Why Focus On Customer Self-Service

3 min read

We created ServiceTarget because we see customer service and marketing teams struggling to help their companies make the shift to self-service and we want to help.

Today’s contact centers are continually asked to do more with less, and this problem is only growing more acute due to:

  • Rapidly increasing contact volumes. As consumers become more and more connected, it becomes easier and easier to send an email, text, Tweet, Facebook message or callback request, taxing a customer service department that’s already struggling to keep up with contact volumes and meet the increasing expectations of consumers and the service level requirements of the business.
  • Increasing product complexity. Technology is creating waves of disruption across consumer products, online services, telecommunications, travel and hospitality, banking, insurance, retail, education, and healthcare. As software eats the world, the products and services customer service teams have to support become more complex. Where previously 100 things could go wrong, now there are 10,000 things.
  • Limited budget allocations to customer service. As a massive number of new consumer products and services enter the market, product margins are compressing, making it more and more difficult to serve customers profitably. If you sell a $200 item at retail, you may only derive $20 of margin from it. Two service requests could literally wipe out company profits. The CFO cannot increase the budget beyond a certain point, they simply don’t have the money.

These factors are creating a math problem for contact centers and an unfunded liability for consumer product and service companies. And while customer service teams have been asked to master workarounds for years when every person, place, and product on the planet becomes connected, service quality is going to suffer, further frustrating customers and eroding loyalty.

Blame Bad Self-Service Applications, Not the Contact Center

Everyone likes to complain about customer service. Reflect on the last time you contacted your bank, insurance company or preferred airline. Then think about when you had a problem with your lawnmower, TV or home automation system. Perhaps you called back numerous times, held forever, got transferred, repeated your issue to numerous people, sent a few emails, etc?

But here is the thing, bad customer service is frequently the result of bad self-service. The fact that customer service is overworked and inundated with recurring and preventable emails and phone calls is evidence of a customer portal, help site, knowledge base and IVR that are all failing to do their job. If using self-service applications were easier than sending an email, many preventable contacts would disappear, freeing customer service to spend more time with each remaining customer. Imagine getting to an agent on the first ring who was properly equipped to serve you, talking to a chat agent that had your details and wasn’t multitasking with five other customers at the same time, or getting a really well thought out reply to your specific email or text only moments after you sent it. If self-service were working properly, customer service would not be backlogged and dealing with customer service wouldn't be so bad.

Our Mission

Our mission is to make every company phenomenal at providing self-service to their customers so that customers can be more self-sufficient and successful online.

We believe that every company should be able to rapidly create great self-service experiences, regardless of what backend services and contact center workflow applications a company chooses to use, and that business users should be able to build and evolve these solutions based on inbound contacts and customer insights, without a developer or systems integrator.

How ServiceTarget Works

ServiceTarget allows customer service and marketing teams to create and evolve customer self-service journeys and interactive guides that can be easily embedded within the existing web and mobile applications. These journeys and guides allow customers to more easily discover content and resolve common problems, all without contacting customer service.

Once deployed, a customer can quickly search and navigate self-service based on who they are, what product they own, what their issues are, or any dimension you can imagine, and each time get a relevant result list and a set of interactive guides which help them resolve common problems without customer service.

In the event a customer cannot resolve an issue themselves, we present the best contact channels, capture both contextual information and information pertinent to the customer’s specific issue, and create a case in existing contact center systems so that agents have all the details. ServiceTarget works with all major chat, call center, BPM and CRM packages, including custom systems as long as they have a web service.

After the escalation is submitted to the appropriate contact center, our analytics help administrators understand where customers are abandoning self-service and why they are escalating to the contact center. The self-service program manager can then test and evolve different customer service journeys, or they can create or modify their interactive guides and escalation options to drive higher self-service rates over time.

We’ve designed ServiceTarget to be very easy to use and to overlay and plug into any website, mobile app or contact center application. You can design customer service journeys and interactive guides in under an hour, and publish them on your site or app with a single line of javascript in less than five minutes.

The ServiceTarget Blog

You can expect this blog to share and explore topics related to why self-service is important and how you can use it to create an experience and cost of service advantage for your company.

  • We will discuss strategies for creating and managing self-service programs at scale, including developing an iron-clad business case, defining concrete success criteria, and keeping customers, subject matter experts and different departments and executives aligned.
  • In terms of designing self-service experiences, we will give you strategies to understand unmet customer needs and design customer journeys that are convenient and intuitive. We will discuss site design, usability, search and navigation, mobility and accessibility and explore the underlying reasons why users abandon self-service.
  • We will also explore how to create a winning self-service content strategy, including how to write more effective content to help customers through simple and complex processes. Further, we will talk about optimizing for SEO and give you tips for how you can effectively link self-service into your commerce experience, web apps, mobile experiences, contact center, and backend services without a lot of effort.
  • Lastly, we will help you go beyond page views and keywords so that you can work on key problem areas, reduce self-service abandonment and preventable escalations, and drive online resolution rates.

If you would like to learn more about how you can use self-service to help your customers be more successful while reducing costs per contact, please subscribe to our blog.

David Hayden
Software entrepreneur who enjoys building products that empower business people to create and evolve enterprise applications without code.

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