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Challenge #3: Despite self-service your customers still call
Tuesday, 03 December 2019

Despite offering great self-service tools to your customers, are your agents still handling too many calls? If customers are stuck in their old habits, they need a nudge.

Challenge 3 VIVR 900

Our blog series on the Top 12 Customer Service Challenges has been focusing on the big issues facing contact centres today. Last time we looked at what to do when your self-service app struggles to get off the ground but now we're exploring the problem of too many customers calling up, even when your self-service tools could deliver what they need.


Old ways die hard

Most of us are creatures of habit. If any problem arises, we've got our default way of responding. For some customers, every time there's an issue they reach for the phone instantly and call up. They may even know your IVR's menu options off by heart.

So, let's imagine a company that's been trumpeting its new self-service app for months. They've spent a small fortune on development and everything works really well. In fact, the app is so good that some company insiders are wondering if it could win a top industry award. But pretty soon the early enthusiasm starts to fizzle out.

When launch day arrives, some enthusiastic customers make the switch and like what they see. But there's a sizeable chunk of the customer base that carries on as before. Every letter, email or text message they receive about the wonders of the app just goes completely over their heads. Nothing moves the dial.

After a few weeks, self-service usage begins to plateau. There are still too many calls coming into the contact centre, waiting times remain high, and those sought-after savings aren't coming through.   

So how can the company win over resistant customers to self-service?    

Carrots not sticks
Most likely, these customers will follow the path of least resistance. One approach would be to ramp up the resistance, making it painfully hard to call up — by hiding phone numbers, or allowing call wait times to rise to intolerable levels. Then, some customers will try self-service out of desperation. But this tarnishes the customer experience.

The best way for the company to succeed is by working with customers, not against them.

For these customers, convenience is important. They want speed, choice and control — and they're locked in a mindset that convinces them that calling up is the best way. In this scenario, Visual IVR can often provide the answer.

Visual IVR takes customer service to another dimension for the company. Customers can still call up, but it's no longer about battling through the IVR to speak to an agent. Instead, the IVR becomes a gateway to self-service.

The company gives them extra choices without needing to speak to any agents. Customers can select information, options and links that are sent automatically to their phones. These could include lists of tariff choices, how-to guides, or policy details. They can continue the interaction by clicking on their mobile screens.

What's the outcome?
Visual IVR lifts the burden off the company's contact centre agents, while gently easing customers into the world of self-service. Within moments, they'll find themselves using the company's app, or another useful tool, such as its online knowledge base. Once they see how easy it is, they're more likely to embrace self service next time around.  Visual IVR is like a half-way-house to help them on the way.


Visual IVR works so well because it's a highly effective way of achieving first-call resolution. The combination of an audio call and on-screen information gives customers a much richer experience and makes them feel more in control, which is great news for the company's satisfaction scores.

Read more about leading leading Visual IVR technology, which can be embedded within company websites or apps.

Got another contact centre challenge?
There are 12 in our series. Check out our blog page for what's been covered so far — and watch out for other hot topics coming along soon. In the meantime, get your copy of our Top 12 Customer Service Challenges.This guide looks at practical business issues that are holding back performance at the heart of contact centres — and how to solve them. 

If you'd like to know more than give us a call on 08000 630 730 or drop us an email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

About the Author

Claire Lynam

Claire Lynam

Marketing Manager

Claire is a professional marketer with 30 years experience in marketing, communications and PR, creating content and collateral that resonates with an organisation's audience. Having worked in multi-national companies and SMEs, Claire has expertise in creating messaging that works for both B2C and B2B markets. 

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