Self-service plays a critical part in the company-customer relationship. There is demand for information throughout the pre-sale, onboarding, support, and renewal phases. Self-service content such as FAQs, support articles, blogs, customer reviews and feature descriptions comprise a vital part of information for customers. Personalized self-service tops it up a notch by providing targeted information to your customers’ quenching their curiosity effectively.
Also, today’s customers prefer doing things themselves. According to Dimension Data, 73% customers like to use company’s website to find what they need.
Another vital component of the relationship building is real-time chat support to answer customer queries. We all know it’s a great way to engage customers and making them feel attended to. Although our fanaticism over customer experience got us thinking whether it’s really worth bet. Live chat is still one of the dominant medium of customer communication but where does it stand when it comes to providing customers with relevant information? Can a personalised self-service system replace Live Chat? Or more simply, can personalized self-service beat an agent in providing a better customer experience?
Gets you curious too, doesn’t it? Well, read along!
Let’s start by exploring some fundamental needs of a customer and see how will both these channels fit in the scenario.
1. Rapid response times
Needless to say, chatting with customers in real-time seem to be a quick problem-solver. However, according to SuperOffice, 21% of live chat requests are never answered. Adding to this, average wait time for a live chat agent to respond is 2 minutes and 40 seconds. This is alarming when you consider the infamously reducing attention span of our species.
Although, when it comes to an intelligent self-service system, the wait time tends to zero. The system itself assists the customer to find the information they seek, instantly. Here, simple math will tell you that the longer you make the customers wait the more you are risking them to make a sale. Clearly, smart self-service emerges as the bread winner for your business here.
2. Never-ending repeated queries
You’ve instructed your agent to give a specific response from the database for repeated customer queries. The agent has practiced responding to those queries time and again. They spend a large amount of their time in sending responses answering queries that should be easily accessible for the customer. Moreover, the customer is not going to use the same phrase for their queries. Not to mention, ample training is required to handle frustrative behaviour of answering repetitive questions with correct levels of empathy and courtesy.
You can save precious billing hours while utilising customer interaction data to dig deeper on their information needs. An automated solution can be programmed to learn the various ways in which customers refer to a question and answer it seamlessly. This will easily be able to keep interactions with the client linear. Also, a machine will never experience the type of emotions that might interfere with delivering the kind of customer service your company should pride itself on.
3. Multilingual queries
We know that your team of chat agents are no less than superhumans attending to customers day and night but having many multilingual agents is a rare sight. This could lead to a situation where a customer whose first language is not English ends up incurring a longer hold time.
On the contrary, an intelligent automated system should be able to interact fluently in several languages. Building the right set of personalization tools can ensure that the self-service system can learn the preferred language of subsequent users, enabling it to initiate the interaction in the customer’s chosen language. This eliminates the need for the customers to choose their language preference and offers them a level of personalization they are unlikely to get from a human agent.
4. Multi-topic queries
What if your users have queries about multiple products that you offer? Chances are that they will end up chatting with a chain of human agents wasting a lot of time seeing the message “Your chat is being transferred to person X. Please wait. X responds within a few seconds”.
Smart self-service can break traditional database siloes and provide immediate answers to frequent questions from customers. There is no wait time as the program fetches the required data in an instant.
5. Upselling/Cross-selling anyone?
Did your agent give that important CTA to your customer where she can read about similar services that she is looking for? Well, if not trained to upsell or cross-sell, a human agent can’t be expected to look out for these opportunities and grab customers’ attention at the most opportune moment.
On the other hand, personalized self-service system can be programmed to show relevant suggestions including CTAs, Lead Generation forms depending upon the readiness of the user. Few lines of code with a well-designed flow will help you in driving the customer closer to making the purchase decision. Recording the choices made by customer could help the system in learning the elements that prevent customers from buying your product.
We know what you’re thinking. If personalised self-service can be so effective, why are we still using live chat?
Well, we do praise self-service in terms of its efficiency over live chat agents. A prediction by Gartner says that, by 2020, customers will manage 85% of their relationships with an enterprise without interacting with a human.
But there are definitely cases where live chat becomes imperative. Specific queries that are not present in your database can be understood and answered by a human agent. Also, sometimes customers are more concerned with getting the answer they seek from humans.
Maybe personalized self-service can beat agents but you would not want to risk losing a customer, do you?
Let’s call truce! Live chat or self-service, the choice is a slave to customer preference. However, with increasing trend in adopting personalized self-service offerings, we foresee a future where it can save customers’ time, make them feel special and save the organization a fortune by reducing the high costs associated with human agents.