The Art Of Easy: Offer Self Service With the Emphasis on Service (Part 2 of 6)
By Kathryn Perry-Oracle on Apr 07, 2014
A Guest Post by David Fulton, Director of Product Management, Oracle Service Cloud
Easy doesn't begin with Customer Service. It begins with customer
expectation. They expected easy, but it is not! They haven’t given up
though because they bought your promise of easy. And now is your chance
to redeem yourself by making it easy again.
Your business is relying on you. That’s a lot of pressure! So, where to start? Well, a good place to start is to recognize the relationship between what is considered ‘easy’ and the time each party is willing to invest in getting to resolution.
Valuing your customer’s time can be more valuable (to your business) than your own time, in terms of relationships, reputation, performance, acquisition and profits. Forrester Research has recognized that valuing a customer’s time is the single most important contribution you can make to delivering a great customer experience.
That rule applies across all touch points of course, not just Customer Self-Service.
So how do we value customer’s time by making it easy with a Customer
Self-Service approach? One of the most common and simple approaches is
to throw up a bunch of FAQs on a web page. This may be easy for your
business, but in today’s complex world, it can be far from easy for your
customers, particularly if those FAQs are difficult to find, awkward to
read, and void of any personal relevance that makes them actionable.
What started off as a way to reduce costs by enabling your customers to self-serve answers can quickly end up costing you more. Why? Because a frustrated customer is harder to serve, solve, and soothe. When it goes wrong, it’s your job to make it easy again and get it right.
The Art of Easy is making a complex resolution process both simple for a consumer to navigate and easy for you to deliver. However, location, device, need, communication skills, online profile, preferred channels, customer value, etc., all make a 'one size fits all' approach pretty difficult to pull off.
Satisfying both sides of the Art is Easy coin, i.e. scaling your business objectives efficiently and effectively while serving your customer’s needs, is the modern Web Self-Service Dilemma, and most businesses today are failing in the execution.
We believe that there are five key tenets to The Art of Easy within Customer Self-Service in order to be a Modern Customer Service business:
- Make connecting simple – Provide choice of channel
- Tailor the experience - Build for device of choice
- Segment appropriately – Know who you are serving
- Understand early – Know if the customer CAN self-serve to resolve
- Be proactive – Engage at the right time to avoid frustration
Square peg, round channel: To address those tenets, you need a solution
that provides multiple choices for customers to help themselves and get
the assistance they need along the way. Having only one-way is the fast
path to the exit for many, as one size doesn't fit all.
Available in any color, as long as it is black: When you can’t connect on the device of choice, you make it hard to connect. If you want to avoid frustrating costs and higher abandonment rates, you must have a solution that can be tailored to the experience of your customer’s device. You may find forgiveness if you at least look like you made an effort to provide some mobile device support, for example!
A Segment of One: While a customer may be able to get around having only one device and one channel supported, only supporting one “customer” type (not anonymous) is an unmovable roadblock to the experience they need. Chances are that your business (Marketing) already has an effective simple segmentation model that isn't being leveraged in Customer Service. Once you find it, you can use a solution that builds explorative pathways to the fastest resolution based on your different customer types.
Let’s Start Again from the Top: At the height of frustration from any Customer Service Interaction is the need to repeat information, and then to have what you repeated, ignored! And don't expect the customer to tell you what you never took the time to ask in the first place. Avoid frustration by having solutions that guide customers to help you understand how best to help them and that are capable of course-correcting to the right channel.
Don’t make me angry!: Either you are bugging your customer with constant pop-up invitations to chat, or you are sitting in a back room, waiting for them to have a total melt down before you assist. Where is the balance? Every good Customer Service rep knows when to wait, when to watch and when to engage at the right time. Your online customer service technology needs to have this same well-honed arsenal of proactive intuition. Change the “CHAT NOW” to “Are you trying to xxx? I can help you with that!”
What happens when EASY goes wrong? What should happen is that you make it easy again, restoring the faith of your customers and re-establishing trust in your promise. The Oracle Service Cloud empowers your business to care, take action and succeed in your Web Customer Service initiatives and become a Modern Customer Service organization.