9 Tips for Transitioning to Customer Self Service


Guest post from Ross Clayton for the Government Contact Centre Summit 2014

Customer self-service is the obvious solution for government contact centres looking to preserve their operating budgets.

Not only does it keep low value, high volume transactions out of the contact centre, it also improves your customer experience by offering them a simple, fast and easy way to get the information that they need.

To help you on your journey, here are nine key things to consider when moving to self-service:

  1. Decide on your channel strategy – with a new social media channel appearing every minute, you can’t be everywhere. Instead, map out your target demographics and the channels they frequent, and tailor your efforts accordingly.
  1. Bring your customers with you – spending time and money on developing a new communication channel will be a fruitless endeavour unless your customers use it. Tell them about it in person, over the phone and any other way you can.
  1. Make it simple stupid – if your self-service channel is more complicated than doing it over the phone, it will go the way of the dinosaurs. Keep the interface simple and reduce the burden of effort on behalf of your customers.
  1. Don’t reinvent the wheel – You are not the first government agency to move to self-service, and you certainly won’t be the last. Draw on the lessons learned by your peers like ServiceNSW at home and the UK’s Digital by Default strategy abroad.
  1. The left hand should know what the right hand is doing – Integrate your self-service channels with the rest of your organisation. If someone is half way through a form online, you should know about it when they call you.
  1. Sing from the same hymn sheet – Consistency of message.The information on your website should be the same as that available on the phone. If your customers consider the phone channel the source of truth, you can guarantee they will continue to use it as their first port of call.
  1. Create a feedback loop – If customers often call the contact centre due to a similar issue or error, ensure that this is fed back into self-service design. That way problems can be addressed at source, and interactions can be resolved online rather than on the phone, saving time and money for all concerned.
  1. Don’t let fear of the unknown hold you back – Often we see Contact Centre Managers shying away from newer channels, particularly social media, as they are more fearful of what might go wrong than the potential upside.
  1. Up skill your staff – Contact centres have come a long way from the call centres of yesterday. A modern customer service agent needs to be savvy across multiple channels. Ensure that you give them the tools they need to do the job.

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