Customer Experience Trend 1 : Intelligent Self-Service

Posted by Parikshit (PK) Kalra

HGS recently released a white paper on this year’s top 10 trends in customer service. Over the next few months, we’ll dedicate a blog to each of these CX game changers. Here we dissect CX Trend No. 1, Intelligent Self-Service, highlighting strategies designed to reduce the burden on the customer for an improved and more frictionless CX to ultimately drive a higher CSAT and NPS score for your business.

Millennial customers—75.4 million in the U.S. alone—are about to become the most important (and disruptive) customers businesses will ever see. Millennials have surpassed the Baby Boomer generation in size, and are about to control the largest share of wallet, as well. According to Forbes, it’s estimated they will spend $200 billion annually by 2017. They demand effortless experiences—and answers within seconds, not minutes—demanding more intelligent self-service options.

Customer Experience Trends

How will companies support this stepped-up demand for optimized CX? It’s all about intelligent self-service. The solutions are wide-ranging, from website FAQs, how-to videos, peer-to-peer communities, and idea portals, to top tip guides and more. According to a recent McKinsey survey, “such channels are poised to become the gateway and triage medium for all of today’s live telephone contacts,” identifying and solving customer problems without needing any human interaction. Per this survey, in 2015, digital-care channels (such as web chat, social media, and email) accounted for 30% of all their customer-care interactions. By 2020, this number is projected to spike to 48%.

But it’s not enough to just have these self-service channels available to customers. In 2017, customer service professionals will begin to take a smarter, more strategic self-service approach to increase the issue resolution rate. For example, organizations will begin to lead with self-service first, driving customers to a help center, instead of to a 1-800 number.  These team members will increasingly have better tools—including an intelligent self-service system that understands queries, studies patterns, and learns from every customer interaction. All of this self-service will equip companies to provide their customers with the Right Answer Fast®. Using intelligent self-service to reduce customer effort is proactive solutioning that builds on the ability to anticipate customer queries. This Right Answer Fast® delivers on many fronts—optimizing CX today and prepping for an even better CX tomorrow.

To further ground our self-service insights, we asked a few questions of our HGS Solutions & Capabilities expert team member PK Kalra. Here, PK sheds light on current HGS  strategies, and innovations:

Q: Can you provide an example of HGS self-service success?

PK: For the North American market launch of Inkjet and Laserjet printers of a leading Japanese electronics manufacturer, we extended our engagement to include customer service and technical support.

Six months into the launch of email and inbound voice technical support, we drove a dramatic reduction in call volume, with 15,000 to 20,000 fewer calls per month due to the introduction of a self-service portal. While the client ran the program with 145 FTE, we were more efficient, operating with only 62 FTEs. In addition, we have reduced Cost Per Contact (CPC) from $4 to $2.60 and then to $1.60.

The real business transformation for this client has been our implementation of the HGS omni-channel strategy. We are transitioning contact types from traditional email and inbound voice to  website FAQs, virtual chat, a printer self-help portal, knowledge documents and instructional videos for products that generate the most calls. We are creating videos that retailers can host as well.

Q: What challenges did you have to overcome with the development and deployment of the solution ?

 PK: In the design phase, we recognized that reducing customer effort would be the key to a successful solution. With that goal in mind, we designed the self-service solution to make it user friendly and extremely simple to use. Many hours of usability testing went into designing and validating the solution. The challenge was to keep the end-user customer in mind throughout development, and to appreciate and account for interaction differences depending on whether the customer inquiry was a relatively simple frequently asked question, to complex error troubleshooting.

Q: What proven metrics can you share about the solution and the benefits?


The main metric we are most proud of is a 97% resolution rate on the self-help channel. As well, we have seen significant productivity gains. We reduced Average Handle Time (AHT) to 480 seconds (30% improvement) and continue to exceed all service levels.

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