In the past, online self-service was seen as inconvenient. It was faster and easier to rely on a person, rather than often slow and erratic technology.
Today, digital advancements mean we can’t imagine a world without it.
As we’ve previously explored, done well, digital self-service gives your customers the control they want. It’s a pillar of any convenient customer experience – regardless of whether it’s B2C or B2B.
So much so that 8 out of 10 customers will try to take care of their problems before reaching out to a live rep.
Now, with your customers relying on digital channels more than ever before, online self-service has quickly become non-negotiable for your business.
But self-service isn’t just a must for your customers. It’s your people and business that stand to run out as the biggest winners from unassisted channels.
From labor, time and cost savings, to an improved knowledge of customers – we’ve explored the ways self-service benefits your customers, your people, and your bottom line.
Digital self-service boosts your bottom line
Let’s start with that bottom line. Research shows digital self-service can cut costs by 75%.
With fewer calls made to your staff, you’re immediately shedding costs and boosting profits:
Forrester research found that a live agent call can cost between $6-12, while an automated interaction can cost as little as 25 cents.
On top of this, your agents can concentrate on more complex and valuable customer interactions. Offering this value-added experience is a big step to boosting your conversion and lifetime value.
And that’s a key point. Your self-service shouldn’t just be about cutting costs or increasing efficiency (great as that may be). The focus has to be on making a more convenient overall experience for your customers.
That way, on top of cost savings, you build customer loyalty and trust, both of which are more valuable in the long run.
Save your customers’ time with self-service
60% of customers use online self-service content to find answers to their questions.
Why? Because customers increasingly value convenience over money.
Saving time is a major factor for 58% of online shoppers when deciding whether to buy online.
And according to Forrester, 73% say that valuing their time is the most important thing a company can do to provide a good online customer service.
The majority of interactions with contact centers involve customers asking ‘WISMO?’ (where is my order?).
Digital self-service can remove the bulk of these enquiries.
It provides customers with fast solutions to often simple problems. Problems they don't have the time to wait on hold for. It’s convenient and easy.
And your customers aren’t the only people who save time from unassisted channels...
Give your people greater job satisfaction
As we’ve seen, self-care can help cut a lot of simple customer enquiries.
For your people, this eliminates the monotony of answering the same questions again and again.
And by letting customers complete their own purchases, you're giving your people time to take care of more complex and challenging tasks. One of which is building and maintaining trusted relationships with your partners and customers.
And that’s essential.
Because customers simply won’t do business with a company they don’t trust.
- 93% of customers are more likely to recommend a company they trust.
- 92% are more likely to purchase additional products and services from trusted businesses.
- 95% of customers are more likely to be loyal to a company they trust.
Freeing up time doesn’t just give your people more time to focus on customer relationships. It’s also an invaluable opportunity to develop their skills and training.
Upskilling your workforce will be worth your while.
It leads to improved engagement, customer service, employee morale and efficiency. With companies that have engaged employees outperforming those without by up to 202%, it’s a win-win.
Give your customers the control they crave
The digital revolution has handed control to your customers.
Now 67% of customers prefer to use self-service options instead of speaking with a company representative.
They’ve grown accustomed to speed and immediate solutions. They want answers within seconds and the tools to manage their purchases. Unassisted channels give them this freedom.
By 2025, it’s estimated that AI will power 95% of customer interactions as customers demand Amazon-like experiences everywhere.
Even complex B2B journeys can benefit from taking a portion of the customer journey and making it self-care. But only if it’s faster and easier than getting in touch.
If it requires too much effort, your customers will revert to other channels or go elsewhere. And this will turn your unassisted channels into a cost center, rather than cost saver.
Get to know your customers
Customer data should inform everything, from your marketing and brand to your product and pricing.
Organizations that leverage customer behavioural insights outperform peers by 85% in sales growth and more than 25% in gross margin.
And self-service is a potential goldmine for customer data. Data you can then use to personalize and optimize their experience.
Whether that’s through AI or your sales team using data to see what customers have bought in the past. What their preferences are. How much they are willing to spend. What’s more, your customer service team can use the info you capture to anticipate your customers’ needs.
Self-service is another way to gather the data that helps your business make the right decisions.
Start with online self-service today
Great self-service isn’t necessarily built in a day. Instead, you can start small today and build up your unassisted offering through an iterative approach.
Your first step could be introducing a comprehensive list of FAQs. This immediately reduces the amount of calls to your customer service team and grants your customers the ability to answer their own questions.
A resources page with videos and guides on your website is another easy win. It offers your customers in-depth information on self-care, which they can access at the click of a button, 24/7.
If you’ve taken the initial steps, you can take the iterative approach into more sophisticated tech. So, when you’re implementing your digital unassisted channels, whether that’s chatbots or online customer portals, map them out and test as you go with customers.
However you approach your self-service, to provide the level of convenience your customers expect, it needs to be easy to access, navigate and mobile-friendly.
And these features aren’t just a quick-win for self service – they go a long way to reducing friction in your Digital Commerce store too.
Self-service benefits every part of your business
If we’ve established one thing, it’s that online self-service is a savvy investment.
Integrating smart digital self-service into your customer experience offers so many benefits. From drastically lowering costs and boosting employee morale, to increasing customer satisfaction and lifetime value.
Whether you’re implementing or optimizing your unassisted channels, check out our blog on the 5 staples of convenient digital self-service for ways to make your self-service outstandingly convenient.