Web Self-Service Best Practices for Improving CX
Author: Mike Desmarais, Founder & CEO, SQM Group
As we all know, today’s connected customers use many different contact channels to resolve their inquiry or problem; however, the website is typically the first contact channel a customer uses either as a stand-alone channel or as their first channel before they use another channel. The website channel is primarily used for finding information, or to log in to resolve an inquiry or problem.
While 43% of customers used a website to log in (i.e., authenticated in order to use self-service) to resolve an inquiry or problem, the majority of customers (57%) used the website for finding information, such as product information and prices. The customers who use the website to find information are the customers who are more likely to use another contact channel to resolve their inquiry or problem. The banking and retail industries have the highest web self-service channel usage by far. The other industries have a very low web self-service usage compared to the banking and retail industries.
Organizations offer website self-service functions for both finding information and logging in so customers can help themselves to resolve an inquiry or problem. When a customer is finding information on the web self-service channel, they are usually looking for information about products, shopping, pricing, services, and travel. When a customer logs in to the web self-service channel, their main activities are checking their bank account balance, paying bills, reviewing or disputing bills or claims, and updating or accessing account information.When it comes to getting quick answers to questions and resolving an easy inquiry, most customers want to use the web self-service channel. Customers really value the ability to use this contact channel anytime, anywhere, and using any device to access the website. As a result of this flexibility, web self-service adoption has shown remarkable growth in the past few years. With the introduction of new web access devices, such as tablets and smartphones, web self-service channel usage will continue to grow. Because of the success of the web self-service channel, most organizations are expanding content information available on their website, as well as options available when logged in. For both finding information and logging in web practices, many organizations are also using the chat channel, and in some cases virtual CSRs, to assist customers by providing answers to their questions and resolving their inquiry or problem.
More details can be found in SQM’s book:
The purpose of this book, One Contact Resolution 2nd Edition, is to help contact center managers use best practices for improving customer experience.
2017 CX Best Practice Award Winner – Web Self-Service – FortisBC
Criteria: This award recognizes the organization that has demonstrated a CX best practice which improved, or helped maintain high first call resolution (FCR) and customer experience (CX) performance.
FortisBC delivers electricity, natural gas, or propane to approximately 1.1 million customers in 135 communities in British Columbia. Together, our gas and electricity utilities deliver over 21 percent of total energy consumed in British Columbia. We are owned by Fortis Inc., a leader in the North American electric and gas utility business.
Their outstanding web self-service performance has resulted in SQM awarding FortisBC with Web Self-Service World Class CX Certification. FortisBC has demonstrated excellence in team collaboration (internally and with SQM) to obtain and act upon customer feedback in order to drive the initial redevelopment and ongoing upgrades. These results have also been substantiated by the E Source review of North American Electric and Gas Company Residential Websites. Of over 100 utility websites evaluated, FortisBC’s website was ranked as second in Canada and 24th in North America.
2016 CX Best Practice Award Winner – Web Self-Service – FedEx Express
Criteria: This award recognizes an organization that has demonstrated a best practice which helped improve, maintain, or provide a positive CX.
FedEx provides so much more than package delivery - we're in the business of serving customers. In fact, we have 300 Customer Representatives serving our customers 24x7 to provide tracking, pick-ups, location information, new account set ups, and payment. And with our contact centers engaging in millions of calls and digital interactions every year in Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver, it's imperative that at FedEx we provide excellent service in a consistent way. Customers are offered self-service options on fedex.ca.
The Virtual Assistant (VA) is an artificial intelligence that is embedded on key support pages on fedex.ca offering customers assistance to navigate the website. Customers can ask questions about FedEx products and services, how to schedule pickups, etc. The VA looks and feels similar to a chat session for the customer, yet it is an automated FAQ tool. The tool has contextual awareness and the ability to see where the customer has been on the website to help guide them to new content as a targeted experience. The VA is embedded on the Contact Us page and offered as a “slide-in” on other web pages to offer customers the choice to ask a question and find quick assistance. Included with the VA is web chat integration providing a seamless way to interact with a live Agent through web chat.
FedEx Express Canada is continually looking for ways to improve the customer experience in all touchpoints across the customer journey. The Virtual Assistant is a tool we are very happy to have seen immediate customer acceptance, and we’re very enthused to learn more as we measure and monitor the increased customer experience on our web channel.
2015 Contact Center FCR Best Practice Award Winner – Web Self-Service Channel – FortisBC
Criteria: There are 15 distinct Best Practice Awards (i.e., Omni-Channel, Web Self-Service, IVR Self-Service, Chat Channel, Quality Assurance Program, Desktop Applications, CSR Recognition Program, Career Development Program, Call Handling Practice, Real-Time CSR Support Queue, Performance Management System, CSR Coaching Program, CSR Training Program, CSR Hiring Process, Standard Operating Practices).
These awards recognize the organizations that have demonstrated they have improved or helped maintain high first call resolution and customer satisfaction performance.
FortisBC delivers electricity, natural gas, or propane to approximately 1.1 million customers in 135 communities in British Columbia. Together, our gas and electricity utilities deliver over 21 per cent of total energy consumed in British Columbia. We are owned by Fortis Inc., a leader in the North American electric and gas utility business.
A project team was formed in 2014 to begin upgrading our secure customer service portal, Account Online. Participants from Communications, Customer Contact Centres, Customer Service Systems and Market Research started working much closer to help focus improvements and deliver a better online experience for customers accessing their natural gas or electricity account.