Magazine article CRM Magazine

Deliver the Self-Service Your Customers Demand: Four Principles for Exceeding Customer Self-Service Expectations

Magazine article CRM Magazine

Deliver the Self-Service Your Customers Demand: Four Principles for Exceeding Customer Self-Service Expectations

Article excerpt

We all want great self-service. Customers like it for convenience; companies like it because it can short-circuit expensive agent support.

Unfortunately, great self-service is hard to find. Often it is a frustrating experience that drives customers back to the phone. Through many years of successful self-service implementations, KANA has developed four simple principles to help you eliminate customer frustration and deliver self-service that focuses on how customers want to do business with you.


While this principle seems obvious, it's dumb self-service that customers typically get. There is a simple reason for this. Too often, self-service is equated with Google-like searching where customers see every possible answer related to a search term. Customers are not however, interested in the search-hit smorgasbord--they want a qualified answer.

Self-service must do more than parse language with keyword and natural language searching. Intelligent self-service helps a customer define what is most important and uses this knowledge to recommend solutions tailored to the question. It offers multiple retrieval methodologies for finding appropriate answers in the shortest amount of time, such as clarifying questions, diagnostic scripts that change dynamically depending on response, and results lists presented in an order determined by experts.

For example, intelligent self-service can refine results for a broad search on the word "retirement" with a series of questions: "What age do you want to retire? Is tax deferral important? Do you need guaranteed income?" Based on the answers, intelligent self-service filters the initial list of suggestions to recommend the most appropriate product.


In theory, self-service is perfect for getting answers to customers quickly and cost-effectively. In practice, self-service alone cannot deliver great customer service.

Customers will always need agent assistance when they require further clarification. If self-service is a dead-end with no connection to the contact center, customers will skip it and head straight for the phone.

Self-service must be part of a larger service strategy that offers choice through multiple online channels, such as email and live chat. However not all email and chat solutions are created equal. Those solutions that effectively complement self-service combine streamlined message handling with higher response accuracy and consistency. …

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