01 – Simple online tools
Customer experience drives brand loyalty. You might not consider self-service to be highly interactive or involving but when it gets the job done, and gives back time to the customer, this will be a satisfying experience. By making more things achievable online, businesses can also free up phones and focus on those most in need.
Branchless UK bank, First Direct, achieved top customer experience ratings in 2020 across all industries and sectors, with 83% of customers recommending its overall service and online and app offering. In fact, it has been topping customer advocacy polls ever since it was first launched in 2009.
Its branchless digital/telephony approach demonstrates that through remote/ self-service contact, with simplicity and speed of service, customer satisfaction can be gained.
This approach speeds things up for organisations too. Alex Cook, a Director at EQ’s case-management business, EQ Toplevel, reflects on a face-to-face appointment booking system delivered online for the UK Passport Office:
“Self-service appointments reduce the need to allocate staff to the function by using secure web-based diaries to record self-service bookings, handled alongside staff-made appointments to prevent double bookings.”
Valuable time has been freed up for teams at the Passport Office, and the technology is adaptable too. Easily configurable web-based tools allow the service to flex in changeable times. Alex continues:
“We’ve been able to extend the solution to accommodate appointments covering British embassies and consulates worldwide, including video-based appointments in times of Covid, allowing us to handle roughly one million appointments annually on behalf of the Passport Office.”
03 – Join-up and collaborate to help the vulnerable
Covid has shown us what companies are capable of in terms of serving a greater good when faced with adversity. Some experts predict a long-term rise in corporate collaborations, even amongst those previously viewed as competitors, in order to meet the challenges of the future.
One such example is the Death Notification Service (DNS). Any customer experience is heightened if an individual is experiencing tough times and/or is in a state of vulnerability. In dealing with the estate of the deceased, bereaved individuals will need to contact many businesses and organisations and repeat multiple painful conversations.
The Death Notification Service (DNS) provides a self-service portal, where an individual will only once need to inform the online service of the passing of their loved one. The service then acts as a conduit; informing all the other parties (such as banks and building societies) to allow the relevant administration to be actioned.
There is a real need for businesses to treat these individuals with integrity and allow them privacy. Self-service can help.
EQ partners with UK Finance to provide this service (which is free to consumers) and the initiative has been well received. Since its launch in 2019 the DNS has cut out the need for 75,000 phone calls or visits to branches and in 2020 to date, 27,643 people have used it to make 65,903 notifications to the members companies (end July 2020) saving an estimated 12,500 hours.
Projected usage of the service is expected to increase significantly to receive notifications of 20 percent of all UK deaths by the end of 2020 and the service itself has potential to evolve way beyond the financial sector.
Whatever our situation, we all share an appreciation for companies and organisations who can help us quickly, valuing those companies who allow us straightforward interactions with them. Businesses and organisations can work together to make things a little easier for the vulnerable.
Looking to the future
In this time of consumer need, making the most of self-service is a must, as customers increasingly expect an effortless service across all their interactions.
Improving the digital experience in this way helps the end user and benefits organisations in both the short and long-term. Of course, there’s no substitute for the human touch at certain moments in a customer’s journey, but the individual’s ability to drive their own outcomes is becoming a prerequisite.