Despite what people may think, intelligent self-service already exists and has done for some time: self-checkouts, FAQ pages, and chatbots, for example. What’s changing, however, is attitudes to intelligent self-service.
What used to be an annoyance when it didn’t work properly is now becoming a relevant and purposeful tool that can save time and money in so many ways. And the best bit? It can enhance customer experience, too.
Why Self-Service is More Important Than Ever
In an age where human resource is required in the most hands-on, crucial business areas, intelligent self-service offers the solution. More than ever, businesses are under pressure to satisfy customer needs, and self-service does exactly that.
No one is saying that intelligent self-serve options will replace human interaction, but they can, in fact, speed up processes. For example, a customer handling agent can use intelligent AI to assist in pulling data from a CRM on a call, saving crucial minutes of the customer’s time.
The elephant in the room is customer experience, CX. Years ago, chatbots and other early intelligent self-serve options weren’t as smooth or sophisticated as they are today, giving them a bad reputation. But, today, intelligent self-service as a concept can actually improve customer experiences.
Better customer experiences opens the door to brand growth and enhanced reputations, replacing lengthy call times and closed doors for customers. And, in an age where audiences want instant gratification, having AI on your side to smooth things out is invaluable.
In addition, intelligent self-service can be the saviour of many a customer experience representative. So much time is spent handling the same types of requests that intelligent self-service could filter those out, so more time could be spent addressing the more complex issues.
The Future of Self-Service
As technology advances, so too will intelligent self-service. What started out as keypad entry while on hold to insurance or banking companies has now evolved into a fully intelligent AI sector.
The way things are going, you should soon (if not already) be able to start and finish an entire phone call with a company without ever speaking to a human agent. That won’t be pleasing to some, but it allows the human resource to be redeployed in areas where they’re needed more. However, the future of self-service should be wary and remain adaptable – customers still need to be able to have the option of a human handler should they need one.
One of the best examples of the future of intelligent self-service is the latest iPhone update, which will allow you to copy and paste text out of a photograph instead of manually typing it. This kind of automation saves time and energy while creating a far better customer experience.
Intelligent Self-Serve for Communities
The next significant step for intelligent self-serve is in communities, as consumers and audiences look to get more out of the devices and platforms they use. Interactive Voice Response (IVR) and intelligent virtual assistants have forced an opening that people are finally starting to wake up to and pour through.
This idea is that consumers and audiences can solve problems together, creating a community of customers that can use intelligent self-serve to find what they’re looking for. Aston Martin is known to be looking into this already, starting an exclusive club for Aston Martin owners that can come together to form a community of like-minded people.
Intelligent self-serve communities can only help customers feel empowered about their purchases and build a relationship with the brand. Further, it takes the pressure off the company to deliver outstanding customer experiences through the use of ISS, and they can instead focus on creating world-class products and services.
The key to intelligent self-service is sticking with it, iterating and improving your CX through data, and staying the course. We already know how valuable communities are to brands, and an outstanding customer experience will only enhance that.
And while we may not know the total return on investment just yet, it’s worth starting the journey to get ahead while you can.