• September 7, 2023

62 Percent of Customer Service Handoffs Are High-Effort

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Sixty-two percent of customer service transitions between self-service and assisted channels involve high effort for customers, and less than half of customers who experience a high-effort transition will use self-service again, according to research from Gartner.

The firm defines a high-effort transition as one in which switching channels did not lead to issue resolution. When that happens, the probability of positive customer experience and loyalty outcomes is dismal, Gartner said.

By contrast, a seamless transition between channels is a key driver of positive customer experience outcomes and future self-service adoption.

“Many customer service and support leaders worry that creating easy transitions to assisted channels will undermine their self-service goals,” said Eric Keller, a senior director of research in the Gartner Customer Service & Support practice. “Our research shows the opposite is true: 74 percent of customers who experience easy transitions to a customer service rep say they’ll return to self-service next time.

“Despite resolving their issue in assisted service, these customers are just as likely to use self-service in the future as those whose issues were fully resolved using self-service.”

The survey found that seamless transitions between self-service and assisted channels improve CX across a range of metrics and boost loyalty, but they also save time and resources. In fact, 93 percent of respondents reported high customer satisfaction when there was a seamless channel transition. The survey found customers who experience seamless transitions from self-service to a rep spend 27 percent less time in assisted channels.

In addition, customers who go on multichannel journeys with seamless transitions report less customer effort than the average customer who uses just one channel.

“Multichannel customer service journeys are extremely common, and improving those channel transitions has a material impact on the bottom line,” Keller said. “Seamless transitions save an average of four minutes of costly rep time per customer journey because reps aren’t asking customers to repeat information they have already provided.”

Gartner also found that 88 percent of customer journeys start in self-service touching multiple channels, so customer service and support leaders must recognize that creating seamless transitions between those channels is the key to their digital-first service ambitions.

To create low-effort multichannel journeys, Gartner recommended that customer service and support leaders do the following:

Share customers’ context from self-service with reps. The steps customers take or information they provide in self-service is too often lost if they switch channels, with customers having to repeat themselves. Instead, companies should capture customers’ context in self-service and transfer that information to reps.

Provide prescriptive channel guidance, not just choices. Whether it’s a digital interactive voice response, a case creation tool, or strategically placed chat pop-ups, organizations need to guide customers during channel transitions rather than providing many choices and letting them find their own way.

Make seamless transitions part of the messaging to customers as to why they should start in self-service. Customers will be more likely to try self-service when they know it will be easy to get more support if needed.

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