Gauteng Business News

Send  Share  RSS  Twitter  21 Jun 2011

SALES: Is Self-service Helping Business or Driving Customers Away?


Recent Gauteng Business News

In any contact centre the biggest cost will always be the agents who are
required to handle calls and queries. In an effort to reduce this costs many
businesses use self-service technology to enable customers to deal with
certain issues themselves, without the need to speak to a live agent, in
theory reducing the load on agents and helping customers have a better

"However sometimes organisations take self-service technology too far,
having too many options for callers to choose from and not even offering the
option of speaking to a real person. This ends up having the opposite effect
to that which is desired, alienating and irritating customers, degrading the
customer experience and potentially driving customers away from your
business," says Paul Fick, MD of Spescom DataFusion.

For simple queries such as checking account balances, self-service works
well, as customers can get what they require quickly and without fuss.
However more complex transactions may require a human operator and giving
people long lists of possible choices with no option to speak to a person
may be frustrating and may discourage people from calling. It is vital to
find the right balance between self-service and live agent options so that
customer service quality is not compromised and costs can be optimised.

"Self service can satisfy business and customer needs, but only when
correctly designed and deployed so that it is valuable to both parties. To
do this it is vital to partner with solutions providers that have the skills
to leverage available technology in a way which is both practical and cost
effective. The underlying architecture of the contact centre platform needs
to be scalable and able to meet future vision, and applications should
address not only the business goals but the needs of the user as well," says
Saartjie Wait, Avaya Channel Account Manager.

To get the most out of the latest generation of self-service technology, it
is imperative to firstly understand your customers and their demands, as
well as the various self-service options available. How these technologies
interact is important for getting the mix of self-service solutions right.
Secondly optimising self-service solutions that fit today's dynamic
environment can help to meet the changing needs of customers to meet their
current needs. Finally, leveraging self-service as a competitive
differentiator can not only help to improve customer service but can also
give businesses access to important information and insights into their

"At the end of the day self-service is about serving customers better. It is
therefore important for organisations to ensure that they do not get caught
up in saving money at the expense of service quality, and that they find the
right balance to give their customers the most useful service possible,"
Fick concludes.

About Spescom DataFusion

Spescom DataFusion is a Jasco group company. Jasco's core focus is to
deliver integrated business communication solutions that enhance the way
businesses communicate with their customers, leveraging voice, video and
data technologies through its various ICT and Telecommunications business
units. The deep technical expertise and considerable industry know-how
housed in these business units combine to deliver world-class solutions
including integrated contact centre platforms and applications, a range of
voice application technologies, as well as telecommunications, connectivity
and broadcast solutions. At Jasco we are positioned to leverage current and
future technology trends and developments to meet the dynamically shifting

requirements of our customers and ensure their continued competitiveness.

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