How Good Is Your Customer Service?
7. What is the optimum Web self-service rate?
Answer: c) 90 percent to 100 percent
Gianforte defines a Web self-service rate as the percentage of visitors to a Web site who find the answer to their inquiry and/or problem and don’t have to phone or send an e-mail to your customer service representatives. It’s an effective measure of your Web customer service capabilities. He advises marketers to aim for percentages in the high 90s. “The number of e-mails you get is actually an indication that, in fact, someone couldn’t find an answer [on your Web site],” he explains. “The more e-mails you get, the worse job you did on Web self-service. So the first thing you want to measure is your Web self-service rate, and we typically express that as [the number of] e-mails as a percentage of the total number of site visitors.”
Gianforte suggests using either an integrated solution or using your Web logs to gauge the number of e-mails and determine your self-service rate. “If your self-service rates are only 50 or 60 percent, that means 40 percent to 50 percent of the people coming to your Web site can’t find their answer, so you’re training them to send you e-mails or call you on the phone,” he says. Worse still, they may turn to your competitor. “It’s not until you get well north of [an] 80 percent self-service rate that you build a [customer] following.”
To boost self-service rates, Gianforte advises marketers to think through their Web user interface. “There is a strategy about designing the right level of touch and understanding the cost model associated with it,” he says. “But the most important thing is to come at this from the customer perspective.”
For instance, don’t include just your telephone number on your “contact us” page; rather include all the customer contact options: telephone, e-mail and live chat. “Every option other than the phone is going to be less expensive and might actually be able to answer the customer’s question faster,” he points out. If your margins are very tight, however, you may lean more toward Web self-service or e-mail and restrict the phone number to areas of the Web site where it’s warranted, such as the order placement page. But it’s essential to put contact information at the point of need. “If there’s a page that would logically lead someone to ask a question, that’s where it ought to be,” Gianforte concludes.