What is self-service rate?

Self-service rate (or self-service completion rate) of a contact center is a metric that describes how often customers resolve their own issues or complete their own transaction instead of speaking to a live agent. It is the ratio of instances resolved by the customer to the total number of customer instances at the contact center. The self-service rate is not necessarily the same as the first contact resolution (FCR) rate, although often self-service will be resolved on the first attempt with no assistance from an agent.

How does self-service work?

Various technologies can enable customers to self-complete their service, including interactive voice response (IVR) systems and chatbots. Contact centers may employ a variety of software-based automated solutions ranging in complexity. A “forgot password” path -- click a link, receive an email, click another link, reset your password -- is one such path that most users today are very familiar with. Another may be a knowledge base library of website articles to guide users to solutions to commonly encountered problems. Self-service technologies can be web-based, app-based, or other.

Artificial intelligence (AI) self-service can help contact centers leverage newer digital technology to help customers help themselves. Highly advanced IVRs may use AI to mimic personal agent assistance using natural language processing and text-to-speech technologies. Chatbots offer a similar advantage on chat platforms, which many customers prefer. Depending on the functions of the contact center, AI self-service can dramatically increase the self-service rate.

Why is it important to increase self-service rate over time?

The benefits of enabling customers to handle their own issues are numerous. For the contact center, an improved self-service rate means fewer inbound contacts for the agents, which improves a variety of other metrics, including lower average queue time, lower average handle time, lower average hold time, higher first contact resolution rate, and more. Some self-service, even if incomplete, can improve the overall experience and reduce the time needed for agent assistance because the customer will already have completed some of the necessary steps.

These improvements benefit customers as well. Software-based self-service can dramatically shorten the time between when a customer experiences an issue and when the issue is resolved, since it typically reduces the amount of steps a customer must take, as well as time spent waiting for an agent to reply. Customer satisfaction rates generally go up when these contact center metrics are improved.

This metric also provides a strategic benefit when tracked, monitored, and improved over time: knowing the limits of self-service will help make contact center management and strategy decisions such as hiring and process improvements easier in the future.

What self-service rate does not tell is how WELL customers are able to resolve their issues. If a customer gives up without a proper solution, then customer satisfaction decreases. Self-service rates alone do not paint a complete picture of contact center success, they are just one piece of a larger puzzle.

How NICE  can help

NICE CXone is the market leading contact center software in use by thousands of customers of all sizes around the world. Our solutions help call centers deliver superior customer experiences with accuracy, efficiency and consistency. Our user-friendly reporting solutions provide the information call centers need to monitor and analyze customer self-service rates. CXone includes:

Automation & Artificial Intelligence (AI) – intuitive, cutting-edge technology that helps customers resolve their own issues for better volume, speed, and overall customer satisfaction. AI solutions improve self-service, agent-assisted and fully automated processes, alerts and actions.

Customer Analytics – turning insights into results by making data relevant, easy to consume and actionable to drive measurable improvements and understand the omnichannel experience customers receive. Create a data-driven culture that fosters better decision making at all levels to achieve employee productivity, customer satisfaction, and other strategic business goals.

Workforce Engagement – unlocks the potential of your team by inspiring employees' self-improvement, amplifying quality management efforts to enhance customer experience and reducing labor waste. These solutions include workforce management (WFM), quality management (QM), recording, and performance management (PM).