Self-Service Without Customer Frustration


Omni-channel has been a buzz word in customer service for quite a while. We typically think of omni-channel as integrating all communication channels and enabling customers to effortlessly switch channels without losing the context of the conversation. However, getting omni-channel right is more than integrating channels; it is also ensuring that self-service and agent-assisted service experiences are seamless.

omnichannelaberdeenConsumers frequently switch from a self-service channel to an agent assisted channel if they cannot find what they need in self-service. In the past, a customer would then have to repeat their issue to an agent and the time spent and data entered on self-service was wasted. Self-service to agent assistance does not have to be a disrupted process though. Information that a customer provided in a self-service environment should be available to the agent so the customer does not have to repeat themselves. According to Aberdeen’s February 2014 report Optimizing the Self-Service Experience: Help Customers Help Themselves, Best-in-Class self-service providers are 80% more likely to support their agents with data on self-service activities in order to give agents visibility into historical client activities. This is a step in the right direction considering a recent survey by Aspect showed that one of the biggest frustrations for customers is having to repeat themselves.

An example of integrating self-service to live without disruption is when an automatic SMS text message is sent to a customer to remind them about an appointment. An advanced customer engagement system should allow the customer to change details about the appointment such as date and time by responding and interacting with a self-service script on the SMS channel. But when the customer has questions beyond what the automated script can provide, they should be directed to live chat, optimally staying on the same channel. The agent has visibility to everything that transpired prior to the start of the live chat.

The benefits of integrating self-service into the overall customer experience strategy are numerous, from cost savings to customer satisfaction ratings. Aberdeen’s March 2013 Next-Generation Customer Experience Management study shows that companies keeping in-tune with customer needs enjoy a 4.3% decrease in their service costs while their peers that lack the same customer experience focus report an annual increase in their service costs.

Find out more about integrated self-service technology for your contact center!


Tobias Goebel

Tobias is Director of Emerging Technologies at Aspect. He has over 14 years of experience in customer care technology and the contact center industry with roles spanning engineering, consulting, pre-sales engineering, program and product management, and product marketing. As part of Aspect's product management and marketing team today, he works on defining the future of the mobile customer experience, bringing together channels such as mobile apps, messaging, voice, and social. He is a frequent speaker and blogger on topics around customer service and, more recently, the (re-)emerging chatbot, NLP, and AI technologies. Tobias holds degrees in Computational Linguistics, Phonetics, and Computer Science from the universities of Bonn, Germany and Edinburgh, UK.