Let’s have a heart to heart. Do you understand which channels your customers prefer to contact your organization? In a recent contact center webinar conducted by Jacada, 42% of the attendees replied they don’t fully understand their customers’ preferred channel. Not knowing your customers’ preferred mode of communication will affect your self-service adoption, regardless of how much money was invested in taking the load off the contact center. That’s why simply knowing channel adoption rates is not a good indicator of preference. Just because more people are calling the contact center does not necessarily mean voice is the customers’ sought-after channel. High call volume is often an indicator of low customer awareness of the self-service options available to them and/or not being actively engaged in their channel of choice.
According to McKinsey, 23% more customers call into the contact center than would prefer doing so. The same study shows 20% more customers preferring to use digital channels than currently do (McKinsey U.S. Digital Customer Experience Survey 2016). Thanks to unprecedented hype, self-service adoption still lags customer preference. While the nefarious “phone tree” (IVR) certainly takes some of the blame, companies are also dealing with low mobile application adoption rates, poor chatbot experiences, complicated agent desktop experiences and silo-based self-service channels.
Why Isn’t Self-Service 1.0 Driving Awareness?
Let’s face it, a great mobile app is NOT going to fix customer service. In fact, if you’re not a gaming or a social media company, you’re not one of the 10 favorite apps that people spend 96% of their time using (Comscore, 2017 U.S. Mobile App Report). Personal finance and travel are creeping up, but outside of these industries, most customers don’t want to download an app for a self-service experience.
To avoid the trap of the app, consider a mobile browser-based solution such as Visual IVR. Pioneered by Jacada, Visual IVR is a mobile alternative designed to lower inbound call volume by pivoting callers into a visual session without requiring users to download a mobile app. Complemented with co-browsing, video chat and contextual escalation to a live agent, users are able to self-serve their intent within the Visual IVR session with minimal effort. In parallel, customers can connect to live agents to assist in this visual interaction, also known as a multimodal experience—exchanging documents, sharing links, uploading pictures—all designed to enhance a channel, not replace a channel.
Will Speech Stand on Its Own?
Voice-based personal assistants like Siri, Google Home and Alexa are boosting comfort levels for people to interact with a bot in a speech-like manner, and in turn, renewing corporate interest in investing in voice-based virtual customer assistants (VCAs) that are more conversational than ever before. However, for a voice-based VCA to offer a true self-service experience, companies not only need to hitch their wagon to a best-of-breed NLP engine to fully understand customer intent, but also provide a contextual escalation path from the VCA to a live agent.
While speech is the most natural human interface, it still has its limitations. Conversational speech interfaces will struggle in instances where there is no way to constrain the answer given by the user (name, address). Adding a digital/visual component to the speech-initiated interaction will overcome the unconstrained alphanumerical challenge by utilizing the strength of speech and visual to complement one another in a multimodal experience designed to drive self-service success.
Let’s Go Multimodal
Adding a digital component to speech-initiated self-service interactions creates possibilities for transactions never thought possible on speech alone and allows enterprises to offer digital assistance at a point where the customer seems to need additional support on the speech application. If a live person is needed, allow the customer to escalate to human assistance with real-time collaboration and full context of their self-service journey.
Again, multimodal interactions are often thought impossible with the multitude of disparate systems. However, a multimodal experience can be created by reusing integrations and conversational flows across multiple channels, even simultaneously, to automate self-service transactions without having to custom-build or code each experience separately.
Self-Service 2.0: Turbocharging Your Digital Strategy in 5 steps
- REFLECT on existing self-service strategies and identify gaps. Take an inventory of all the channels, their owners, their usage and success rates, along with tasks that can be completed.
- Help customers FIND the channels you do have by creating multimodal experiences.
- REDIRECT customer to preferred channel, even if voice is the easiest.
- USE channels more effectively by creating magical experiences in each.
- MEET customers in their channel of choice.