SHARE



ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Sheila McGee-Smith
Sheila McGee-Smith, who founded McGee-Smith Analytics in 2001, is a leading communications industry analyst and strategic consultant focused on the...
Read Full Bio >>
SHARE



Sheila McGee-Smith | April 13, 2015 |

 
   

Re-Examining Self-Service

Re-Examining Self-Service A pair of studies highlight the need for both companies and solution providers to revisit the breadth and quality of the self-service options they offer.

A pair of studies highlight the need for both companies and solution providers to revisit the breadth and quality of the self-service options they offer.

For several years I used a slide in presentations that showed that 1990's call centers worked at perfecting the routing of customer care calls to the right agent. In the 2000s, a lot of attention was paid to moving interactions to interactive voice response systems (IVR) as that would mean no expensive agent resource was required. As it turned out, customers were typically just as happy to work with a computer for simple requests, e.g., did my payment post? The decade we are half-way through was to bring multichannel interactions seamlessly into the now contact center. Along the way, however, that relatively straight-forward plan was side-tracked by the explosion of e-commerce and smartphones and by the generation raised in the midst of the blast, Millennials.

Two prominent providers of contact center solutions, Aspect Software and inContact, undertook research in early 2015 with consumers to shed light on what they are looking for in terms of customer care in light of available technology. They both specifically sought to understand what Millennials (those born between 1977 and 1995) want. Why? Because, as described in a Forbes article in December 2014, Millennial customers--80 million in the U.S. alone‚Äďare about to become the most important customers. They already represent the largest generation in the workforce.

At first blush, the two studies may seem to have come to different conclusions on the topic of self-service based on the press releases each issued. Aspect Software, whose research was done in conjunction with The Center for Generational Kinetics, titled their release Serve Thy Self: New Study Reveals Millennials' Desire for Self Service, Digital Interaction to Change Customer Service Forever. One of their key findings reported was: "Self-service customer service that leads to resolution can actually increase a customer's positive view of a company's overall customer service. In fact, over 65% of all Americans say that they feel good about themselves and the company when they can solve a problem without talking to customer service." For Millennials, the number is slightly higher at 69%.

inContact and Harris Interactive's press release proclaimed Self-Service Isn't Enough for Demanding Shoppers-Contact Center Agents are Critical Lynchpin in the Customer Journey. The graphic highlights that even when making online purchases, 43% of US adults will typically interact with a company representative. More significantly, 81% prefer to chat or talk on the phone with a live agent when they are dissatisfied.

So one study says customers want to complete interactions with self-service and the other says that live agents are important both when making online purchases and when issues arise. Clearly both are right, and highlight two sides of the same issue. Self-service options are often preferred but live agents continue to be required in a sizable portion of online activities, especially when a customer has problems.

The studies highlight the need for both companies and solution providers to revisit the breadth and quality of the self-service options they offer. The proportion of companies tying their company's mobile applications seamlessly to live contact center agent support is shockingly low. It is that connection that is important to providing support when self-service fails, for customers of all generations.

Follow Sheila McGee-Smith on Twitter and Google+!
@McGeeSmith
Sheila McGee-Smith on Google+





COMMENTS



Enterprise Connect Orlando 2018
March 12-15 | Orlando, FL

Connect with the Entire Enterprise Communications & Collaboration Ecosystem


Stay Up-to-Date: Hear industry visionaries in Keynotes and General Sessions delivering the latest insight on UC, mobility, collaboration and cloud

Grow Your Network: Connect with the largest gathering of enterprise IT and business leaders and influencers

Learn From Industry Leaders: Attend a full range of Conference Sessions, Free Programs and Special Events

Evaluate All Your Options: Engage with 190+ of the leading equipment, software and service providers

Have Fun! Mingle with sponsors, exhibitors, attendees, guest speakers and industry players during evening receptions

Register now with code NOJITTEREB to save $200 Off Advance Rates or get a FREE Expo Pass!

