When interacting with organisations, customers value convenience, speed and consistency above all. Self-service systems deliver in all three of these areas, which is leading to their widespread adoption on the web. But self-service isn’t stopping there. Advances in speech recognition and voice to text technology mean that companies are beginning to look beyond websites to applying self-service to channels such as the telephone, in the contact centre and to apps on mobile devices. This convergence opens up new opportunities for engagement and improving the customer experience.
At present however the web is the primary channel for many consumers looking to interact with organisations through self-service. Whether accessing websites via traditional PCs or mobile devices such as tablets or smartphones, the web is an intrinsic part of the relationship between customers and brands. According to Forrester 52% of consumers say they will abandon an online purchase if they can’t find an answer quickly to their question. Essentially, consumers don’t want to have to switch channels to get a response, which means that companies need to invest in technologies such as web self-service to deliver the right customer experience.
Natural language powered web self-service makes it easy for customers to get answers to their questions, with minimum effort and maximum accuracy. It goes beyond static FAQ pages or keyword search by understanding the whole question being asked and then providing the most relevant answer from its centralised knowledgebase. Advanced web self-service systems use technologies such as linguistics to analyse the context of the whole question, and therefore get the heart of what the customer actually is looking for. So, for example, it can tell the difference between cricket the game and the flying insect by reviewing the words around it. Questions that cannot be answered satisfactorily through web self-service can be automatically escalated to agents via email, and the resulting answers then added to the knowledgebase.
At a time of rapidly rising customer contact volumes on digital channels, web self-service provides five key benefits:
1. Improved customer service
Nothing annoys customers more than having to switch channels unnecessarily when they have a query. A well-structured web self-service system understands their question using natural language techniques and delivers a fast response, avoiding the need for them to call or email. This improves customer satisfaction ratings and has a positive impact on Net Promoter Scores (NPS).
2. Greater efficiency
Analysts Contact Babel suggests that it costs £3.87 on average to answer a query over the phone and £3.70 via email. In contrast web self-service has a negligible cost per transaction, as there is no need for direct agent involvement. In most cases web self-service has reduced calls and emails by over 50%, while still improving service levels. The efficiency savings are therefore potentially large, whatever business sector you operate in.
3. Reduced load on other channels
By deflecting incoming interactions from other channels, the load on contact centre agents is correspondingly reduced. This means they have more time to deliver personalised answers to more complex questions, such as around accounts or billing queries, that cannot be provided through web self-service. In turn this improves the customer experience.
4. 100% consistency
With a single knowledgebase behind web self-service, customers receive the same, consistent answer however they phrase their question. The same knowledgebase can be extended to underpin other channels, for example being provided to agents answering email or phone queries, further increasing efficiency and multi-channel consistency.
5. Advanced insight
Static FAQs provide no insight into the questions your customers are asking. In contrast, web self-service systems can be analysed to view the most popular questions and the insight used to improve business processes. For example, if 90% of queries are asking if a specific product is available in blue, or 75% of questions are sent at a specific point in the checkout process, companies can use this information to modify their operations and boost revenues.
Natural language powered web self-service is a technology that benefits organisations and their customers equally. In an increasingly competitive market, all companies should investigate how it can help them boost engagement and increase efficiency – before their rivals do.
Our last post talked about the strains facing companies as consumers demand faster and faster responses to their queries. However it isn’t just speed that customers value – they want to be able to get an answer through whatever channel they choose, whether online or offline. And if you don’t provide the right experience they’ll simply take their custom elsewhere.
To help Asian companies meet the challenge of successfully doing business with always on consumers, the Contact Centre Association of Singapore (CCAS) is organising a breakfast seminar on the Multichannel Customer Experience. Sponsored by Eptica, and taking place on Friday 12th October 2012 it will address the key issues facing customer service today.
Covering how to create a seamless multichannel experience and a more efficient service operation the event will include practical advice on:
- How to improve efficiency and reduce your service costs by up to 40%
- How to improve quality of service and first contact resolution to more than 90%
- How to reduce the volume of inbound emails by 50% and calls by more than 30%
- How to achieve joined up and future proof multichannel web, email, social, chat, telephone and mobile customer service.
The keynote guest speaker will be Huiyoong Yong, IT Strategic Communications, AirAsia. Huiyoong will be talking about how AirAsia is using Eptica’s software to deliver award-winning customer service.
By deploying Eptica as a centralised customer Self-service system, AirAsia is now providing fast, consistent customer service across the web, Facebook and mobile channels, 24 hours a day. Over one million enquiries per month are now being managed through the AskAirAsia system. What is critical for consistency of answers is that all these channels share the same knowledgebase. So whether customers ask a question through the web, Facebook or mobile they receive the same answer, through the channel of their choice.
Eptica CEO Olivier Njamfa, will share his experiences on how to achieve best practice when it comes to multichannel customer service and Eptica’s advanced customer interaction management suite will be demonstrated, showing how companies can both improve efficiency and service levels through an integrated solution. The morning will finish with a question and answer session and the chance to network with other customer service professionals from across Singapore.
The event is free and to find out more and book your ticket simply click here