Building Strategic Self-Service Into Your Customer Journey

Building Strategic Self-Service Into Your Customer Journey

When you search Google for most products (or anything really) and then click on the VIDEOS section of the search results, the most common videos will be from YouTube. It’s the most popular video service globally and it’s owned by Google, so it’s no surprise that it is tightly integrated.

Try it yourself. Search for ‘Bob Dylan’, and there he is performing in 1965. Search for ‘Lego’ and you will see the trailer for the Lego movie followed by some information from toy stores about Lego products. What about if you search for your own products though? What information is returned?

This is becoming an important first step to consider when planning an integrated and comprehensive customer experience strategy. The first place many customers turn to when they need help is the Google search on their phone or their Alexa device – “hey Alexa, how do I access the Internet on my new TV?”

If you bought a Samsung TV, then you might be in luck. Try searching for the model you just bought and you will find that the most popular videos are on their own website, not YouTube, and most of them are instructions and diagnostic help. All the most common problems with their TVs are on their website, so if the first action by a customer is to search online then they should have their problem resolved without any need to call the customer support number.

This is great for the brand and the customer. It’s effectively a First-Call-Resolution win for the customer because their first instinct was to ask Google for help – and they found it immediately. The brand needs to invest in recording a 90-second explainer video, but that’s a one-off cost that will then live online for the lifetime of the product. But the number of calls that never need to go to the contact center may in fact make the investment in video worthwhile.

I believe that a more strategic use of self-service needs to become an integral part of the customer journey. Planning a customer service strategy should be focused on designing a more comprehensive pathway to support:

1. Self-service: can we make useful and relevant information available in places that the customer is likely to search for help?

2. Automation: can we immediately answer customer inquiries with tools that can answer simple and repetitive questions?

3. Contact Center: can we focus our agent resource on managing the more complex issues that cannot be dealt with by steps 1 and 2?

This approach is also a win for agents. They don’t want to be answering the same repetitive questions day after day, so if the improved self-service and automation tools can manage this then the brand, customer, and agents all win from this approach.

The potential downside is that you invest in content that is rarely used or seen, so it helps to first understand your customers. Are your products the type that might typically invoke a search response when there is a problem, and if you believe that this, is the case then where is the best location for that content?

It doesn’t need to be located on your own website, like Samsung. Companies like Dell put all their own explainers on YouTube and then rely on the search engines to find it.

However you design this, a more strategic focus on how customers initially seek help can only generate improved customer satisfaction even if you are not going to measure that inside the contact center.