Best Practices for Web Self-Service User Interfaces
5. Offer Multichannel Choice
Offering a unified experience across multiple channels is not only important to the customer
experience but can also have an impact on your bottom line. Consider the nature of each channel when
determining how it can be used most effectively. Consider the following recommendations:
Web self-service. Directing interactions that are low in complexity but high in volume to Web self-
service will result in high self-service rates. Customers will be able to resolve their problems quickly
and effectively, and the organization will be able to build the customer relationship while
significantly lowering costs.
Community. Leveraging the collective intelligence of customers enables the organization to provide
a whole new dimension to supplement Web self-service. It may be surprising how willing customers
are to help their peers and collaborate on problem-solving, especially because this is frequently done
with minimal involvement from the supervising organization. Community functionality is also
perfectly suited for high-volume, low-complexity issues.
Chat. This channel provides a powerful way to either penetrate customers’ thought process through
a proactive notification or more passively provide a helpful channel for customers to engage in when
they are ready. Real-time interaction with customers provides an effective way to improve sales by
engaging customers who are on the verge of abandoning a shopping experience. In addition, it can
engage other high-value customers who have been identified with behavior targeting or other
Phone. Although this channel is the most expensive, it also provides unparalleled FCR rates. High-
complexity, low-volume problems are best suited for this channel.
E-mail. This communication channel allows for asynchronous communication between customer
and organization. This style of interaction is useful for low-priority, low-complexity issues and
provides the customer with the ability to respond when it is most convenient.
Assisted browsing. Although not strictly a support channel in itself, the ability to directly take
control of the user’s computer can greatly reduce handle time in both the chat and phone channels.
This mechanism also assists in achieving optimum FCR rates.
Click to call back. This is not strictly a channel in itself, but it enables a customer to schedule a call
at a convenient time rather than wait on hold. Caution should be used to make sure that this feature
is offered in customer-centric, not organization-centric, terms. The organization can realize
scalability benefits by using this approach to flatten the peaks and valleys of incoming call traffic.
To offer true multichannel choice, companies should integrate live wait-time notifications into the Web
self-service customer portal. This enables a customer to quickly understand which channel has the
shortest wait time and can act as a dynamic load balancer if one contact channel’s queue starts to get
too long. It also enables you to creatively encourage use of certain channels (see also best practice 10).