Can self-service be good customer service? Both the overall population and Millennials in particular think so, according to a new report from Aspect Software.
The study, done in conjunction with the Center for Generational Kinetics, found that more than 65% of respondents said they felt good about both themselves and a company when they were able to solve a problem without directly contacting a customer service agent. That figure ticked up slightly for Millennials, at 69%.
“Though the idea of self-service customer service may seem counter-intuitive, it makes sense when one thinks about it,” Peter Roesler wrote in a Denver Business Journal review of the study April 22. “Customer service reps for a company are normally providing assistance based on information given to them in a user guide. Giving a customer access to the same information eliminates the need for sitting on the phone or waiting for an email reply.”
Another study, released late last month, also suggests that Americans are turning to increasingly high-tech channels when it comes to reaching out to customer service agents.
Nearly half (47%) of consumers use a hodgepodge of channels when trying to reach customer service, a 1,000-person study from PwC found. A full 41% said they’d had a positive experience with online customer service chats.
These are important figures for businesses to take note of, especially since the Aspect Software study also showed that 76% of Americans see customer service as a true representation of how much a company values them.
However, the PwC study came up with one more number that probably many will find surprising: A full 84% of the consumers polled said they prefer live telephone answering services over any other means of reaching customer service agents. So it appears it’s not time to cut the cord on phones just yet.
The report’s authors suggest, however, that traditional channels and digital channels simply have different realms. Phone calls are preferred for billing issues, questions, and support for products or services; digital channels are ideal for checking account statuses and handling technical issues with websites or mobile apps, for example.
“I feel there is nothing that can replace a well trained human being on the other end of the line or a chat,” says Brian Scott, A Better Answer. “Humans can make decisions regarding crediting an account or making notes for the customer to have a better experience in the future. Let’s face it, people don’t call customer service to give a compliment, they call when there is an issue.”