It is undeniable that there has been a significant shift in customer expectations when it comes to the service they receive. Customers want to be in control. They expect to have quick and easy access to tools that help them resolve their inquiries themselves. According to Harvard Business Review, 81% of customers attempt to solve issues themselves before reaching out to a customer support agent. This is because, through self-service, customers feel like they can get closer to their ideal experience.
What is customer self-service?
Customer self-service is the proactive support process put in place by businesses to help customers troubleshoot or find solutions without the need to speak to an agent. Some self-service options include chatbots and virtual assistants, FAQs and knowledge base, Interactive Voice Response (IVR), USSD, SMS, and mobile applications, just to mention a few.
Self-service is no more a ‘nice-to-have’ for businesses. Customers expect it. As more disruptors become available in the market, we can only expect the trend to accelerate.
Benefits of customer self-service for your business
Until this point, the most apparent benefit of customer self-service for businesses is customer satisfaction. So what other benefits do you have to gain from self-service options?
Reduced customer service costs: The more self-service options you offer, the lesser the need for support agents, and the more you save on hiring staff, and operational costs.
Boosts agent productivity: When customers are empowered to solve basic queries on their own, you free up the agents’ time to solve more complex issues. This enables you to have a team of happier, more productive support agents.
24/7 support availability: Customers can reach out anytime, anywhere, and get solutions to their problems rather than wait to reach out to a support agent during business hours.
Improved customer retention: 96% of customers say customer experience is key in their choice of loyalty towards a brand. The more you empower your customers to solve their problems easily, the more likely they are to trust your brand and stick with it in the long term.
Deeper insight into customer needs: You can analyze the queries asked through self-service and leverage this insight to quickly address issues and fill in gaps in the customer journey. This helps you stay in tune with customer needs now, and in the future.
Self-service use cases
Self-service can be used to perform a variety of tasks. Typical content covers the issues most frequently encountered by support agents such as:
Confirming business location or operating hours
Providing bank balance information
Ordering a product or service
Booking or canceling an appointment
Listening to a service update
Resetting a password
Requesting warranty information or your return policy
Requesting a form or brochure be emailed or sent via SMS
How Mteja can help you set up a self-service platform for your business
Mteja.io is a cloud telephony service provider based in Nairobi, Kenya, that enables African businesses to streamline their business communication and take customer experience to the next level.
Mteja provides businesses with an omnichannel engagement platform that allows them to give customers access to their products and services via all channels. For example, instead of offering support on the company’s website only, support could also be offered on channels such as Call/IVR, Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD), SMS, and WhatsApp. The omnichannel experience allows you to provide a cohesive customer experience, no matter the channel a customer uses to reach out. Here are some of Mteja’s self-service options:
Call/IVR is one of the oldest self-service technologies, and make no mistake, it is here to stay. The self-service IVR option still accounts for 73% of contact center traffic, which is quite significant considering we are in the age of emails, chatbots, texts, and DMs.
IVR technology allows your customers to solve simple problems without speaking with an agent, by providing them with pre-recorded solutions. This diverts simple queries from the queue, and as a result, only complex queries make it through to the support agent.
USSD is a service that allows mobile phone users to interact with a remote application from their device in real-time. By dialing into a USSD code, your customers can be provided with a list of self-service options which they can select depending on their issue or query.
According to The Mobile Economy Report by GSMA, there will be almost 500 million new USSD subscribers, with nearly two-thirds of these coming from Sub-Saharan Africa and Asia Pacific. With the increase in mobile adoption and penetration in Africa, USSD is set to make a great impact on African businesses.
Mteja’s two-way SMS service allows businesses to send and receive messages from their customers through a shortcode. Two-way SMS provides the ultimate customer experience as personalized, direct messages can be sent to a customer's phone, allowing an SMS-based conversation.
The beauty of this service is that customers get immediate responses to their queries via SMS. Mteja allows you to create SMS flows that guide a customer’s self-service journey. The SMS flows are configured to send automated responses to customers.
Mteja’s top features that allow you to offer effective self-service
To ensure that your self-service flows are effective, you need technology that helps you optimize your processes to facilitate a satisfactory customer journey. Here are some of Mteja’s features:
Mteja Flows: This is a powerful feature that allows non-techies to visually design and deploy omnichannel menus within minutes. It allows you to visually design and customize multi-level interaction flows and menus on IVR, USSD, and SMS by dragging and dropping, thus eliminating the need to hire a developer to develop an application for you.
Depending on the channel you select, you are provided with different actions to guide you in creating a flow. The system flags any errors before publishing, making it easy for you to publish mistake-free interactions.
As customer trends and needs change, our plug-and-play solution makes it possible for you to make changes to your existing interaction flows without creating them from scratch, and having your self-service channels unavailable for weeks. Mteja allows you to make these changes in minutes and you’re back to business as usual.
Real-time analytics: Mteja’s reporting and analytics feature aggregates, organizes, and summarizes data, providing invaluable insights into trends. You can get a clear view of the customer journey, the most and less frequently selected options, and drop-offs. This data can be analyzed to identify the success or failure of the interaction flows. From this, you can evaluate your interactions in the context of the complete customer journey, and come up with new strategies to help improve operations and customer satisfaction.
Omnichannel integration: Many businesses have embraced the omnichannel philosophy, and recognize that customers need to be able to move freely between channels. Mteja offers an omnichannel platform that enables businesses to unify customer engagements from all their communication channels (IVR, USSD, SMS).
Customers are not just ready for self-service. They actually prefer it. So why not empower your customers to do so? This will not only benefit your customers but your business as well. All you have to do is ensure that you provide your customers with self-service options that are effective, intuitive, and easy to use, and you’ll reap the benefits for your customers and your brand.
Have you implemented self-service yet? If not, what is stopping you? Let us help you get started. Reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.