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Customer Experience
May 26, 2022
xx min read

COVID-19 and the Impact on Customer Self-Service

Lots of elements impact the adoption of new technologies and many of them are predictable to an extent. But the COVID-19 pandemic was a detour that no one saw coming.

In-person interactions began using more and more self-service options. Touchless pay, self-checkout, and ordering your food on a self-service kiosk have become the norm in many businesses. And they aren’t going away any time soon. According to ReportLinker, the self-service kiosk market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 8.6% from 2020 to 2027.

The pandemic changed the way customers interact with brands in many ways, and one of those was in customer service experiences. Gartner said that in 2020 over 40% of customer service leaders experienced an increase in service contact volumes.  This increase in customer support needs led many organizations to begin implementing self-service customer service options to keep up with the demand.

People generally want to solve their own problems before getting involved with a person. In fact, 40% of customers actually prefer self-service over human interaction. This means that businesses aren’t only being measured by what kind of information they provide to customers, but also by how they provide that information.

COVID-19 also impacted the business world by spreading teams out far across the country, and even the world. Once remote work became the norm, many companies became more open to hiring employees outside of their geographical area. That’s what happened here at Heretto.

But with this increase in remote workers came an increase in company knowledge being spread out across multiple digital channels. The need for employee self-service became even more important.

So what do we do with this information? Here are some places to start:

Recognize that market demands have changed

As we said, the how is just as important as the what when it comes to customer self-service. How are you getting your company information out? What channels are you using? What new channels could you be using? A chatbot? A help site?

These changes seem to be here to stay. If your business doesn’t have a robust customer self-service system in place, you could be losing out on potential clients, and dropping the ball with the clients you do have.

Employees need just as much attention as customers

Self-service isn’t just for customers. Employees also need to know where to go to find accurate answers to their questions. As remote and hybrid work becomes the norm, it’s even more vital to ensure that your employees have access to accurate company knowledge.

Unexpected shifts in the ways we approach business will happen

And that’s ok. The real question is what will we do when those shifts happen? How will we adjust to consumer demands? We won’t always be able to see the next world-changing event on the horizon, so it’s important to stay flexible and keep up with business trends.

Structured content can significantly help you make swift changes when the need arises. With structured content, your content is managed down to the granular level. This means that you can update small pieces of content without having to start from scratch on a new document. This enables organizations to pivot quickly.

I’m sure the impact of COVID-19 on consumer habits will continue to be studied for years to come. But we can take the data we do have and use it to make adjustments in the way we approach customer service today.

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