Make Customer Self-Service Your First Line of Defense

Despite the best efforts of contact center leadership, it’s not always clear how to make agents more efficient and effective. The usual approaches to assisting agents, such as streamlining onboarding, deploying integrations and automation technologies, and monitoring data and behavior have their place. But to address the deeper issues driving agent inefficiencies, contact center leaders must dramatically change how they service their customers — and switch from an inside-out approach to an outside-in approach.  

Contact center managers must find ways to proactively serve customers before they reach the contact center. And the best way to do that is to tap into the power of your knowledge management platform.

Moving to an Outside-In Approach

Typically, contact centers leverage knowledge management using an inside-out approach that lets internal contact center agents access knowledge content. This gives them provide answers to outside customers. While this is an effective strategy in improving agent performance, it misses out on what customers really want.

For example, most customers will first attempt to handle things on their own before initiating a contact center interaction. By implementing customer self-service channels that leverage your knowledge content, customers have immediate, on-demand answers that eliminate the need for them to call in and wait for a live agent.

These initial attempts at self-service often include the following:

  • Google search
  • Company website experiences (product pages, help content, etc.)
  • Automated customer service chatbots

Knowing this is where customers prefer to go first creates an opportunity to proactively support them. By extending the right public-facing knowledge content into the channels that customers use for self-service, organizations provide always-on self-service experiences that bolster contact center efficiency in a few important ways.

  • Deliver consistent experiences – Customers expect consistent experiences across channels and devices. Placing the same knowledge content your agents use into the channels your customers use ensures a consistent message and experience. Aside from making self-service the best first choice for customers, consistency can improve brand reputation, loyalty and satisfaction.
  • Lower interaction volume – By delivering knowledge content through self-service experiences, organizations can eliminate simple interactions that tend to overburden the first line of support (password resets, for example, or account lookups). This also eliminates the need to interact with the contact center. Google searches, self-service portals, chatbots and virtual assistance typically have the most impact here.
  • Improve interaction quality – When customers need to interact with the contact center, eliminating lower-tier issues frees up the customer service team to provide specialized, one-on-one assistance.

Make Your Agents’ Lives Easier

A well-functioning self-service experience extends into your agents’ day-to-day needs. As customers engage with self-service content, their usage and performance of that knowledge content is tracked, effectively communicating useful information about the customer’s needs. Organizations can then put this information at the agents’ fingertips to help them do their jobs better.

  • Present suggested responses based on real-time customer data – Before interacting with the agent, relevant information about the customer’s self-service journey can be passed to the agent to enable contextual, proactive searches and suggested responses based on the customer’s actual activity.
  • Get agents up to speed faster – Having real-time information about the customer’s self-service interactions immediately available can help new agents deliver customer service excellence faster.
  • Identify knowledge gaps – Understanding what self-service channels customers use — and how they use them — enables organizations to build content to support those experiences. They can also see what content agents use to resolve issues, identify best-bets and pinpoint proven solutions for agents who deal with similar cases in the future.

Prioritizing self-service with an outside-in approach deflects inbound interactions so agents can provide more context around customers who reach out for live interactions. An outside-in approach proactively responds to what customers want out of customer service. Learn why today’s customer self-service journey requires next-gen knowledge management with technology partners like MindTouch available on the Genesys AppFoundry marketplace.

This post was co-authored by Tim Passios, Vice President of Marketing at MindTouch. With nearly 30 years of experience in the contact center and software industries, Tim has been consistently tracking the changes in the customer journey and that journey’s impact on how vendors must improve the overall customer experience.

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