5 Prerequisites for Creating a Self-Service Strategy


Customers look for help when they feel like they’re losing control over something – a product they purchased, an order, their bill, etc. They get in touch with customer service when they can’t solve the problem on their own. While sometimes the situation is in-depth and difficult to figure out, oftentimes it’s much more basic.

Today’s customers have grown to expect self-service. It’s available in practically every transaction we make, from our morning coffee order to banking, shopping and traveling. People are becoming more and more satisfied with making transactions on their own and without the help of a live person.

Even if your contact center offers self-service options, some customers will still seek out live help. It’s possible that these customers don’t understand the self-service options available to them. They may feel that the quickest way to solve their problem is by getting in touch with a live agent. Or, they could be worried that if they try to troubleshoot their issue on their own, it will only get worse and cause an even bigger problem.

Creating a comprehensible self-service platform for customers isn’t going to happen overnight. It can take a long time to move from primarily live customer support to self-service. Here are the prerequisites for an effective self-service system.

  1. Make IVR as easy to use as possible.

When a customer calls for support and an automatic voice response system answers, the options should be obvious and quickly accessible. In order to encourage customers to use self-service, language settings, menu options and FAQ have to be clear. When a customer knows how to quickly find an answer on their own, they’re more likely to solve their issue instead of waiting on hold for a live agent.

  1. Setup mobile web chat.

Web chat is a great tool used by many contact centers, but oftentimes web chat functions are optimized for desktop computers only. Web chat should also be available on mobile devices since they account for so much web traffic. Overall, self-service options should be available on all of the devices and platforms your customers use.

  1. Combine self-service with live service.

While many of your customers will opt for self-service, there are still a percentage who will prefer live service. Trying to create a 100% self-service strategy is going to leave some of your customers unhappy. Live service should be combined with self-service, not replaced by it. To do this, there should be limits when it comes to IVR. For example, after a customer has made several invalid attempts or the time to choose an option has timed out, the call should go directly to a live agent. When it’s obvious the caller is struggling, they should get live help as quickly as possible.

  1. Stay on top of metrics.

Every contact center relies on feedback from customers, but electronic survey data can only collect so much information. Tune in to IVR statistics to figure out where your self-service options can be improved. The percentage of invalid attempts, timeouts and live agent transfers will give you a lot of insight.

  1. Train your customers to use self-service.

Once you have self-service goals setup, you need to find a way to reach those targets. The more customers who know about your self-service options, the closer you’ll be to meeting your goals. In order to educate customers, offer free webinars and tutorials. Also, use social media to talk about the self-service options you offer, especially when replying to a customer who needs support.

Self-service isn’t necessarily something that comes easily or naturally to customers. However, once they do start relying on self-service, they’re likely to use it in the future instead of needing a live agent. This improves both the customer experience and customer satisfaction while putting less strain on the contact center.

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