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When customers don’t want to talk to humans

By RYAN FALKENBERG, co-CEO of Clevva

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Counter to the tired comedy tropes about customers wishing they could “just speak to an actual human being”, most people would actually rather solve queries and problems themselves. 

In fact, research shows that more than two-thirds of customers prefer self-service over talking to a customer representative. That is, of course, assuming that they are enabled to effectively self-serve.

COVID-19 has only accelerated that desire, taking self-service from a nice extra to a must-have. For obvious reasons, many people would rather help themselves via channels such as WhatsApp and social media chatbots than have to come into close contact with an assistant in a shop, branch, or office. 

Fortunately, with the emergence of intelligent digital experts, customers no longer have to endure frustratingly simple chatbots that struggle to understand them, and seldom offer them any meaningful help.

Organisations understand the imperative 

Many organisations understand the imperative to embrace digital self-service. Our own research with Clevva clients has shown that they’re prioritising digital self-service over contact centre investments. They’re not taking this shift gradually either. Most (more than 70%) are making it a high priority for their organisations over the next six months. 

Increasing the speed and accuracy of query resolution is a key driver for organisations wanting to embrace digital self-service. If an organisation can immediately resolve a customer query, issue or complaint, they’re likely to have much more positive feelings towards the organisation than if they’d had to wait for a human expert to engage with them via live chat, a distant contact centre or in-person. The longer an issue is delayed, the bigger the problem becomes.

Additionally, digital self-service options mean that organisations can offer their customers real-time service, 24/7. This too contributes to a better customer experience. A customer is much more likely to feel positively towards your organisation if they can resolve a query while sitting on the couch in the evening than if they have to take time out of their work day. 

The power of digital

One of the key enablers for organisations to be able to offer this level of customer experience is a digital expert. Digital experts operate like human experts, asking the right questions, offering the right answers and triggering the right actions, in context, and in line with business rules.  

While they are mainly used to engage directly with customers via digital self-service channels, they can also help contact centre and store agents handle complex or regulated queries just like an expert. For example, a financial services company can offer both customers and their staff a digital expert at their fingertips, capable of helping diagnose specific needs or to resolve specific queries, issues or complaints at specific points in their engagement journey. This means that customers no longer have to feel frustrated by limited digital self-service or in-person engagement journeys. As soon as they get stuck, they can access a digital expert capable of resolving their query in context and in real time. 

In addition to providing customers with the best possible overall experience, digital experts help organisations reduce their total cost to serve. They do this by handling more queries, issues and complaints digitally, allowing engagements that require the human touch to be richer and more meaningful.   

Take the opportunity now 

The demand for digital self-service is only going to grow stronger. Using the latest low-code technologies available in the market, organisations can now rapidly build, deploy and maintain digital experts capable of handling more customer queries, issues and complaints as they happen, in real-time. This not only reduces the total cost to serve, but it also ensures consistency across all channels. And it frees sales and service staff to focus their energy on the high-value engagements that truly differentiate. 

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