self service customer experience

Why Consumers Hate Self-Service And What Your Contact Center Can Do About It

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As contact center managers, we’ve heard a lot about how Millennials and Generation Z love solving their own customer service issues. And while that may be true for some, when it comes to getting problems and questions resolved, the majority of consumers still aren’t into the DIY method.

According to our 2017 Customer Experience Transformation Benchmark Report only 33% of consumers say they prefer self service options over direct agent engagement via phone, email, or chat. And just 39% say they are satisfied with the overall customer experience of these channels.

Of those who do prefer self service, the most popular channels were visiting a company’s website, using an interactive voice response (IVR) system, and engaging with a mobile app. In terms of satisfaction, we found that consumers are most satisfied with websites, then mobile apps, followed by IVRs, which scored the lowest in overall satisfaction among all channels.

Self Service Dissatisfaction

The biggest complaints about interactive voice response software is that it is too slow, don’t always resolve an issue, and can be confusing. When it comes to websites, consumers say they’re often cumbersome to navigate and generally frustrating to engage with. As for the trend of companies developing helpful mobile apps, customers said they often don’t even bother downloading them and feel they’re not interactive enough.

Also interesting were consumers’ thoughts on virtual assistants. They said virtual assistants did not offer much more value than a website and are generally slow and awkward to engage with. Customers are also skeptical of home electronic assistants, like those being offered from some of the planet’s biggest technology companies, mostly because they’d rather speak with a human being and still have privacy concerns about these systems.

It could be argued that some of these critiques of self service systems may be related to customer expectations going into a problem-solving scenario. For instance, 87% said they expect companies to direct them to the method of communication that will resolve their quandary in the quickest way possible. With self service options, it’s uniquely on the customer to resolve the matter, which may take some extra time. That’s not to say that self-service options still aren’t important, as 83% say they’re more willing to do business with a company that provides multiple ways to communicate with them and work toward solving their issue.

How to Improve Self-Service

In terms of how contact centers can improve their self service systems, consumers in our study provided some guidance. Websites, for instance, should be responsive and include more information. Consumers want IVRs to be easier to use and faster. As for mobile apps and virtual assistants, they need to generally be improved, our consumers say, and much less automated.

It’s not all bad news for self service channels either. A majority of consumers find websites, mobile apps, and chat bots to generally be convenient ways to quickly resolve customer service issues. Not only that, but consumers trust these avenues to keep their personal information secure. And when asked about a recent first-contact resolution customer experience, the aggregate percentage score of self service systems actually slightly outranked agent-assisted experiences, 81% to 80%.

There’s no question customer service is rapidly evolving, and there will continue to be growing pains as we adapt to the changing preferences of consumers. Self-service options are still a critical and valued piece of the overall puzzle, but, like so many aspects of our work, they can always get better. As more companies move toward automated approaches for contact center experiences, they must think about how technology can enhance human engagement and not become a substitute for it.

To learn more about how to improve self-service, including your IVR,  in your contact center, download the full report today.