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Customers want faster, more efficient, and more personalized service - and more often than not, they want to service themselves. Automated self-service has quietly emerged as the new norm, from interactive kiosks in banks and airports to smart shopping carts to contactless check-in and check-out at hotels. The goal is to empower customers to find the answers they need or to complete a given task on their own - escalating to human interaction only if needed - using AI to automatically tailor the service experience to the individual’s needs.

Studies unanimously show that most customers want self-service technology and prefer self-service over human interaction. Arguably, COVID-19 has accelerated the need for automated self-service as strained customer service staff deal with a barrage of complex and time-consuming inquiries. According to KPMG, the number of companies investigating automated self-service technologies has increased by 15% since February 2020 when the crisis first hit.

Top applications of automated self-service (and the business case for each)

Conversational AI: Companies can automate a large portion of incoming chat and/or voice traffic by using an AI-powered virtual assistant that can intelligently interact with customers, helping with any number of inquiries that otherwise take up valuable employee time. These virtual assistants are no different than voice-enabled smart devices like Amazon Echo and Google Home, which over 25% of U.S. consumers now own. Besides the clear benefit of increased productivity, companies can generate insights from key words or phrases to identify new revenue and retention opportunities (i.e. the past 300 callers who used the phrase “XYZ” were looking for ABC) as well as to uncover customer intent and sentiment. Overall, the conversational AI market is set to experience a CAGR of 30% between 2019 and 2024.

Intelligent knowledge database: A recent study from Coleman Parkes found that 91% of customers would use an intelligent self-service option like a knowledge base if it were available to them. Knowledge base articles can include “how to” information (i.e. how do I make a balance transfer?), educational information (i.e. what is workforce optimization?) and company-specific information (i.e. what is XX’s return policy?). These articles can be programmed to automatically appear in the context of the service journey. For example, if a customer is on a bank’s landing page for credit cards, a screen pop can automatically appear in real-time with knowledge base articles on how to apply for a credit card and other relevant information.

Self-authentication via voice biometrics: By recognizing a voiceprint, the system saves time that the customer would normally spend answering verification questions while improving business efficiency and costs. It’s estimated that organizations can save up to $10 per call when voice biometrics is applied. For a large, global organization where requests for support are high, this can translate into substantial savings while maintaining compliance, security, and customer satisfaction.

How companies are succeeding with automated self-service

There’s a lot to consider with automated self-service. It isn’t something you can “set and forget,” and not all self-service automation tools are created equal. You also have to carefully think about what types of activities you can (or more importantly, should) transition over to self-service. There’s also a great deal of data management and consolidation that goes into making automated self-service work seamlessly (the more massive data sets get and the more that’s needed to understand them, the more difficult it becomes to organize and manage everything).

A strategic technology partner is crucial for navigating the complexities of automated self-service. Servion offers an end-to-end, personalized, vendor-agnostic approach that helps companies adopt automated self-service in a way that makes sense for them. Here’s how our customers are benefiting:

  • A leading international bank in the UAE turned to Servion to design and develop an intelligent self-service application that includes promotional messages, multi-lingual support, caller identification, card activation and more. The automated self-service system has measurably reduced wait times, improved communications, and reduced time-consuming transfers and re-routes.
  • Servion helped North America’s leading telecom service provider reduce operational costs and improve service experiences with an AI-powered IVR. The solution can determine wait times in the call queue, predict customer intent based on information gathered through questions in the IVR, and intelligently authenticate customers.
  • A leading bank in Malaysia used Servion to start automating collections, card operations, and fulfillment - increasing throughput by 400%, reducing FTE by 69%, reducing processing time by 34%, and saving up to $600k annually.

Automated self-service is becoming a permanent fixture in today’s new reality of customer experience. Now’s the time to get on board, and a strategic technology partner is your best bet for doing so. Servion is here to help. Talk to our automation specialists today.

About the Author

Laurent Philonenko

Laurent is the Group CEO of Servion and its group companies. With 30+ years of experience, he served in leadership roles across Avaya, Cisco and Genesys. Laurent finds his zen moments by running and biking. His passion for the culinary arts also keeps him enthused in the kitchen.