Why do customers pick up the phone instead of using the self-help tools available?

Sometimes it feels Telnet is a victim of our own success: we make it so easy for our callers to get stuff done over the phone instead of using the Online or App tools our clients provide that these tools are under-utilised. Customer interactions by phone or email are more expensive for our clients than these tools, and harder to provide consistently when there are unexpected spikes in interaction volumes. 

What can our clients do to change this behaviour? How can Telnet help? 

One of the key things customers tell us is that Online tools, webforms, mobile apps etc need to provide a customer experience that’s consistent with established phone and email channels. The way we get a request or question should align with how a customer may interact with these digital platforms. Terminology should be the same. 

We love it when our existing clients come to us in the early stages of building a self-help solution. We already know how customers approach us in the existing channels we serve; the language they use, what they expect, and the pain-points they have. 

That consistency can be reinforced with our ContactSuite and SenseIQ tools: ensuring our CSRs not only deliver a co-ordinated customer experience, but can advocate and promote self-help tools to anticipate a customer’s future needs.Simple tasks should have the same steps and requirements no matter the platform. More complex issues should be directed to the most appropriate communication channel for resolution. 

Of course – the ‘special sauce’ that a phone call can deliver and that other digital platforms do less well at, is the personal touch – the “phatic communion” – (“How’s it going?”. “Good thanks – how are you?” etc)  which many customers value. Self-help platforms won’t deliver that kind of experience until we have virtual agents on our phone lines (something we’re looking at right now!). 

The key way current self-help solutions can support the value Telnet adds in a person to person call is to be accessible, ready and available 24/7 to complete the common tasks a longer (and more expensive) phone call is not needed for – freeing up live agents to resolve more complex issues when they arise. 

It’s also important not to “experiment” with a self-help solution which the customer doesn’t succeed with the first time they use it. It must work first time – or the customer will pick up the phone, fire off an email or take to social media platforms instead (or all three!). It’ll be much harder to get that customer to try self-help again – no matter how many future iterations of the tool improve it’s usability.

Written by – David Stott