role of Live Call Center Agents in Supporting Self-Service Technology
What can your team of agents do to ensure that your self-service technology is not only working properly but working for your consumers? There are three major boxes you can check to ensure your agents are being as supportive as possible of both your technology and your customers, and every task will help your center improve its efforts for the future.
1 - Easing the transition into technology. There are many reasons why a consumer might not be comfortable with or capable of fully benefiting from self-service technology. Some of these include:
- Being an older adult, and therefore less familiar with today’s technology.
- Being generally technologically illiterate or avoidant.
- Being intimidated by technology that is unfamiliar or new.
- Having disabilities or difficulties that make the functionality of the self-service system less than beneficial, such as being hard of hearing or unable to use a touchpad properly.
Regardless of a person’s reasoning, the need to embrace technology and find solutions within it for everyday problems is one that we as a society are all going to be faced with eventually. Your customers - no matter how much they may dislike or may be struggling with self-service technology now - likely know that they will eventually have to learn how to use it. Helping them to do so is not only a boon for business, it makes the consumer feel valued and breeds customer satisfaction and brand loyalty - two things no automated program can do alone.
2 - Being there to assist and support your consumers when that technology fails them. Let’s face it - computers and the technology that comprise and connect to them sometimes fail us. When this happens, it pays to have paid attention to keeping your live agent team sharp and well-trained for providing real-time customer service. Whether a self-service program is temporarily experiencing a problem or a customer simply has a problem with the program, having live agents on hand to provide the help they need in its stead can streamline the process so that consumers don’t have to make multiple attempts to get assistance.
It is important to note that while technology can and does falter, a customer feeling as if the feature has failed them personally does not necessarily mean that the program or technology is faulty. It may simply mean that the consumer isn’t able to benefit from its use, in which case a live agent is always the best option for providing them with service.
3 - Making ongoing improvements to your self-service system. No matter how great your current self-service system is, there is always room from growth and improvement. With that mentality as your guide, it is easy to see how taking notes from what is working well for consumers and what is falling short of their expectations can help your staff in creating a better, more functional solution for the future of your company’s self-service programming. That way, your technology will be able to help more people in the future - all while you’re able to help people who need it in the here and now.
Bringing It All Together for a Better Customer Service Future
With today’s technology, contact centers provide myriad options for self-service. But what if they were able to provide richer, more engaging experiences? What if they were able to provide full conversations and genuine exchanges without the social awkwardness that many people fear from phone calls with strangers?
That may well be the future of self-service systems. Using the information gathered today in supporting current technology, industry leaders - such as ChaseData - are working to bring consumers the next generation of self-service programming. One day, perhaps the knowledge gleaned in assisting today’s consumers will play a part in creating deeper, more human-like exchanges with technology - all without the need for a single conversation with someone you don’t know!
For more information on outfitting your center with today’s best self-service technology and to learn more about options still on the horizon, contact the experts at ChaseData today!