The Future of Intelligent Self-Service Technology

Bill Colleran, AnswerDash CEO interviews CX Expert Shep Hyken to hear his many insights into customer service and learn what trends he predicts for self-service.

I recently connected with CX Expert Shep Hyken to hear his many insights into customer service and learn what trends he predicts for self-service. Check out the interview to see what you can apply to your business! 

Do you think self-service is growing?

Self-service is growing and preferred today, especially among the younger generation. Millennials and anyone in their 30s and 40's would rather get a quick answer. Companies that offer self-service have a great advantage in this regard. The key is companies have to train customers to use the self-service tools they offer.

What does the future hold for self-service technology?

Being able to type into a Google or Bing search “How do I do blank” with the manufacturer name and finding answers - without even having to visit the website. For example, I bought a ping pong table, and the instructions were all in German. I typed into Google the manufacturer’s name… they had step by step instructions in a YouTube video readily available. We will see more of this. I am also seeing more crowd-sourced customer service. Apple has done a beautiful job with this. They offer a forum of question and answers supplied by people already using their products.

What do you see as the difference between desktop service vs mobile service? Are millennials driving a more mobile-centric customer experience?

Part of it depends on what your business does. Most companies need to have a good mobile presence and desktop solution. Whatever functionality you have on desktop needs to be visually acceptable and operable on mobile.

Do you see phone support diminishing over time? Is phone support ever going away?

I don’t think phone support will ever go away, but it is already diminishing. It used to be that phone was the only way you could get support, or some had the luxury of going in-store. Phone support will still be necessary for complicated or difficult support issues no matter how technology advances. There are many types of support today - phone, video, chat, and now chatbots are taking over. Chatbots are learning in real time what customers are asking for. You’re going to see artificial intelligence really picking up.

What key metrics should people use to measure customer experience?

Remember, just because you stop getting phone calls doesn’t mean customers aren’t having problems. You have to know where customers are seeing that friction point; where they need that self-help option. We sit down with a client and ask what are the biggest complaints you are hearing from customers? What amazes me is that companies are having things happen over and over again. Let’s say there are 20 problems. Take a look at the top 3 issues and eliminate or diminish their frequency. Once you get through those three, start focusing on the next ones and then the next ones. The key is volume of requests for support and frequency -- where is it happening? Is there a specific point? If so, diagnose where that particular point is and work on it.

What recommendations would you have for companies looking to up their game in self-service?

I think it depends on context. Find out what your customers are asking for. If you do a survey, people will tell you what they want in general. Focus groups and surveys need to be carefully designed. If you see customers bailing on a particular part of a process or calling in about a particular issue, you can recognize where their pain points are. You really need to take a look at the customer journey and at customer feedback.