Digital self-serve as new #1 goal

How COVID-19 is changing the way enterprise builds its websites and apps.

The global pandemic has presented new challenges for people and organizations alike. For banks and insurers, customer service may be the most important challenge: due to an influx of calls and emails from concerned and vulnerable customers, many call centers are currently overloaded. Post-lockdown, the 1.5-meter economy is expected to provide less space and fewer resources for both call centers and visits to service offices. Now and in the future, this can negatively impact customer experience and sales, while increasing the overall cost of customer service.

Digital self-service to the rescue

The solution to this issue is digital self-service: (potential) customers helping themself digitally, without requesting help from an actual person through, for instance, a call center. For large organizations, the key to digital self-service lies in providing the information customers need to manage their account, to make a purchase, or simply to be put at ease — in an attractive, clear, and accessible manner, and at an optimal point in the customer journey of an app or website.

Adoption of digital self-service is now growing strongly, even among less digital-savvy customers, and it is likely that many customers that have converted from off- to online for service and sales will stick to their new digital channel as the pandemic slowly fades. This offers companies an opportunity to bring their customer journey fully online, thereby preserving existing customer relationships and building new ones that will last until long after the crisis. In addition to boosting satisfaction, it is a way to cut costs. In the financial industry, for instance, digital self-service is far less expensive than a call center call or branch visit. However, bank and insurance websites can be daunting, so customers often end up calling after a failed self-serve attempt.

Suggested Actions for enterprise

Currently, Objectiv’s AI is used by digital product teams of top-3 banks and insurers from the United Kingdom, Spain, Switzerland, and the Netherlands. The Objectiv Workspace offers them a fresh new approach to product development and experimentation by automatically serving Suggested Actions instead of tables of analytics data. One thing banks and insurers had in common before lockdown, was a focus on conversion: after speccing this as a goal (e.g. Increase Sales for Car Insurance), our AI connected to their analytics data to continuously generate Suggested Actions to best improve their website or app for that goal (e.g. place this FAQ on your landing page).

Shaping customer journeys for self-service

Shortly after the spread of the pandemic led to country lockdowns, most of our customers switched their primary goal to digital self-service — as also outlined in a recent interview with one of Objectiv’s founders: ‘Wind in the sails of digital self-service’ (by Emerce, in Dutch). This has allowed our AI to continuously compare the behaviors of people who self-serve with those who contact customer support, helping our customers keep a pulse on their users at a time when conditions can change from one hour to another. The Objectiv Workspace provides simple suggestions to digital product teams on how to better leverage their website’s or apps’ features (content, menu-items, FAQ-items, search engine, chatbot, etc.) to foster customer journeys that end in a successful self-serves.

Accelerating the digital transformation

Particularly during a crisis, customer trust and loyalty are impacted by how they interact with a company. Since March, the digital self-service goal has inspired a 71% increase in Objectiv Workspace engagement, as well as a 39% increase in the number of Suggested Actions executed by our customers. This hints at an acceleration in feature release cycles, further underlining the importance of the digital self-service goal in helping companies shift their customer service channels from offline to online — and to ultimately adapt to the needs of a new world.

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