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Use Self-Service To Save Money

Every company would like to reduce the cost of customer service. Migrating service-oriented calls and e-mails to self-service channels is a low-cost, high-impact way to achieve this goal.
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Written by Laura Preslan on

Every company would like to reduce the cost of customer service. Migrating service-oriented calls and e-mails to self-service channels is a low-cost, high-impact way to achieve this goal.

The Bottom Line: A 30% deflection of calls to self-service channels is currently seen as successful, but it could and should be closer to 80% to maximize benefits and cost savings.

What It Means: The average migration rate of calls to self-service channels is 30%. One organization achieved a 75% deflection rate using Web self-service alone. When companies used phone self-service to deal with calls that were not deflected by Web self-service, the self-service migration rate ranged from 37% all the way up to 92%. The Takeaway: Organizations that have combined Web and phone self-service have seen up to a 90% drop in the number of customer interactions that require human intervention.

With an average implementation cost of $360K, organizations saw an average one-year cost savings of more than $880K. Additional benefits include:

  • Headcount reductions
  • Ability to move off of a linear growth path in their contact centers
  • Agents freed up to work on revenue-generating projects such as consulting and telesales
  • Lower attrition rates, as agents are problem solvers rather than script readers
  • More satisfied customers: Interactive Voice Response (IVR) and Web information always available, rather than eight hours per day; the ability to choose the method of interaction with the company, and faster access to information
The Takeaway: Self-service provides significant hard and soft benefits. Based on the Return on Investment (ROI), it is an investment that every organization should consider.

The following factors affect an organization’s self-service success:

  • Phone self-service and Web self-service implemented together
  • High percentage of level-one calls and e-mails
  • High degree of Internet access among customer base
  • Low product complexity
  • High visibility into customer requests
  • Maturity of knowledge management processes
  • Interface design
The Takeaway: The combination of these seven characteristics indicates the percentage of Web and phone self-service interactions that could potentially be migrated to self-service channels.

Conclusion: Every organization should assess its score against the seven self-service criteria to determine the effectiveness of its self-service channels. The scorecard appears in the aforementioned Report.

AMR Research originally published this article on 2 December 2003.

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