The Evolution of Customer Self-Service in Today’s Hyper-Connected Digital World

The coming of the digital age has disrupted traditional business models and firmly thrust us in the age of the customer. 

Consumers are no longer passive in their interactions. They are now using technology and social media to consume personalized and contextual information. They are using this information to run their business, make purchases, or solve their issues. 

With the customer at the heart of all organization decisions, the focus naturally shifts towards delivering elevated customer experiences. And it is established that to achieve this, along with other things, it is equally important to enable self-service.

The rise and rise of self-service

Gone are the days when you could expect a customer to call your customer support and wait on hold for someone to help them resolve their query. Today, the customers, being conversant with technology, prefer to interact with an organization using a multiple of devices and a mix of online channels. They demand seamless and simple experiences across the entire journey, customer service included.

As such, self-service has become a formidable weapon in the organization’s arsenal to drive customer experiences. 

Studies show that 67% of customers now prefer self-service over human contact. 70% of customers now expect a company’s website to offer a self-service application.

But the digital age has disrupted the traditional self-service model as well. Self-service no longer stands for providing a customer service portal and populating it with ‘how-to’ articles or FAQs.

Self-Service is constantly evolving 

With changing customer expectations, self-service has to clearly be on the path to evolution as well. 

For example, given that we live in a global economy where serving customers from different time zones is almost a mainstay, customer service has had to evolve and assume a 24/7 avatar

Customers also now expect fast responses to their queries and issues. 

Studies reveal 32% of consumers expect a response in 30 minutes through social media channels. 57% of consumers expect the same response time on weekends and at night.

Enabling self-service platforms, thus, involves taking a look at the several forces that influence customer service. Technological evolution, arguably, emerges as one of the most critical influencers of the same.

Self-Service and 360-degree view of the customer

In the age of contextual and personalized information, self-service must deliver the same. 

Gaining a 360-degree view of the customer, therefore, has become important for organizations. The expectation from self-service is that it will help customers resolve simple issues themselves and connect them to the right resources and departments to offer an end-to-end resolution of complex issues. To enable such robust customer service, today, organizations need to seamlessly connect customer service with other departments.

Self-Service meets real-time insights 

Real-time visibility and proactively detecting and preventing issues also have become a self-service prerogative now. Instead of waiting for an issue to develop, organizations can send out pre-emptive alerts to customers so that they do not have to contact customer service. For this, organizations are looking at increasing their capacity to intelligently fix problems before the customer experiences them by gaining real-time insights into product and system health.

Real-time insights also provide information on frequently recurring problems and issues. This allows organizations to drive actionable improvements to these issues.

Self-Service and the push for automation

The evolution of self-service has introduced the push for automation as well. There is an increased use of predictive intelligence to automatically connect and route cases to the right resources, recommend solutions, and identify knowledge gaps.

Self-service platforms have moved from being silo-ed to becoming more integrated. This has been a response to the demands of providing omnichannel experiences. Customers no longer want to switch between channels, repeating their queries and concerns – this is one of their most frustrating experiences with customer service automation. Today, people expect the same level of service across every channel hence enabling omnichannel self-service becomes a prerogative.

Self-Service makes new friends – AI and Chatbots

Chatbots powered by AI and machine learning have also influenced self-service heavily. 

A Gartner report predicts that by 2021, 15% of all customer service interactions will be handled entirely by AI. 

Simple, rules-based chatbots have now proven that they can easily handle high-volume, low-tier issues. These chatbots are now helping organizations with 24/7 customer support and thereby allowing contact centers and customer support teams to automate certain functions during their non-functioning hours without investing in extra heads. 

Customers are also now accustomed to a ‘hybrid’ experience where the chatbot first handles a few exchanges to understand user intent before routing it intelligently to the right agent or department.

Self-Service needs comprehensive solutions

The changes in customer service expectations prove the growing value of self-service in the enterprise. However, to provide elevated customer experiences, organizations need comprehensive self-service solutions that provide a unified experience by connecting all the departments seamlessly. 

Using a comprehensive solution, such as the ServiceNow® Customer Service Management (CSM), helps organizations intelligently fix problems and resolve issues. This solution allows organizations to drive self-service from a portal integrated with knowledge, service catalogs, communities, and chatbots while remaining open to evolution to accommodate the changing trends influenced by customer demands.

Connect with us if you need to enable robust self-service capabilities and help your customers resolve their issues easily. Move them from being loyal followers to strong brand advocates.

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