Analysis

More Self-Service Options For Your Customers

Do you like waiting in long queues? Or sitting on hold for hours on end? Of course, no one does – but as you read this article, this is exactly
07 Jun 2020 14:48
More Self-Service Options For Your Customers
Customer self-service is now the way to go.

Do you like waiting in long queues? Or sitting on hold for hours on end? Of course, no one does – but as you read this article, this is exactly what’s happening to the customers of thousands of organisations around the world!

As the COVID-19 pandemic has forced businesses to shift operations, cancel services, and in some cases temporarily close altogether, contact centres are being inundated by irate customers. Long call wait times don’t just increase customer frustration and lose repeat business – they also overload contact centre employees and result in escalating service costs.

We are fortunate that in Fiji the virus is largely under control for now, and, unlike many other countries that have been hit hard, most in-person service centres like EFL, Banks, LTA, FNPF, telecom service providers, and local town councils are open for business.

But if, God forbid, a second wave of COVID-19 should hit Fiji, how many of these agencies have a back-up plan? How could customers carry out transactions without leaving their homes, waiting in queues, and unnecessarily exposing themselves and their families to disease?

Researchers expect that COVID-19 will rapidly accelerate sustained and long-term investment in self-service channels like customer portals and apps.

What are the benefits of self-service channels?

  • Most customers prefer to use self-service options for basic transactions. Online transactions save precious minutes of your day, as you can pay bills, make bookings, and transfer funds from the comfort of your desk or home, without battling lunch hour traffic and visiting multiple agencies.
  • Diverting basic transactions to self-service channels frees up customer service agents to devote more time to more complex queries, improving customer satisfaction.
  • It costs between 15- 20 times less to handle an inquiry via self-service than it does by a live agent.Thus, the initial investment of developing a service portal will often pay for itself over several months or years.
  • For all the above reasons, self-service options are increasingly perceived as a standard business requirement, not a frill or luxury. The smartphone generation- Fijians now in their teens and early twenties- are coming into the workforce and they have grown accustomed not only to online social networking but now online studies. To keep up with the times and retain customers, businesses need to invest in quality self-service channels now.

What could this look like for my business or organisation?

  • Consider the diverse but routine needs of your customers and design self-service channels to meet those needs, with the aim to reduce wait times. This might initially mean setting up self-service kiosks on site and redirecting customers who are physically waiting in line.
  • Look for opportunities to have customers send service requests over lower-cost channels like email or social DMs for simple requests. These are easier to queue and prioritize without the customer having to call in.
  • If phone contact is required, enable call-backs and virtual queuing – don’t make a customer listen to hold music for hours on end!
  • Technology Teams or IT Service Providers must work with customer service departments to ensure they have the right tools for call deflection and service management. These include ticketing and triage systems, but also increasingly platforms for service knowledge management, self service, and live chat (chatbots).
  • If you are looking to develop a new service channel, your technology team needs to focus on quick wins and vendors with rapid deployment timeframes – again, now is not the time for lengthy, expensive enterprise application deployments.

The introduction of the Pacific Regional Regulatory Sandbox guidelines by Alliance for Financial Inclusion (AFI) in partnership with the Reserve Bank of Fiji is one initiative that enables businesses and investors to come up with innovate fintech solutions.

This also “allows central banks to collaborate to encourage potential solution providers and innovative to experiment and test their prototype innovative financial services in a live environment”.

Feedback: rosi.doviverata@fijisun.com.fj



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