Customer Experience News & Trends

A little extra online service = fewer customer support calls

Tweak your online customer service just a little and you’ll likely curb calls to customer support professionals a lot. Here’s what to do:

If you offer Web self-service options (and who doesn’t these days?) you’ve probably diverted some calls to your contact center. Of course, that online experience can be at the expense of personalized, relationship-building interactions.

Fortunately, there are a growing number of ways to personalize self-service and curb the number of calls made to service pros, according to researchers at Oracle and RightNow.

Get the basics right first

Before any organization can take online self-service up a tick, they want to be sure the basics are done well. The foundation of a solid Web-based self-service program includes:

  • A knowledge base. This searchable online FAQ or database should be regularly updated with the information that is most searched for or asked about most often. Subjects should be grouped together so the “next question” is answered before customers even have to ask it.
  • Smart assistance. Customers should be able to ask their questions in a search box and the online tool should be equipped to scan for keywords and suggest answers based on them. The key: Using customers’ language — not your jargon — in the answers.
  • Guided assistance. This includes tools that guide customers to relevant information, then walks them through troubleshooting. For instance, links to online videos.

Turn it up

From there, organizations can work on creating a more personalized customer experience through:

  • Live chat. Customers should have easy access to chat through an icon displayed on every web page. A bonus to implementing live chat: Reps can offer more personalized help based on the amount of time a customer has been on the site or the number of items they’ve put in their shopping cart.
  • Email management. Software can scan incoming emails for keywords and respond with an auto reply that includes relevant answers and links to the knowledge base, videos or other social support tools. If customers’ immediate needs don’t match up with the auto responses, emails can be quickly routed to reps based on their expertise, the customers’ value or emotions involved in the message.

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