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An essential asset for e-merchants

The question of customer relations is at the center of all concerns for merchants and e-merchants, as sometimes a few seconds are enough to create a negative experience that is likely to create frustration and annoyance for the customer. A web page that doesn’t load, a basket that doesn’t update, an order invoiced twice, a hidden cost when confirming a purchase, an unfriendly seller, or out of stock are all examples of interactions. Customer satisfaction can affect…

One of the solutions lies in setting up a self-service. It is the ability for the customer to obtain service or assistance quickly and easily. In other words, instead of wasting time calling customer service, finding an answer to a question on your own through a portal specially designed for your convenient experience. Done right, with the right tools and the right knowledge base, self-service can completely change the way you manage your customer relationships.

Self-service solutions for contact centers at human level or with limited budget

Most organizations have already built some level of self-service into their websites, sometimes without even knowing it! It could be creation of a relevant FAQ, implementation of a chatbot or an online complaint management system. To pursue and optimize a self-service strategy in a sustainable way, there are 4 best practices to explore.

  • It is important to measure which interactions are used the most based on the number of visits and the success rate in providing responses. For a merchant, for example, FAQs may be asked about products, order and delivery status, or return requests. As much as these materials are consulted, and therefore requested, they are the priority pages for integrating a global view of self-service. These materials will be the most profitable and easy to install.
  • Provides self-service information to calling customers, using text-to-speech and pre-recorded information, taking advantage of the same interface on your site through your Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system . The goal is not to remove the human, but to make the agent’s job easier and give customers more choices.
  • For instant messaging conversations, agents must be quick to share a link to the site’s self-service page and then walk the customer through the process. If done properly, over time more and more people will naturally turn to volunteering.
  • Finally, starting simple, you can add natural language capabilities to self-service via IVRs, voice bots and/or voice-enabled chatbots. To avoid cost escalation, focus on a specific set of use cases with very clear customer intent, a small number of well-defined responses, and a large number of interactions. If the natural language engine does not recognize the request, it will simply redirect to traditional interaction processing.

What is involved in building and maintaining a self-service knowledge base?

Knowledge management is the process of creating, sharing, using and managing the knowledge and information of an organization. You can think of the knowledge base as the foundation of the house. If they’re strong and well built, you’ll be safe for a very long time. If the work is sluggish and poorly done, the whole thing will be fragile and the necessary cost of rebuilding will be higher than having to do things from the beginning. Often the challenge is gathering the right knowledge across the organization and turning it into structured, visual content. To successfully build your knowledge base, make sure to:

  • Create digestible, short and easily integrated content across multiple channels (text, infographics, photos, tutorials, videos, audios, etc.);
  • Bet on relevant content that gets straight to the point (sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words, and a video is worth 1000 images!);
  • Make your content indexed and rich with the right metadata so it’s easy to find, with the right keywords, a relevant categorization, and logic in how to navigate between content.

To work more effectively, prioritize content that addresses high-value use cases, has a high amount of interactions, a small number of possible responses, and very clear search tags. Finally, you can use automation and collaboration tools to reduce the effort required to create and deliver new content, taking advantage of your agents’ knowledge and written responses from real customer situations. A person should be responsible for managing and maintaining the knowledge base to ensure that content is well organized and consistently delivered, evaluating feedback and changes made by agents and requested by customers.

What Mistakes Are Self-Service Mistakes To Avoid?

The main mistake is wanting to do too much too quickly. Start with a small number of use cases involving a large number of requests and a small number of precise answers. It will be much more useful and productive to work iteratively, starting with the easiest and most important use cases for your customers.

Creating an editorial style and “voice of voice” of your virtual agents or self-service chatbots is also essential. Should they be friendly, formal or informal? Humorous or serious? Conversations with short answers, or long answers with all at once? The personality of the bot should not be overlooked, as it is strongly correlated with your image, your UX strategy, and your brand positioning. Finally, it’s important to keep two key factors in mind:

  • Your bot will not perform well the first time it is deployed, and this is to be expected, as it has to contend with the demands of the real world and the many language and content variations. Like hiring a new agent, it will take time for him to make a difference.
  • The bot does the job of your Contact Center agents, but does not replace them. By giving the possibility to exchange with someone who can watch the conversation and react more quickly, at any time, you’ll develop your omnichannel logic in just a few clicks.

Benefits of AI-Powered Self-Service

Artificial Intelligence (AI) makes it possible to process a very large amount of information in a short amount of time. She plays a vital role in establishing a reliable customer relationship. Thus it can aggregate and group a large amount of data on a client to provide a complete dashboard to a teleconsultant who can create value based on the existing information. Prediction of requests is also one of the great advantages. By consolidating data from a variety of sources, some systems can predict and estimate when and for what reason a customer is likely to call a support service. AI also enables the number of calls to be redirected to self-service solutions. Its return on investment can be calculated here:

  • Divert call volume;
  • Demonstration of self-service equipment;
  • The number of pre-qualified requests by the chatbot or virtual agent.

Many organizations are not reducing the number of agents with the development of self-service. They use the time saved by AI to focus agents on more complex tasks requiring human skills. Reducing routine issues in an agent’s workload can have a positive effect on reducing attrition, which saves on recruitment and training costs.

What will self service look like in 5 years?

Given how rapidly the accuracy and usefulness of AI-based voice and text analytics have grown over the past five years, self-service is expected to improve and grow significantly over the next five years. Example:

  • Speech-to-text transcription (a key requirement for voice robots) will have near perfect accuracy for a wide variety of pronunciation and speaker types;
  • Improved sentiment and sentiment analysis will better identify customers that need human attention;
  • The level of automation of virtual agents will increase, as well-integrated feedback loops continuously learn and improve responses to agent interactions;
  • The market will continue to favor self-service solution providers specializing in specific industries and problem groups, which will allow highly specialized robots to rapidly achieve satisfactory results;
  • Self-service bots will be more efficient, but more accessible to all organizations at an even lower cost. Plus, they will be able to handle more complex queries as well.

The fundamentals of a great customer experience remain the same: Balancing customer satisfaction and cost control for success will require a combination of self-service, artificial intelligence and responsive, technology-enhanced human agents.

If you want to know more about this topic, we invite you to download our practical guide “How to set up customer self-service”. Don’t hesitate to ask for our personalized display self service tools To understand how Enghouse Interactive can help you implement these best practices.

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