The evolution of self-service technologies and the customer experience 


The evolution of customer self-service

The way we shop, chat with our friends, read books, watch films, order food and hail a cab has completely changed over the last ten years. The modern consumer is now comfortable interacting with a company using multiple digital devices and a mix of online channels – whether buying clothes online, interacting via social channels, reporting issues using an incident ticket system (ITS) or communicating through live webchat and chatbots.

Recent advancements in artificial intelligence (AI) and cloud technology are now being adopted by businesses and service-based organisations to create an automated consumer experience that is driving the evolution of customer self-service. Now, a company that has embraced digital transformation will be running a cloud contact centre as a service (CCCaaS) that can instantly switch between automated responses on social media, interactive voice response (IVR) over telephone and automated chatbots that intelligently interpret a query and provide an appropriate response.

The digital transformation of contact centres

Whilst there are some who have doubts over the importance of these next-generation technologies and remain resistant to the digital revolution affecting all industries, the vast majority understand the huge positive effect it can have on the success of a business and the impact on overall customer satisfaction.

As customers constantly demand more responsive communication methods, self-service is fast becoming a necessity for any business. Any company that can successfully integrate these self-service capabilities as part of their contact centre will not only gain a competitive edge by being able to resolve enquiries more effectively, but it will also result in greater customer loyalty and brand reputation.

We are all keen to play around with the latest gadgets, devices and apps, and this is fuelling customer demand for new methods of communication. More people are turning to social media, webchat and text when they need to interact with a brand as they use these on a day-to-day basis and feel most comfortable with these systems. Customers now want to communicate with organisations with the channel of their choice at a time best suited to their schedule, meaning businesses need to adapt to this trend. Self-service technologies allow this flexibility, while avoiding long waiting times that may prompt complaints or in the worst-case scenario the loss of a customer.

Customers expect the omni-channel experience

Despite the huge variety of technologies available, communicating with a large company can still be a frustrating experience for customers. While most self-service technologies aim to alleviate this frustration, they can sometimes cause further problems it if it is not implemented as an omni-channel system.

Organisations often operate their self-service platforms separately, which makes it difficult for customers to switch between channels and runs the risk of them having to repeat themselves – one of the most frustrating experiences with automated contact centres. New technologies are improving the customer journey to the benefit of both consumers and businesses, however, it’s important that organisations remember that people expect to receive the same level of service across each channel and when integrating any new technologies into the contact centre, they are part of an omni-channel strategy.

The modern contact centre needs to deliver a great experience and any company that successfully implements effective omni-channel self-service will realise the advantages for their customer relationships and will gain a huge advantage over their competitors.

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