Have a Look at Customer Service in 2030
For some reason, we have a constant fascination about the future. We desire to know what will happen, when and how- and no matter what, we just can’t get enough. If you go through the pages of history you will see numerous examples of people trying to predict the future. Granted, some of them turned out to be true and some completely off track, but in both cases these predictions affected our lives and the choices we made, and still make.
One of these predictions, which has been seen and heard almost everywhere this past year, is the one claiming that in 2030, 50% of the jobs we know today will disappear. The main cause for this predicament is and will continue to be the technological progress and the automation of jobs.
The Effect if Automation on Customer Service
Despite the obviously frightening aspects of that prediction, there is still another way to look at it. This alleged future will allow us to take full advantage of the fact that the machines are taking over all the repetitive and Sisyphean work, which means we humans will have more time to do what we do best.
So now the question we face is what do we do best? What in our area of expertise (aka customer experience and customer service) should be left for the machines and what should be done by humans? When it comes to customer service, part of the answer for this question lays with the self-service portal.
Self Service Portal
A Customer Portal enables online customers to find answers to their problems and questions instantly without having to request help from a customer service center/ representative.It is interactive and automated knowledge base that allows visitors and customers to independently resolve problems.
Why is Self-Customer Service good for you?
1. Your customers want it!
A recent survey conducted by Nuance Enterprise reveals that 75% of people think self-service is a convenient way to address customer service issues. 91% of consumers claimed they would use an online support center if it was available and tailored to their needs.
2. Cost Efficient
It’s significantly cheaper to have customers help themselves than having someone else do it for them. According to a Forrester study, the approximate cost to operate a call center technical support per customer is 12$ and higher while the approximate cost for web self- service is 0.10$ or even less!
3. Improves Online Customer Experience
The one thing customers want most (and are willing to pay good money for) is quick and efficient service.
A Self Service portal is exactly that- an instant source of answers and solutions (given of course that it contains recent and relevant information, but we’ll get to that too).
4. Engages Customers and Creates a Community
A self-service portal often has built- in community forums where customers can offer their opinions and thoughts on your product/ service. With the help of these forums, customers can provide each other with support, and establish a trust based relationship with each other and with YOUR brand.
Not only will it increase customer engagement but these ‘communities’ have great traffic potential. And the great thing about it is that you don’t have to do a thing!
5. Provides valuable data and information about your customers
A self- service portal tells you exactly what your customers want and need. With that information, you can paint a better picture and understand your customer’s journey. You can use that information to personalize your service and provide extra value to your website/ product/ customer experience.
6. Increases Agent Efficiency
The math is pretty simple. A self- service portal immediately reduces loads on other customer service channels, therefore enables your agent to pay full attention to every inquire that arrives.
Pave your way to a customer satisfying self service portal:
Your knowledgebase is the essence of your self-service portal. The content in your KB will be divided into two sections:
a. 50% of your KB is the content you get started with. To get the best content for your site’s KB, use resources such as customer reviews and FAQ.
Ask your salespeople what problems they notice the most. You can even send out surveys to your customers asking what difficulties and inquiries they encountered, what were they missing when browsing your site, what would make their experience better and such.
b. The other 50% is the content you keep updating. Your KB will be useless unless you keep it relevant and useful for your customer needs.
Bottom Line- Understand what your customers are looking for!
Provide your customers with various ways to use the KB and portal. Besides a search bar and a FAQ section, you can offer channels such as: community forum, chat, phone, email.
3. Semantic search engine
4. Search Bar
Make your search bar easy to find and visible. 63% of customers are frustrated with the search bar within a support center.
Make your portal easy to use. Provide easy navigation and make sure your content is clear, readable and to the point!
As you probably know, people don’t read everything, they scan. So make it easy for your customers to find the relevant content. I would suggest using graphics and images- things that will catch their attention.
6. Empower customers
Make your portal engaging for customers. Don’t hide it with different design, but make it apart from your general design and website. That way you will make your customers feel more comfortable and secure.
7. Content rating
Let your customers help you by giving them an option to rate the importance of the content.
Ask for feedback and optimize your KB according to the information your customers and salespeople provide.
Where should you ditch the machine and invest in HUMAN POWER?
Advanced as they may be, there are two things machines and technology will never have: Creativity and Empathy. And those are two things people will always need. When facing a problem that cannot be solved by the self-service portal, customers need someone that can understand their frustrations and that is exactly what we do here at Proonto.
A machine, advanced as it is, cannot “think outside the box” but only follow the patterns it was designed to. It cannot listen and cannot send a relaxing and assuring smile. It cannot say a genuine ‘Thank You’. And sometimes- that’s all a customer wants.
That is why it is so important to offer your customers with the possibility of Live Support.
Live support provides your customers with immediate human help.
Your customers get to talk to a person who has the ability to understand and to converse beyond a number of dialogues.
Numerous researches have shown that eye contact reduces hostility and anger. Sitting across a real person, even if it is online, builds trust which only contributes to your customer’s experience.
And let’s not be shy about it- if your customer trusts you and your brand, the chances of purchasing will immediately rise.
So What Will 2030 Look Like?
To answer that let me quote one of my favorite songs:
“Que Sera, Sera,
Whatever will be, will be
The future’s not ours, to see
Que Sera, Sera
What will be, will be.”
There’s no definite answer to what will happen in 15 years, but we can use the information we have today to make the best of things.
My bottom line to you is to let machines do what they do best. Let them help you get to know your customers and what they need the most, but leave all the human interaction to you, to your employees and of course- Your customers.