Today’s Self-Service Tools Put Your Customers First

By John Tenore

Brands are using digital customer service to drive down support costs without compromising their user experience. Core to this strategy is the application of digital customer self-service tools — a combination of traditional and modern tools that include native knowledge bases, AI-powered answer bot, machine learning, and automation bots that serve to maximize ticket deflection while improving CSAT.

Whether your brand has just started to modernize with digital customer service or has progressed far down the digital path, this is intended to walk you through the primary steps to leverage digital customer self-service in order to minimize your reliance on live agent support. Keep in mind — while it’s all about maximizing ticket deflection — it’s also important to recognize that certain issues will always require human assistance and should be treated accordingly.

Step 1: Establish and/or Optimize Your Knowledge Base

Having an easily accessible self-service portal is table stakes. Most customer service issues are routine and somewhat predictable, so by creating content around as many of these as you can, you can point customers to an organized and highly searchable knowledge base of articles on your website or mobile app that addresses their needs. Customers care most about resolving issues fast, and giving them self-service tools like this is the first step towards meeting this expectation. So, not only will a knowledge base deflect more tickets away from live agents, it will raise your CSAT score.

Step 2: Deploy Answer Bot, backed by NLP and ML

Once your knowledge base has sufficient content to answer your customers’ common support issues, you can then introduce an AI-powered answer bot to speed up the customer self-service journey. Through natural language processing, Answer Bot can detect the intent of the customer inquiry within the messaging conversation and then suggest relevant knowledge articles. This is a more targeted and conversational way of presenting your knowledge content.

With a modern customer service platform like Helpshift, your answer bot also becomes ‘smarter’ over time by leveraging machine learning. In just a matter of weeks, answer bot will be able to suggest the right knowledge base content with extremely high rates of accuracy. As you can see, the more content you add to your knowledge base, the more effective (and targeted) Answer Bot will be—further increasing your ticket deflection rate. 

It’s no wonder Gartner predicts that chatbots will power 85 percent of all customer service interactions by the year 2020.

Step 3: Automate Routine Issues with Bots

Brands that use bots to collect additional information and even fully automate certain customer service ticket workflows are able to achieve extremely high levels of automation without negatively impacting CSAT. For example, brands that leverage bots to integrate with third party systems in order to automatically track shipping, unlock accounts, and address other very common issues deplete much of the potential total ticket volume.

In addition, brands that combine self-service tools and incorporate automated workflows powered by bots perform better than their industry peers. (View all the benchmarks in our Digital Customer Service Benchmark Report).

That being said, the speed improvements and ticket deflection boosts you can gain from automation are only available via messaging channels. Email and web forms cannot efficiently leverage bots as they are not conversational in nature.

By front-ending customer service messaging sessions with bots, brands can collect information at multiple points along the issue resolution process — and when agent involvement is necessary — agents can jump right in and quickly resolve the issue. Moreover, when bots can solve the issue, live agent time is reserved for only the most complicated or puzzling inquiries.

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