Technology should simplify our lives, not complicate them

Consumers expect technology to add value, and make aspects of their lives easier, faster, or better in some way. This expectation holds true when it comes to getting customer service as well. Customer care professionals should aim to leverage technology that will deliver the customer service experience that consumers expect. Dena Skrbina outlines five key pillars of intelligent self-service that make the consumer experience simple and effective.

Technology is changing our world. Specifically, consumer adoption of technology is shifting the way people manage their lives and, consequently, the way they expect to manage their relationships with businesses.  Unfortunately, too many technologies are introduced into people’s lives that promise to simplify but actually present complexity. That’s just wrong. Technology should adapt to people rather than the other way around.

If you’re a customer care leader, providing self-service solutions that actually simplify the way your customers get service is an enormous challenge. The technology clearly exists, but where to start?

I attended a webinar yesterday titled “Self-Service Meets Multichannel Support”.  There were four solid presenters all with complimentary views on what’s important. Nuance’s own Amy Livingstone provided a distillation of what technology should do for consumers. Amy described “5 Pillars” that extracted the essence of a new generation of intelligent self-service.  Converting the key aspects of intelligent self-service into 5 digestible components should help organizations take on the task of providing the service that every consumer now expects.  Here they are:

  1. Intelligent first point of contact.  Does your self-service solution recognize your customers?  Can you quickly understand why they’re contacting you and determine the best way to support them depending upon their goal?
  2. Natural interactions that feel almost human-like. Do you allow your customers to tell you what they need and accomplish their objectives in a natural, conversational way or do you require them to mold themselves to your system’s requirements?
  3. Personalized, predictive self-service. Can the system really understand and anticipate the unique needs of each individual caller or user of the system?
  4. Contextually aware. Intelligent systems have a memory of prior interactions and use that to influence the current interaction that’s now happening.
  5. Consistent experience across channels. As your customers use various self-service touch points, ensure consistency and an experience that is connected, even if the channels are not.  Each system should act as a brand ambassador, with a goal of making self-service easy.

Delivering self-service that meets the qualifications outlined above will provide consumers with an experience that meets, and often times exceeds, their expectations. Do you have additional suggestions for valuable self-service? Let me know in the comments below.

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Dena Skrbina

About Dena Skrbina

Dena Skrbina is Solutions Marketing Director for the Nuance OnDemand Speech/IVR and Multi-Channel Virtual Assistant Platform. Dena is passionate about IVR and has spent her career focused on contact center solutions with a single goal: to improve the customer experience. Her attraction to this decades-old technology is simply this; consumers don’t like IVR. Or, to clarify, they don’t like *bad* IVR. Having spent her 25-year career designing, programming, and marketing innovative contact center apps for some of the world's leading companies, she is dedicated to ensuring customers have a positive experience with IVR. Previous to Nuance, Dena held positions at BeVocal, Tellme Networks, Edify, Aspect Communications, and VMX Inc. She received her B.S. in Computer Science from National University. Dena programmed her first IVR in 1989 and has never looked back.