It may seem counterintuitive, but customers want to solve their own problems. Many routine tasks that used to require a telephone call now take place online, with the customer taking control. Think about booking a vacation, ordering a takeout, or reserving a taxi.  

For simple tasks, forcing customers to make a telephone call adds unnecessary friction. First, customers must navigate your business hours. Then they have to spend valuable time waiting on hold and explaining their needs - when all of this could have been achieved with a few clicks. 

Many common field service queries can be resolved using digital self service options. By helping customers help themselves, your business stands to reduce call center costs, increase first-time access, and ultimately improve customer satisfaction.  

What is Digital Self Service and Why Does it Matter? 

Digital self-service allows individuals to schedule, modify, or cancel appointments with businesses or service providers without the need for human intervention. For field service appointments, you might promote customer engagement through automatic updates via SMS or email. These can link to a web-based customer portal with self-service rescheduling options, order details and driver tracking.   

A self-service customer portal serves two key functions for field service: 

  1. Preempting customers’ questions so they don’t need to ask: Exposing real-time data can answers questions such as “When is my appointment?”, “How can I prepare?”, and “When exactly will the driver arrive?” 
  1. Allowing customers to take an action if necessary: For instance, I need to reschedule or cancel my appointment”, “I have to share information with the driver”, “I would like to let you know about a good/bad experience.” 

Of course, there will always be situations where a customer needs to speak to a representative. By providing digital self-service options to deal with more simple requests, you can ensure that advisors are free to talk to customers with more complex needs. 

Benefits of Digital Self-service for Customers and Businesses 

Digital self-service solutions empower customers to find information and take action on their own schedule, showing that you value their time and expectations.  

In addition, your business could benefit from reduced call center volumes. Not only will you receive fewer inbound calls, but your team will no longer need to reach out to customers to provide ETAs or solicit feedback.  

A likely knock-on effect is a reduction in failed appointments. Well-informed customers are more likely to be ready to attend – especially if they were able schedule the appointment at a convenient time.  


Best Practices for Last Mile Delivery

The lessons learned from delivery innovators across retail and distribution industries around the globe are that technology and a willingness to break from traditional logistics thinking are what separate their performance from the rest of the pack. 

Here are four of the many advantages of self-service technology: 

  • Exceed customer expectations by empowering them to meet their needs on their terms and schedule, without having to contact your call center. It’s crucial to allow customers this autonomy as they have grown accustomed to ease, speed, and transparency in every interaction. 
  • Reduce call center traffic by automating appointment reminders, rescheduling and feedback collection. This frees up valuable resources and allows staff to focus on more complex issues.  
  • Improve first-time fix rates by allowing customers to reschedule, confirm, and cancel appointments in advance. Customers are more likely to attend if they are empowered to choose a time slot that works for them. You’ll avoid wasted visits and improve the efficiency of your fleet. 
  • Increase feedback response rate by prompting customers to fill in a simple online feedback survey in their own time while they still remember the experience.  Your business will benefit from higher volumes of sincere feedback than can be obtained by reaching out to a sample of customers over the phone. 

How to Add Digital Self-Service to Your Customer Journey 

Descartes helps businesses to put vital information in front of the customer through real-time notifications and order tracking. In addition, customers are empowered to take action through self-service appointment management, two-way chat, and intuitive feedback surveys.  

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