Customer service organizations need to digitalize and automate simple customer questions. According to McKinsey, customers prefer self-service options for less-complex service requests. As they are used to the immediacy and convenience established by players such as Amazon and Google, they expect the same kind of service from established service providers.

Solving customers’ simple, low-value issues online will free up time to focus on the more complex requests. Online self-service is a great opportunity to provide superior care to your customers and win their loyalty, McKinsey remarks. In short, organizations can gain competitive advantage by balancing the evolving customer expectations with the right level of automation and human interaction.

Evolving customer expectations

Globally, more than 60% of customers call the contact centre after searching for information online. This is an undesirable outcome, considering the constantly evolving customers’ expectations. According to McKinsey, 25 percent of customers will stop trying finding the answer online after just one attempt.

Digital support channels are therefore increasingly the starting point of customer care interactions. According to Forrester, US online adults prefer web and mobile self-service to speaking with an agent over the phone. When customers seek support, they are gradually trying to estimate the complexity of their request. For less complex issues they prefer the immediacy and convenience of online self-service, McKinsey remarks. However, they don’t always find what they are looking for online.

Adapting to a new customer-care landscape

To address customers’ expectations, McKinsey suggests that organizations need to provide the right combination of automated solutions and human interactions. The end result has to be completely automated low-value/complexity interactions and personally handled high value/complexity requests. McKinsey predicts that the volume of live interactions handled by contact centres will remain unchanged. However, their duration and complexity will increase. According to the report, the live interactions are a great opportunity for those able to provide distinctive customer service to differentiate and win the loyalty of their users. For this to happen, customer care executives need to reorient their focus. Shifting from singular day-to-day operations and cost-cutting towards proactively anticipating customers’ demands could help with navigating the new customer-care landscape.

Digitalizing simple questions

The benefits of handling simple customer-care transactions through self-service go far beyond traditional cost saving. It simplifies customer experience, McKinsey remarks. When done right, self-service allows customers to solve their issues effortlessly, and often during the first contact. For reference, it currently takes two interactions on average before customers resolve their support issues, Ovum remarks.

By solving simple issues online, the customer service organizations will be able to free up time and deal with more complex requests.

Using technology to simplify complex questions

To reduce the amount of effort required to solve complex issues, McKinsey suggests equipping your service agents with relevant tools.

One of the important aspects here is making the transition from digital to live support more seamless. A method of doing this is by providing an overview of your customers’ support journey to the agent before the issues begin to be solved. Having a record of customers’ journeys and breakpoints in the digital channels provides more context and can reduce the average handling time(AHT).

With the number of customer-care channels increasing, organizations face new challenges, McKenzie remarks. All too often, their knowledge bases lack consistency. Adopting an integrated knowledge base can help customer care organizations provide consistent answers throughout all touchpoints of the customer’s journey.

Lastly, making it easier for customers to share visuals (pictures or video) with the agents could drastically simplify the explanation of complex hardware issues.

Conclusion

Customers expect quick and convenient resolutions to their less-complex support issues. Therefore, it makes little sense to service simple, low-value support interactions through high-cost customer care channels such as telephone support. McKinsey states that balancing the level of automation with the level of complexity and value of the support interaction holds the key to winning customers’ expectations.