Apr 01, 2015

By All Means, Help Yourself: Improving Customer Satisfaction With Self-Service Functionalities

By Roman Rusinski

I recently took a mini vacation with my family in the Pocono Mountains, trying to teach my 8-year-old son how to snowboard. While desperately trying to keep his motivation going after a few falls, my mind wandered off trying to figure out whether I had paid my cable bill. A quick look at the company's mobile app put my mind at ease—I had created a "Monthly Recurring Bill Payment" 2 months ago. In a matter of seconds, I was able to get back enjoying my vacation.

Service providers, including cable or telecom companies, are investing heavily in providing web-based as well as app-based mobile enabled self-service functionalities for two major reasons:

  • Customer demand - Instant gratification has changed from a luxury into simply a way of life – where everything is just a 'tap away.' The era of on-demand mobile services has just begun and it is here to stay.
  • Fiscal opportunity – Moving customers from human-based interaction, via call centers or storefronts, to web- or app-based interaction provides major cost reduction opportunities to service providers.

Yossi Abraham's blog entry provided a very interesting insight into the ever-growing demand for mobile connectivity, which delivers a direct conduit for customers' access to services "on-the-go." Services that customers might not have been able to access even in the very recent past, as in my case setting up a recurring monthly bill payment, were not available even a couple of years ago. I logged into my account, quickly provided my financial information, and a couple of finger clicks and swipes later, I was done. Most will agree that a phone call to customer service do the same thing would not have been as quick and as pleasant.

Web self-service is now the most widely used communication channel for customer service, surpassing use of the voice channel for the first time ever.

Forrester's recent study for the top trends in customer service further confirms the growing tendencies of customers. Web self-service is now the most widely used communication channel for customer service, surpassing use of the voice channel for the first time ever. The web channel will only continue to grow and companies will use the communication channel mix as a major business performance indicator. Service providers will also explore new ways of engaging with customers with proactive chat, proactive offers, or proactive content, as well as automation to preemptively diagnose and fix issues with minimal human intervention. Predictive analytics will play a major role in making this happen.

The other driver behind this growing trend is financial motivation. The margin pressure, especially in very competitive cable / telecom business, is an ever-present reality. Reducing the cost of service by increasing the proportion of customer contacts resolved through web self-service is every CIO's objective. The world is going mobile. With explosive growth in smartphones, combined with new machine-to-machine (M2M) and wearable devices, mobile traffic is projected to grow at a 61 % compound annual growth rate, and more and more companies are trying to capitalize on this growth.

Inadequate web self-service experience can slow customer adaptation and result in usage of other communication channels.

In doing so and to keep a competitive edge, customer satisfaction cannot be compromised. Over the past few years, service providers have struggled to deliver effective web self-service because of reasons such as:

  • Customer adaptation - The phone channel or storefront has traditionally been used and for certain demographics continues to be the channel of choice
  • Product complexity - Growing breadth, depth, and complexity of packages, services, and devices

Inadequate web self-service experience can slow customer adaptation and result in them using other communication channels. A recent Gartner study finds that by 2017, only one third of all customer service interactions will still require the support of a human intermediary. There are various ways to increase the probability of a successful web self-service channel implementation, but they all seem to point to these best practices:

  • Providing concise and well-defined content
  • Providing information and services that are easy to find and easy to use
  • Optimizing based on analytics, performance data, as well as customer feedback
  • Certifying accessibility for a variety of browsers as well as for assistive technology for people with disabilities
  • Personalizing the customer experience

Whether in the office or snowboarding in the Pocono Mountains, consumers are demanding complete access to all available functionalities from service providers. Ultimately, the success of Web self-service depends upon the quality and quantity of information available and how easy it is to access.

For more information on how Excelacom can help your business prepare for adopting self-service functionalities, email us at

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Roman Rusinski was the Senior Manager of E-Commerce Program Management for Residential and Business Services at Excelacom. After joining Excelacom in 2003, Mr. Rusinski maintained a proven track record within various leadership positions requiring strategic planning, estimation, forecasting, resource allocation and management skills.

More about Roman

Innovation meets performance.