5 Trends in Self-Service Support

By Harrison Clover   |   August 24, 2017
5 Trends in Self-Service Support
As consumer expectations change, organizations must respond to the external pressure to provide quick, easy, intuitive, and personalized self-service support. Below is a review of the top five self-service support trends to keep your company competitive.

Consumers Demand Quick Service

According to a Forrester report, over 75 percent of US consumers responded that valuing their time is a crucial component to excellent customer service. They want the right answer right now, and they value a consistent experience from first contact to resolution of their problem. Approximately the same number of respondents agreed that reaching a live agent takes far too much time. Self-service support increasingly meets the growing demand for instant service.

Working 9-5 No Longer Exists

In addition to demanding quick service, customers now demand constant accessibility. Your brick-and-mortar storefront may be closed, but other channels must be open 24/7. This is where self-service support plays a key role. This is especially true in e-commerce. From the consumer’s view, if you can take their payment at all hours, then you should be accessible to answer questions as well.

Web-Influenced and Online Sales Are Growing Exponentially

The headlines continue to report that online sales are growing. In addition, offline sales are increasingly motivated by online interactions. In fact, offline sales that are influenced by online interaction may exceed $1.6 trillion and continue to grow. When customers are purchasing in your store, the chance that they went online first is a trend that demands enhancements to self-service support, particularly across mobile channels.

Liquid Expectations Raise the Bar

Consumers no longer compare you only to your competitors; now they compare you to any brand or industry. Accenture calls this new reality “liquid expectations.” For instance, your customers are likely comparing their online interactions to their experience with Amazon.com or Netflix.com.

Another example is phone number recognition. If you call certain organizations, the call center agent receives information about you based on your phone number. If you have placed orders, that agent will have visibility into those orders and your transaction history. If that customer contacts you, they will expect you to have the same functionality.

Consumers Are More Comfortable with Virtual Agents

Today, the marketplace offers Alexa, Cortana, and Siri. Our mobile devices provide us with virtual assistants who recognize speech and respond to our questions with personalized, relevant answers. Consumers are becoming comfortable with this technology as it is adopted across more channels, and they expect an engaging experience with a virtual agent.

These important trends make clear the changing consumer demands for self-service support and other customer service interactions. Companies that fail to embrace these trends risk losing a competitive edge in the race to improve the self-service support experience. While these service options may never fully eclipse the satisfaction of speaking to a human, self-service options are an important complement to any comprehensive strategy.