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As more organisations invest in advanced technologies and customers demand easier communication methods, self-service is fast becoming a necessity in customer service

The rise of artificial intelligence and the disruption it’s initiating to all industries and individuals is a topic that cannot be escaped. Whilst some doubt over these technologies is present, the vast majority understand the impact it can have and one area where this is really being felt is in customer service operations, says Aspect Software.

Within the contact centre, artificial intelligence is powering ways of customers communicating through self-service channels. This includes the likes of automated responses on social media platforms, interactive voice response over the phone and chatbots that intelligently interpret a query and provide an appropriate response.

Stephen Ball, Senior VP Europe and Africa at Aspect, comments: “At the same time as organisations battling to keep apace with advancing technologies, they’re also experiencing increased demand from customers on new ways in which to communicate.

“More people are turning to social media, webchat and text when they need to interact with a brand as these are the systems they are comfortable with and use on a day-to-day basis. Customers now want to communicate with organisations across a broad spectrum of channels and at a time that best suits them, meaning businesses need to adapt to this trend to ensure their channel choices meet this need. Self-service technologies enable this and also avoid long waiting times.”

Contact centres need to develop a robust self-service platform that employs modern technology. However, in order to deliver an effective and improved experience, it’s crucial that organisations integrate these technologies as part of a wider strategy. They should consider how elements such as natural language processing are key to chatbot success as an example.

In addition, despite the myriad technologies available today for contact centres, communicating with businesses can still be a frustrating experience for customers and while self-service technologies aim to alleviate this frustration, they can sometimes aid it, if not implemented as an omni-channel tool.

Stephen Ball explains: When it comes to self-service, organisations often implement and operate the self-service channels in silos. This makes it difficult for customers to change between channels as they’re faced with having to repeat themselves – one of the most frustrating experiences with contact centres.

“Self-service technologies are improving customer service, for both customers and organisations. However, it’s important that organisations remember that customers expect the same level of service across all channels offered by one brand and as such, it’s imperative that when deploying any new technologies into the contact centre, they are considered as part of an omni-channel strategy.

“Organisations that are implementing self-service communications across the board will have realised the benefits of this to their customer relationships and therefore have a huge advantage over their competitors,” concludes Stephen Ball.

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