Self service in contact centres is continuing to grow, driven by the convenience for customers and cost savings for the contact centre, with figures from Dimension Data showing that self-service transactions typically cost £2 compared with £17 for each human agent transaction.
According to Dimension Data’s 2008 Global Contact Centre Benchmarking Report, 31 per cent of all inbound transactions are completed via a self-service channel, of which interactive voice response (IVR) and web are the leading channels. Ten years ago, 90 per cent of all inbound transactions were completed by a human agent whereas today they account for just over 50 per cent of all inbound transactions.
Paul Scott, director, Dimension Data, said, “A well-executed self-service application can redirect inbound call pressure to a more suitable channel for routine and regular inquiries. And if organisations ensure that it works well, they have a winning combination. A successful self-service transaction is only 15 per cent of the cost of a human agent call. Employing self-service applications provides a staggering cost benefit to organisations, simultaneously freeing up agents to deal with more complex and emotive inquiries.”
However, the report points out that the cost of getting it wrong is significantly higher than getting it right. Customer expectations, increased complexity of enquiries, and highly-dynamic environments are just some of the considerations that impact a successful self-service offering. The impact on customers should not be underestimated, making it important to assess which transactions can be automated quickly and easily in order to give the best customer experience. In addition, the report advises contact centre managers to remember that the ultimate goal is to increase usage, keep customers coming back, and to save costs.
Paul Scott said, “The contact centre industry is fast approaching the time when it will no longer be able to manage the volume of demand from customers. To retain these customers and save costs, it is vital that contact centres move simpler, routine transactions to well-designed self-service channels.”
Copies of the 2008 Global Contact Centre Benchmarking report can be bought from www.ccbenchmarking.com. Housing Technology readers should quote ‘HT.1’ when ordering the report to receive a 15 per cent discount.