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Digital Self Service and customer engagement: guiding customers to their needle in the haystack

By Lisa Sutrick, Managing Director, Communicate Solutions, Pitney Bowes

All too often, businesses will bend over backwards to find the magic, one-size-fits-all solution for better engagement with their customers – both their current audience and potential new ones. Ecommerce platforms and connected devices give businesses an opportunity to be more in touch and interactive with their customers (and vice versa) than ever before. But, being online is an expectation now; everyone’s doing it, and if you’re not, you’re already behind the curve. So, how do you stand out from the competition and do it in a way that further tightens the connection between your business and your audience?

By putting the customer in the driver’s seat.

The Online Dilemma

When buyers have a question about a certain product or service, the expectation is almost always that they can simply whip out a smartphone, plug their query into Google and get everything they need in seconds, right? But, the reality is that finding the information we need is rarely so simple or neat.

Customers will try to engage with a business by visiting their website or trying to navigate customer portals that are seemingly set up to help them, such as dashboards for credit card accounts or insurance policies. But, what if the portal is too hard to find? Either because it looks generic and is easy to gloss over, or the business’ site is too disorganized and hard to navigate or simply does not contain what the customer is looking for.. Or, instead, what if the customer did manage to find the portal but it can’t guide the customer on their journey or recommend certain products or services because it doesn’t – or can’t – retain information about past purchases or interests?

These obstacles pop up far too often and impair the customer’s ability to find or get what they need online. Nearly three-quarters of people (72 percent) prefer getting their answers online, but only around half come away with the answers they actually need. So, how do you reposition your site and customer portals in an intuitive, navigable way that actually yields the information your customers are looking for?

The Digital Self Service Solution

That’s where a digital self service system comes in. By collecting data from customer profiles, past behaviors and transaction histories, businesses can more easily paint a portrait of what a customer’s wants and needs actually are – and then tailor the service accordingly. Whether it’s promoting relevant products to a given customer based on previous purchases, or streamlining online billing services so it’s easier than ever for them to make a payment, a personalised digital self service approach ensures a high level of engagement. That engagement, in turn, drives repeat business – if the customer knows that what they want is valued and remembered, they’ll keep returning to your site.

If normal online queries are looking for a needle in a haystack, digital self service is the guiding hand that brings the customer right to the needle in the first place.

And, this benefits the businesses themselves, too. The more that customers can direct themselves to the answers they’re looking for, the less time and money that a company has to pour into its own customer service needs, helping to reduce call center activity and overall costs.

To learn more about sophisticated customer service solutions, view the webinar “Top strategies for self service success” featuring Pitney Bowes, VerintAspect, and nanorep.

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