Dominate the digital customer experience by adding self-service options like customization tools.

A European telecommunications company found that 70 percent of existing customer-service contacts could be delivered through digital solutions, and automation lowered their unit’s costs by 30 percent with no loss of revenue, according to McKinsey & Company. Self-service, or e-care, options have long existed in industries like banking, but they’ve been slower to be adopted by other industries.

self service options

But how many customers actually want self-service options? Best-selling author Steven Van Belleghem found 70 percent of consumers expect a self-service option for handling commercial questions and complaints. He warns it doesn’t preclude the need for a personal solution. If the self-service solution falls short for the customer’s need, a personal contact is a necessity to give the necessary support.

Customization tools

Most think about self-service as offering an online chat option or browsing through FAQs. While both are useful tools, self-service can provide an in-depth way for customers to pinpoint their needs and create a free sample. For example, Apple Rubber, a manufacturing company, provides an online o-ring gland calculator for customers to narrow down features they need including the percent of compression and stretch, bore and piston diameter before exporting it all to a convenient PDF.

Customers can also request free samples directly through the site before purchasing large quantities. Though it costs Apple Rubber upfront to offer the samples, it saves both the manufacturer and their customers valuable time on any miscommunication or potential issues. In the long run, free samples can dramatically reduce costs. Automating the sampling process also tells customers you’re serious about their satisfaction and gives you deeper data insights into what they need and what’s working in the digital customer experience.

Online service and delivery

The entire concept of your business could shift into a self-service company. For example, Uber revolutionized the concept of the sharing economy. Anyone with a car who passes Uber’s requirements and tests can start offering rides to earn extra money. Meanwhile, passengers can find quick rides in their area, often at a fraction of the cost of a cab company. Customers can log into the Uber app, request a ride, see where their driver is, cancel a request or send more details to the driver.

Instacart offers a same-day grocery delivery service at a handful of retailers including Whole Foods. Customers log in, select what they want from a robust grocery list, locate recipes and add the items to their cart instantly, and make special requests to their shopper. The shopper can call with suggestions and everything is ready and sent to the customers door within two hours. Both businesses allow customers to store their billing info and conduct the transaction, including tipping, through the site or app to further simplify the process.

Omnichannel support

Customers want more than just multiple channels where they can email, call or chat with your company online. Instead, offer an omnichannel solution where customers can file a help ticket on an particular issue and pick up exactly where they left off in an online help chat and then again if they pick up the phone. Consumers are looking for a streamlined digital experience that follows them to every channel until their issue is resolved. Some companies like Genesys offer omnichannel support and cloud-based call centers to keep your customers’ experience cohesive and smooth.