To keep pace with customer expectations and competitors, many customer service and support leaders increase the number of customer service channel options — hoping too that these digital options will displace costlier live contacts. These strategies aren’t paying off.
Gartner research finds 56% of service leaders are adding new channels or features within their existing channels, but customers are still calling for live support — adding cost and complexity to service operations.
The problem: Leaders depend on self-service and digital channels to solve customer problems without a clear approach.
More choice, more use
Gartner research finds that the more channels a company operates, the more contacts customers make to the service centre. Instead of simplifying service, greater access to more channels just complicates the problem-resolution journey. Those customer journeys resemble spider webs, with customers switching easily and frequently between channels.
“The good news is that channel switching does not appear to be hurting customer loyalty as much as it did in the past,” says Devin Poole, Senior Director, Gartner. “The bad news is that it is definitely hurting organisations and their costs because while customers are using newly added self-service channels, they haven’t stopped using more expensive live channels.”
Since its inception, self-service has had the potential to handle the vast majority of live calls. Based on studies of more than 8,000 customer journeys, Gartner finds that 70% of customers are using self-service channels at some point in their resolution journey. Unfortunately, only 9% can fully resolve their issues via self-service channels.