The top performing contact centres benchmarked by Bright UK have a higher level of self-service than others.

London, May 2013 – After benchmarking over 1,000 contact centres across Europe , Bright UK, the company dedicated to helping organisations improve their customer service experience, can verify that the Top 25% of contact centres have more self-service than other businesses.

Until now, the contact centre industry has been unsure if self-service, either through web channels, mobile applications or IVR and speech solutions, was  having a positive impact on the customer experience.  The Bright Index now proves it does, with one big caveat.

Mats Rennstam, Bright UK’s Managing Director:

We have seen a shift in the number of organisations offering quality self-service solutions over the last 12 months and as a direct result, consumers are feeding back that they approve. The Bright Index measures CSAT scores and the use of self-service, amongst many other things, and we can demonstrate the correlation between an effective self-service solution and customer satisfaction.

“However there are still far too many IVR’s in use today that are destroying the customer experience, and the contact centre industry’s reputation,” says Mats.  “Presenting too many options, with too many layers and having no route to speak to a live agent infuriates the customer. This experience alone can cause customers to place their business elsewhere – having a negative impact on a business’s bottom line.”

In contrast, the organisations that are getting self-service right are starting to feel the impact in both customer loyalty and reduced costs.

Last year for example, Shop Direct announced that it had seen a “rapid increase” in mobile and self-service transactions and a 55% decrease in calls, whilst seeing group sales increase.

Mats

This demonstrates that getting self-service right can have a significant impact on your call volumes, and thus the ability to reduce your costs, yet not to the detriment of sales

This news does not indicate the start of the demise of the live agent.  On the contrary, a well-designed self-service solution should always give the option to speak to a real person.  There is no doubt that being able to speak to a live agent when you have a complex query, or simply need help navigating a self-service application for the first time, has a positive impact on the customer experience, and will be rewarded with loyalty.

Value Complexity
High High
High Medium
High Low
Medium High
Medium Medium
Medium Low
Low High
Low Medium
Low Low

Green: keep handling with agents, Red: automate.

As the person responsible for the contact centre, investing in both self-service and agent development can help you reduce your costs whilst having a really positive effect on the customer experience.

A starting point could be looking at your FCR (if it’s extremely high, you could probably handle more queries in self-service) and using a grid to segment the types of queries you handle as per the graph below.