We’re in a new era of doing business. With more than 1.5 billion people under stay-at-home orders, retail stores shuttered across the globe and customer service agents now part of a growing remote workforce, the world of customer support and service changed nearly overnight.

For example, Salesforce EVP Jim Roth shared in a webinar with Coveo CEO Louis Tetu that his service organization went from 216 remote employees to 2,800 in just 16 days. And cutting staff or hours is not possible. The demand for support has climbed to deal with questions surrounding the pandemic, along with the inability to get questions answered in person. Customers today in nearly every industry need help to navigate the changing business landscape, whether it’s cancelling an airline ticket, upgrading cloud bandwidth, or learning to use new products.

Last week, Coveo SVP Mike Raley co-hosted a webinar with John Ragsdale, Distinguished VP of Research at the Technology Services Industry Association to help organizations navigate these issues. The webinar, “Help Customers Help Themselves: 3 Digital Self Service Strategies that Work” covered the critical and strategic importance of self service right now and how every service and support leader, with a few tweaks, can enhance their self-service capabilities to see greater ROI and performance.

Watch the replay of “Help Customers Help Themselves: Three Digital Self-Service Strategies that Work.

Why Self Service Matters

John kicked off the webinar by explaining the current state of self service content.

Comprehensive research from TSIA showed that customers overwhelmingly prefer to self serve. One of the common objections to self service is that it’s generational; older customers may struggle with it and receive the “white glove” treatment of a live agent. According to the TSIA 2020 Channel Preference Study:

  • Every generation prefers to self-serve. Seventy-one percent of all respondents agree, including 60% of Baby Boomers, 72% of Gen X, and 77% of millennials and Gen Z respondents.
  • Every region also prefers self service, including customers in EMEA (67%), APAC (71%), Central/South America (87%), and North America (69%).

Organizations have different approaches to assisting customers with self service according to the TSIA 2019 Knowledge Management Survey. More than 9 out of 10 organizations have a search box to assist customers on the self-service site, but the capabilities vary.

  • One-third of organizations report that their knowledge base search only searches the knowledge base.
  • Thirteen percent report using federated search, searching multiple databases.
  • Just 22% use unified search which brings all content sources together into a single index, and 19% apply machine learning to rank results according to relevance.

Personalization, however, is not widely used; 51% of organizations provide real-time suggestions during case creation and only 21% reported providing list of FAQs personalized to the customer.

For more information, download The State of Knowledge Management: 2019.

3 Best Practices for Self Service Success

What does it take to create the exceptional self service experiences that customers expect? There are companies that have mastered the playbook: using data and AI to deliver unified, relevant, and valuable content to their customers in their self service journey. And these investments pay off.

There are three steps to enabling relevant and effective digital customer self service for your customers.

#1 Unify content and journeys. Stitch together knowledge, content and behavior data across silos, systems, and the entire customer journey. Connect the channel silos to create one continuous digital journey, culminating in a customer self service portal.

#2 Be relevant. Go beyond listing results to answer questions and make contextually relevant recommendations. Now that content is unified across the journey, use data analytics, machine learning, and AI to rank content for relevance by understanding the user‘s context and intent.

#3 Improve continuously. Use data about content consumption, gaps, and more to refine your understanding of what customers need from self service. Evolve your content strategy based on demand and usage.

To help every organization achieve this, we’re here to help. With our “Digital Self Service Readiness package,” every organization can gain access to:

  • Coveo for Salesforce Pro – Enable self service features rapidly with free use of Coveo for Salesforce Pro Edition for 90 days, with option to extend.
  • Getting Started Workshop – Define the scope of your project and best practices for getting started in a free workshop.
  • Access to Expert Services – Choose between a Coveo-led implementation or self-led implementation with Coveo guidance.

Get started with your self service readiness package today – sign up at cvo.ai/90days.

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About Rachel Schultz

Rachel Schultz is the Content Marketing Manager at Coveo. She blends her background in journalism seamlessly with her B2B marketing expertise and obsession with data to create compelling content for the Coveo community. When she’s not working, you’ll find her reading (strictly non-fiction), hanging out with her puppy or taking in all NYC has to offer with her husband.

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