Wynand Smit, CEO INOVO, says organisations must first conduct an honest assessment of their existing self-service offerings and how effectively these are meeting customer expectations. The reality is that when it comes to self-service, most South African businesses do not fulfil even the most basic customer demands.
This is where analytics become crucial to understand the problems customers are experiencing and the journey they take to try and solve it themselves prior to phoning a contact centre. Irrespective of the industry sector, 81% of customers want to take matters into their own hands and solve queries before reaching out to a contact centre agent. In fact, 67% of people prefer self-service over speaking to a company representative. So, how can companies leverage this to differentiate themselves in the market?
Not only must decision-makers focus on improving the self-service options currently available on their websites and mobile apps, but they must also be willing to adopt new channels such as WhatsApp and social media to engage with end-users in an environment where they are most comfortable in. For example, if a customer is sending a WhatsApp query, a business can immediately create significant intimacy by wishing them a happy birthday or introduce another personalised component based on the data they have on that individual.
Of course, the risk in embracing multiple channels is that companies might not have a fully-fledged self-service offering available on each platform. This could easily result in customer frustration, if not managed correctly. An example of this is a chatbot only being able to process statement requests via WhatsApp and not allowing for refunds that might be available on the website.
Integration is vital
During tough economic times, delivering good customer service is critical to the success of any business. In the past, companies could get away with not fulfilling this mandate as moving to a competitor was difficult and most of the services available were similar. However, this will be the year where the competitive environment in South Africa will show its maturity.