By Mandy Reed, Marketing Manager (Global)
In the realm of customer experience, providing customers with self-service options has become an essential part of a successful strategy. Customers are demanding these options, and organisations are finding them to be a proven way to improve the customer experience while also reducing overall costs of customer service. Software Advice, an online consultancy for knowledge management technology, and their research partners Research Now recently conducted a survey to take a closer look at the adoption of self-service channels and the measurement of their performance. You can find a full explanation of the survey’s findings here.
The survey results showed that, despite being part of the customer service landscape much longer than other channels, telephone interactive voice response (IVR) is no longer the top implemented self-service offering. As indicated in the chart below, both FAQs and online knowledgebases have surpassed IVR, although the ratio of IVR-to-online channel implementations does vary by industry.
As one of the newer options for self-service, virtual assistants—also known as intelligent virtual agents—made a strong showing in the survey results. We asked Craig Borowski, Market Research Associate at Software Advice and author of this report, for some additional insights into virtual assistants as a self-service offering:
“Some might be surprised by these survey results, particularly by how much adoption of new self-service technologies, like virtual assistants, has caught up with the older ones, like telephone IVRs. Though it is eye-opening, especially given the several decade head start that IVRs had, it’s not totally unexpected. The ROI on an effective online self-service implementation is a huge draw to companies. And those of us paying attention to customer service management software fully expect channels like virtual assistants to continue growing in popularity.
Virtual assistants occupy something of a unique role in customer self-service. They can dramatically improve customers’ use of and success with already existing self-service channels, like knowledgebases and FAQs. One of the biggest challenges companies face after investing significant time into a knowledge resource is making it easy for customers to find what they need. If customers can’t find the information they need, then you have a wasted resource and frustrated customers. By actively guiding customers to the right answers in the right resource, a well-integrated virtual assistant can be the missing link needed to fully realize all the benefits self-service brings.”
Over the years, virtual assistants have evolved from basic, stand-alone tools to sophisticated, integrated Smart Help solutions. With powerful virtual agent technology, such as Creative Virtual’s V-Person™, organisations have the flexibility to customise interactions to do exactly what Craig explains—use these systems to make it easy for customers to find the information they need by bringing together resources (FAQs, online knowledgebases, forums, site search, etc) in one place.
Take a look at the full results of Software Advice’s survey for statics showing the breakdown of self-service tools used by industry, details about the metrics organisations are using to track performance of these channels, and quotes from survey respondents about the positive effects self-service is having on their organisation’s overall customer service delivery.
Also take a look at the recording of our Technology Innovation Showcase during which Creative Virtual’s Founder & CEO, Chris Ezekiel, shared live demonstrations of how organisations are already using virtual assistants as a successful integrated self-service solution.
Special thanks to Craig and the Software Advice team for providing the additional commentary and chart used above.