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Three Digital Self-Service Improvements to Make in 2023

Drive more usage of intelligent search and virtual assistants by improving the user experience.

The digital revolution has made our lives easier by offering more opportunities for self-service. However, customers are still willing to pick up the phone or call in to speak with a real person if they think that will help them find what they need faster. So, while we can make it easier for them to find information on their own, we also have to ensure that they understand how to use digital self-service tools and feel confident doing so. As you read, remember that the tactics may vary based on your organization’s needs and resources but the strategy should remain the same – center the user in any decision that you make.

Keeping people from picking up the phone requires that you look at and address the key reasons they would avoid or abandon digital self-service options in the first place.

Self-service is less expensive, and faster, and results in more satisfied and loyal customers – when it’s done well. People will pick up the phone when they’re not getting the information they need fast enough, if they don’t know how to use a feature, or if they don’t trust the artificial intelligence powering the experience. The lack of trust can come from inaccurate information being shared, technical glitches, or even a visual interface that doesn’t look like it’s truly a part of the site or app that they’re using. The more time that it takes someone to find what they’re looking for, the more time that they have to get confused, frustrated, and lose trust. Your objective should be to get them what they’re looking for as quickly as possible.

The first recommendation is actually for an improvement outside of the digital self-service tools: ensure that your site navigation offers simple and intuitive paths into things like intelligent search and intelligent virtual assistants. If you want people to use the tools, you need to make them impossible to miss. Once they’ve found what you want them to use:

Make it easy to activate the digital self-service options

Once someone sees the digital self-service tool as an option, you’ll want to ensure that from the first moment that they engage with it, things go smoothly. Their first interaction with intelligent search or an intelligent virtual assistant should be as easy as possible. An investment in technology that enables natural conversations is critically important. Someone should be able to type “hi” or “when are you open” and immediately be greeted with an appropriate and accurate response. You’ll want technology that enables that, and conversational AI that is constantly learning and making improvements to keep up with the way that people want to communicate. 

Keep responses consistent and accurate across channels

When someone asks a question, make sure that no matter where they ask that question, they’re getting the right information. That means that the architecture of your digital self-service options has to have a way to control for consistency in the information being pulled to respond to requests on the web, in-app, or even through SMS. A simple way to do this is with something like the Unified Knowledge Model™ which centralizes and indexes your content to make it fast and easy to return accurate responses, consistently, across channels.

Another layer of complexity when building digital self-service tools is that in industries that use highly specialized terminology and jargon, it can be tough to return contextually relevant responses. For instance, someone asking about a “dish” will mean something different to a restaurant, a home goods company, and a telecom company.  Making use of industry-specific conversational models can be a smart way to ensure that your customers are always getting accurate and contextual information.

Make the experience feel trustworthy

When someone is looking for information from you, they’re likely going to be wary if they are guided to a digital self-service tool that doesn’t look like it’s a part of your website. Some intelligent virtual assistant and intelligent search vendors make it difficult to build the tools into client sides in a way that makes them feel like a cohesive part of your brand rather than a third-party add-on. Look for an option that allows you to customize the color scheme and branding for a seamless online experience so people feel like they’re connecting directly with the source of the information they’re looking for.

Using these recommendations as a guide can help get your digital self-service to a place where it’s less expensive, and faster, and results in more satisfied and loyal customers in the new year.

Contact us to discuss how we can help any size business launch Conversational AI experiences that people want to use.

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