08 Feb How to choose the right self-service tools for your contact centre
Your customers want their problems solved, and they want them solved now. Not when your contact centre opens at 8 am, not when they progress in the queue to finally speak to a human. And they want it on their device or channel of choice.
Thankfully, we don’t have to resource our contact centres 24/7. We have self-service tools, such as chatbots and voicebots that can help customers find what they need, when they need it.
According to a Capgemini survey, 76% of businesses have realised measurable benefits from voice and chat assistants, including an increase in Net Promoter Score (NPS), customer wait time reduction by more than five minutes, and over 20% increase in First Call Resolution (FCR).
Over the past few years, self-service tools have come a long way. They’re more affordable and more effective than they’ve ever been. They’ve become a cost-effective option for contact centres looking to boost their customer satisfaction and give customers answers anytime, anywhere.
Here’s a quick guide to self-service tools and our top tips for choosing the right one for your contact centre.
Two main self-service tools for contact centres
A chatbot is an AI-powered computer application that simulates human conversation. They allow people to interact with digital services as if they were communicating with a real person.
Chatbots are most commonly used to:
- give instant answers to simple queries such as “what are your opening times?” or “where is your closest branch?”
- surface “How to” content: How do I set up my new TV? How do I register my SIM card?
Some bots can also handle more complex tasks like checking the ETA of an order, organising a return, or paying an invoice.
Powered by Voice Recognition technology, voicebots simulate a call with a live operator. Voicebots can avoid the call going to a live agent completely, or save time by providing some information up-front to the call centre agent.
Voicebots are most commonly used to:
- direct customers to the right team, department or queue
- verify a caller’s identity
- pay bills
- update contact or account details.
There are varying degrees of sophistication and effectiveness when it comes to self-service tools. You’ve probably had your own experience with a substandard chatbot that leaves you with a whole lot of frustration, and very few answers. But don’t let that put you off!
To get self-service tools right, you need to ensure it’s integrated as part of your broader CX roadmap and capabilities.
How to choose the right self-service tool for your contact centre
When it comes to choosing the right self-service tool for your contact centre, it’s important to get a clear picture of where you are now, and where you’re going.
Look at what you have now
Many people only have a vague understanding of what their contact centre technology can actually do. You might have bought a tool for a specific need, not realising it comes with many more features. It’s worth speaking to your current technology providers to find out if you already have a platform that can handle self-service.
Think about the bigger picture
If you’re considering upgrading your on-premise phone system to a modern contact centre platform in the next 12 months, you’ll probably find this will have self-service tools built-in. If you invest in a stand-alone self-service tool now, you might end up with two tools when you only need one.
At the very least, make sure that any tool you choose integrates with leading contact centre AI services like Google CCAI, Amazon CCI or Microsoft Azure AI. Most of the larger platforms such as Genesys, Twilio, Amazon, Nice, Freshworks and Salesforce include self-service capability and support integrations with the leading engines mentioned above.
Consider your internal resources
Using self-service tools doesn’t mean you can set and forget them. They need someone to manage, analyse and refine them to make sure they’re working for you (not against you). And some tools require more effort than others.
When choosing a tool, carefully consider the internal resources you have available to manage and maintain your self-service tools. If you don’t have a dedicated person available to manage it, go for a simpler self-service tool. Alternatively, you can outsource management to a trusted third party.
Work with a trusted partner
If all this sounds confusing, an implementation partner can help. A good partner will look at your current technology and your future roadmap to see which self-service tools make sense, carefully considering your specific requirements and budget.
A trusted partner can also help you avoid common mistakes. Our team at Synergy Enterprise Solutions has worked with some of the largest contact centres and enterprises in APAC, as well as mid-sized companies across a range of industry verticals. We’ve seen what works (and what doesn’t).
For example, one of the most common reasons self-service tools don’t work as intended comes down to poor workflow and logic design. It’s critical customers do not get stuck in an endless loop, or are regularly presented with messages along the lines of “Sorry, I don’t understand” – without suitable follow-up actions. In this scenario, it’s best to present some suggested topics based on the customer’s prior input or hand the engagement to a live agent in real-time so they can quickly assist the customer. A well-designed conversation flow and fallback actions will help you avoid dissatisfied customers and make sure your self-service tool is working to your advantage.
To see AI in action, watch this webinar “How to use Artificial Intelligence to create the ultimate customer engagement”. Learn how to get started with chat bots, how to tailor AI to your business, and how to use CRM data to better understand and engage your customers.
About the Author
Simon Shanks is General Manager at Synergy Enterprise Solutions. Along with a team of CX technology experts, Simon helps businesses achieve a personalised, consistent customer experience across all communication channels. Prior to this, Simon spent over 15 years leading customer support and customer experience teams from the ground floor, putting him in a unique position to understand the challenges faced by contact centres today.