Self-service AIs are becoming increasingly sophisticated and able to handle more complex queries. This is good news for customers and contact centres as the formers can access simple information without having to wait for an operator to be available, while the latters can re-allocate the freed-up agents to other parts of the contact centre that need human input.

However, there is a right way and a wrong way to manage self services. Make sure you don’t make those common mistakes or your risk alienating your customers.

  • Making it difficult for customers to talk to an operator

Too often, self-service is seen by companies as a way to reduce the size of their staff and cut costs. Maze-like menus all bring customers back to self-service options, and only the most cunning of them can manage to trick the AIs into letting them talk to another human being! In the process, you will have irritated your customers, so don’t penalise them for using self-service, make sure that your menus always offer the option to speak to someone.

  • Having too many menu options

Sometimes, choice isn’t helpful. Too many options, sub menus, etc… can confuse customers and lead them to choose an incorrect path. This is counter-productive as they may get connected to a department which won’t be able to help them resolve their queries readily, diverting call agents’ time fruitlessly while creating a negative perception of your business in your customer’s mind. So keep it clear and simple.

  • Thinking your Average Handling Time will reduce

It seems logical to think that if more queries are dealt with by AIs, your Average Handling Time (AHT) will reduce and you can downsize your contact centre. Paradoxically, the opposite is more likely to happen. With simple queries being automated, only the more complex ones will reach your staff, which will change your workflow as those are the ones that take more time to resolve. So if you see your AHT increase, this isn’t a sign that something is going very wrong, but just a shift in the nature of your call centre work.

  • Not monitoring how self-service is doing

Don’t forget about it as soon as it is rolled out! You need to make sure that it works for your customers. If you notice high rates of dropping out, you menus may need a rethink.