Self-Service and Customer Satisfaction – Do They Need to be Opposing Forces?

For years (and I suppose still for many a CFO), moving customers to self-service options was a cost savings measure, not a way to improve customer satisfaction scores. But it doesn’t have to be that way… if you do it correctly!

Let me start with a couple tips from the writers at in an article they published on the subject important features your self-service portals should include.

Couple their ideas about reducing customer effort and making the search bar the centerpiece of your self-service support, with a multichannel view of customer interactions and you’re off to a good start.

Some other self-service best-practice tips include:

  1. Get rid of your outdated IVR menus and design them with the customer/caller in mind, giving them the shortest path to an answer (ask yourself when you last reviewed your IVR menus).
  2. Implement technology that passes customer interaction context from one agent to another; as well as from one media type to another. Nothing frustrates a customer quicker than having to retell their problem.
  3. Realize that customers want to select how they interact with you, so give them choices. Some prefer IVR (bank by phone type applications) and some want to jump on a website and hit a comprehensive list of frequently asked questions. Others want your automated greeting to give them an option to get straight to a live agent. Don’t dictate. Let them choose.
  4. Answer customer’s questions before they ask. Be proactive in your customer communications (yes, very doable in an automated self-service way). This includes notifying customers of issues  (power outages, product defects, change in store hours, maintenance schedules, etc.) before they have to call our reach out to you.
  5. Know your customers. The technology exists to track repeat website visitor or repeat callers. Use that information to your advantage. With that information you can offer up preferences to help get your customers the information they need as quick as possible. – without them having to do the navigating.

Self-service is becoming a preferred method of service for a larger and larger part of the population. Don’t let it be ignored in your pursuit of delivering exceptional service. Doing it correctly can be an advantage for your business.

Joe Staples – chief promoter of CX best practices