November 1, 2017

Your customers (internal and external) demand that you offer them the ability to connect by any means. With the adoption of cloud communications tools you now have access to an expanded portfolio o

October 18, 2017

Microsofts recent Ignite event had some critically important announcements for enterprise communications. Namely, Microsofts new Team Collaboration offering, Teams, will be its primary communicatio

September 20, 2017

Customer experience can make or break your business. But how do you achieve outstanding customer service when you're dealing with outdated organizational structure, lagging technology, dated proces

September 22, 2017
In this podcast, we explore the future of work with Robert Brown, AVP of the Cognizant Center for the Future of Work, who helps us answer the question, "What do we do when machines do everything?"
September 8, 2017
Greg Collins, a technology analyst and strategist with Exact Ventures, delivers a status report on 5G implementation plans and tells enterprises why they shouldn't wait to move ahead on potential use ....
August 25, 2017
Find out what business considerations are driving the SIP trunking market today, and learn a bit about how satisfied enterprises are with their providers. We talk with John Malone, president of The Ea....
August 16, 2017
World Vision U.S. is finding lots of goodness in RingCentral's cloud communications service, but as Randy Boyd, infrastructure architect at the global humanitarian nonprofit, tells us, he and his team....
August 11, 2017
Alicia Gee, director of unified communications at Sutter Physician Services, oversees the technical team supporting a 1,000-agent contact center running on Genesys PureConnect. She catches us up on th....
August 4, 2017
Andrew Prokop, communications evangelist with Arrow Systems Integration, has lately been working on integrating enterprise communications into Internet of Things ecosystems. He shares examples and off....
July 27, 2017
Industry watcher Elka Popova, a Frost & Sullivan program director, shares her perspective on this acquisition, discussing Mitel's market positioning, why the move makes sense, and more.
July 14, 2017
Lantre Barr, founder and CEO of Blacc Spot Media, urges any enterprise that's been on the fence about integrating real-time communications into business workflows to jump off and get started. Tune and....
June 28, 2017
Communications expert Tsahi Levent-Levi, author of the popular BlogGeek.me blog, keeps a running tally and comprehensive overview of communications platform-as-a-service offerings in his "Choosing a W....
June 9, 2017
If you think telecom expense management applies to nothing more than business phone lines, think again. Hyoun Park, founder and principal investigator with technology advisory Amalgam Insights, tells ....
June 2, 2017
Enterprises strategizing on mobility today, including for internal collaboration, don't have the luxury of learning as they go. Tony Rizzo, enterprise mobility specialist with Blue Hill Research, expl....
May 24, 2017
Mark Winther, head of IDC's global telecom consulting practice, gives us his take on how CPaaS providers evolve beyond the basic building blocks and address maturing enterprise needs.
May 18, 2017
Diane Myers, senior research director at IHS Markit, walks us through her 2017 UC-as-a-service report... and shares what might be to come in 2018.
April 28, 2017
Change isn't easy, but it is necessary. Tune in for advice and perspective from Zeus Kerravala, co-author of a "Digital Transformation for Dummies" special edition.
April 20, 2017
Robin Gareiss, president of Nemertes Research, shares insight gleaned from the firm's 12th annual UCC Total Cost of Operations study.
March 23, 2017
Tim Banting, of Current Analysis, gives us a peek into what the next three years will bring in advance of his Enterprise Connect session exploring the question: Will there be a new model for enterpris....
March 15, 2017
Andrew Prokop, communications evangelist with Arrow Systems Integration, discusses the evolving role of the all-important session border controller.
March 9, 2017
Organizer Alan Quayle gives us the lowdown on programmable communications and all you need to know about participating in this pre-Enterprise Connect hackathon.
March 3, 2017
From protecting against new vulnerabilities to keeping security assessments up to date, security consultant Mark Collier shares tips on how best to protect your UC systems.
February 24, 2017
UC analyst Blair Pleasant sorts through the myriad cloud architectural models underlying UCaaS and CCaaS offerings, and explains why knowing the differences matter.
February 17, 2017
From the most basics of basics to the hidden gotchas, UC consultant Melissa Swartz helps demystify the complex world of SIP trunking.
February 7, 2017
UC&C consultant Kevin Kieller, a partner at enableUC, shares pointers for making the right architectural choices for your Skype for Business deployment.
February 1, 2017
Elka Popova, a Frost & Sullivan program director, shares a status report on the UCaaS market today and offers her perspective on what large enterprises need before committing to UC in the cloud.
January 26, 2017
Andrew Davis, co-founder of Wainhouse Research and chair of the Video track at Enterprise Connect 2017, sorts through the myriad cloud video service options and shares how to tell if your choice is en....
January 23, 2017
Sheila McGee-Smith, Contact Center/Customer Experience track chair for Enterprise Connect 2017, tells us what we need to know about the role cloud software is playing in contact centers today.