10 ways to improve your customer self-serve offering



10 ways to improve your customer self-serve offering


Digital self-serve. Everyone wants to achieve it, but few organisations experience the success they hope for.

This article explores why that is, before highlighting 10 simple strategies that almost any company can use to improve their self-serve CX offering and improve their chances of success. 

Why your self-serve investment hasn’t paid off

According to a recent survey of 400 global IT, CX, and business leaders, 65.1% plan to increase CX technology spending by an average of 24%. This is good news insofar as it proves the extent to which companies are prioritising the customer experience as a competitive advantage. 

However, spending on CX technology is not necessarily the same thing as improving the customer experience. Research conducted by communications provider Avaya reported that “at least” 81% of customer experience programs “fail to deliver the expected results”.

In our experience, failure is more common than success, and that’s because too many organisations struggle to take the necessary steps that would make success more likely. As a result, Customer Touch Point is often called in to consult on what’s going wrong and how to improve the situation. 

While the failure is often down to a lack of proper due diligence, most organisations can improve their CX self-serve offering with some combination of the following 10 actions. 

#1: Collect and measure customer feedback

Many companies fail to collect any meaningful data from their customers about the customer journey. One company came to us because their customer contact costs had increased since they had deployed a chatbot. When we surveyed that client’s customers, we found that there was a complete mismatch between customer needs and what the chatbot was set up to do. The client didn’t know this because they hadn’t been collecting any data about the customer journey.

Collecting and measuring customer feedback is vital. There are multiple ways of doing it, from surveying customers directly about their experience to monitoring your customer journey to uncover where customers get stuck and leave the journey. 

#2: Understand your customers’ needs

Unless you gain a real and deep understanding of your customers’ needs, you will find it difficult to choose the right technology capable of answering those needs. Doing this makes it all too likely that you might invest in the wrong tech that fails to help your customers solve their problems in the most effective way. 

Again, surveying customers or conducting some form of CX audit from your customers’ perspective will help you to dig deeper and really understand what customers need from you. This is the most crucial step to building a self-serve customer journey that your customers find genuinely useful.  

#3: Work out how well your existing tech serves those needs

With any new technology investment, it’s important to gather the requirements that your various stakeholders could have, both external and internal. It’s also possible to do this with your existing technology stack. 

Take some simple questions – for example, what your customers want to achieve – and ask them of your existing tech. This way, you should soon be able to come up with a complete list of customer needs and have a good idea of how well your current technology helps them to solve those needs. 

If you’d like more detail on this idea, we explain more in our 2023 Chatbot Implementation Guide, where you’ll see that it applies to all kinds of CX technology — not just chatbots.   

#4: Think about the whole customer journey, not just isolated technologies

Customer journeys are best thought of as a series of interconnected steps and technologies, rather than any single solution. For example, a chatbot cannot work in isolation. Customers must first visit your website in order to find it, and the bot might then direct them to an FAQs page or other helpful content at the end of the interaction. Those FAQs might then offer the contact centre phone number for customers who can’t find the desired answer on that page. 

In other words, no technology solution works in isolation. You must understand how everything fits together, and what the experience of navigating that journey is like for your customers. One of the best ways to do that is by creating a customer journey map

#5: Choose the right technologies and the right channels for your customers’ needs and digital literacy

Having mapped out all your customers’ needs, map those against the technologies you’re considering investing in. Or draft a list of technology providers and then grade them against the list of customer needs you have drawn up following the steps outlined previously. 

Then consider the digital literacy of your customers. More than 1 in 5 of the UK population suffers from low levels of digital literacy, effectively excluding them from most of today’s digital experience – including online customer experience and contact centre channels. 

#6: Think about how you want your customers to feel

Feelings trump logic with any human interaction, and that is true also of customer experience. It’s helpful to look at customer journeys in terms of the emotions within the customer. The more you can stimulate positive emotions such as:

  • Calm
  • Relaxed
  • Engaged

the more you can engage customers and influence them through a self-serve customer journey. Positively engaged customers are far more likely to self-serve than those who are stressed or confused. So take some time to think about how you can create a more emotionally compelling customer journey. 

#7: Remember to gauge the internal needs of the business when choosing technology

As well as mapping out your customers’ needs, you also need to know what your internal stakeholders need from your technology. After all, a solution that your contact centre agents won’t use is next to useless. 

Use the user needs formula to find out what these needs are:


For example:

As a {Head of UX} I want {To know where in the customer journey people are logging off} so that {I can add live contact details to key points in the customer journey}

Do this exercise for all key internal stakeholders, and you will be able to see where your existing self-serve technology doesn’t work for them, and where you might want to upgrade or replace those solutions. 

#8: Don’t try to stop customers from calling

Every single year – without fail – customers prove that telephony is the most popular CX channel – by far. So don’t try to stop people from calling. Make it easier for them to get to where they want to go. Here’s more information on why that’s so important to your self-serve success.

#9: Don’t forget about accessibility

One in four of the UK population has some kind of accessibility skills gap that requires you to accommodate them. It might be poor eyesight or blindness. It might be some form of extreme neurodiversity. It might be partial deafness. 

Whatever it is, you are morally and legally obliged to make reasonable adjustments – otherwise you risk huge fines. Besides which, if you don’t, you’ll be missing out on millions in annual revenues. 

Download our free accessibility guide for more information.  

#10: Focus on ROI, not cost savings

To get an ROI on your self-serve investment, you need to understand why your customers aren’t self-serving the way you expected. The problem is that by using technology to save costs, many companies are alienating their customers, providing poor CX, and thereby increasing their costs. 

It may seem counter-intuitive but it’s true: the single best way to reduce CX costs is to focus on improving the customer experience, as explained in more detail here

Getting self-serve right starts with understanding your customers

At its core, CX is about understanding your customers well enough that you can design customer journeys that solve their problems and answer their queries. To do that, the essential first step is that understanding. If you take the time to really get to know your customers and shape your self-serve customer journeys around that understanding, your self-serve efforts will be much more likely to see success. 

Find out more about how Customer Touch Point has helped hundreds of organisations to improve their self-serve success. 


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