Self-Service Customer Support Systems

Customer support is an important function for any business. In the recent years we are witnessing increased focus on this from small and large businesses alike.

Be it a product manufacturers or service providers they need to constantly resolve customer queries fast and efficiently.

Customers have many options to choose from these days and thus demand best experienced from brands they associate with. Traditionally customer support would involve replying to emails and answering phone calls.

Both these models are highly resource and cost driven and with increased customer interaction they add to the operational costs.

Self-Service Customer Support Systems are the answer to these problem areas and offer great advantage to any business.

Overview of Self-Service Customer Support Systems

Self-Service Customer Support Systems or Self-Service CSS as they are often called offer 24/7 support to their customers without stretching resources. It is an electronic support system that allows end users to access information.

They can perform routine tasks without requiring any assistance from customer service representative. It does away with the concept of having to wait for the customer support executive and offers immediate access to information that the user needs. This system has been adopted by small and large businesses and is helping them increase the customer satisfaction levels.

Research shows us that customer self-care systems have been able to reduce the operational costs of customer contact centres by as much as 20%.

This sector has evolved in a big way from its nascent stage where the primary role was to aid customer support representatives.

Customer familiarity with self-service interactions has played a significant role in their deep penetration even among small businesses and start-ups. These systems can run in a fully independent environment whereby they cater to the complete needs of the customers.

The interfaces of these systems have gone a sea change and today they fully cater to the needs of the customers thus adding a lot of value to the brands.

Types of Self Service CSS

Web Self Service

Most of us who spend a considerable time on the Internet has often made use of Web Self Service. Here a person can access information and perform routine tasks by searching for information from a knowledge base. The way this information is presented to the user can vary.

While in some cases most of the queries are answered using FAQs in true CSS environment you would search for a related topic that would be answered from a database.

Interactive Voice Response

IVR as is it popularly called is a system where the customer interacts with an automated telephony system. Here the user uses a touch-tone telephone to interact with the database to acquire information or feed data into the system.

This system is useful to perform specific tasks such as reporting a power outage or checking the status of an arriving flight.

Apps

The popularity smartphones and tablets have led to the development of apps that offer information the users with no human interface. Using these apps a customer can interact with a software program using a mobile device. This can be used to perform tasks such as see the status of a bank transaction.

Along with mobile apps we are also witnessing huge emphasis being laid on Social Networking apps considering the great popularity of these platforms.

Kiosks

You might have come across these gizmos in public place. From offering you information to letting you check in at an airport these self-service systems can be programmed to perform a wide range of tasks.

Kiosks are extremely useful considering the amount of information that they can offer to the users. These are usually connected to the Internet or Intranet and thus built to perform a wide range of tasks.

What Makes A Good Self-Service Interface?

Now we come to the most important aspect of Self-Service Customer Support Systems. As a business entity when you are looking to invest on these systems there are a number of things that you need to consider.

Here are a few things that constitute a good system:

  • It should be able to optimise the user experience on the device that is being used to access self-service. User-experience is the core idea behind these systems.
  • These solutions should be smart enough to anticipate the needs of the users. The end-user should be able to find the solution he or she is looking for from such a system.
  • They should help in different stages of the customer interaction and be able to aid in things such as discovery, decision-making, and most importantly the subscription or buying processes. It should have automated billing and payment options thus increasing the conversion rates.
  • A good system should have the ability to identify the preferences of the existing customers and cater them information based on those needs.
  • Self-service systems should be able to easily integrate with a business’ existing customer support system thus facilitating multi-channel customer care architecture. Standalone systems are a thing of the past.
  • A self-support system should also be able to provide easy access to a customer support executive whenever required. In a web based system this would mean offering contact numbers or email ids where in case of an IVR it should allow the customers to talk to the executives immediately or place request for a call back. 

The Road Ahead

Self-Service Customer Support Systems have come a long way over the years and they are slated to go a lot further in the coming years.

Future systems would be defined by the level of personalisation that they offer. Customers in the future would demand more out of these systems as they become the order of the day. Business analytics would play very important role in this development.

A lot of data is being mined by businesses from internal and external sources and this will lead the way for future development of these platforms.  Information would be presented to the customers in a highly sophisticated form and increase relevance to their needs and queries.

Self-Service Customer Support
‍Self-Service Customer Support

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