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Self-Service Pitfalls That CRM Managers Should Be Aware of

Self-service system capabilities that are integrated into customer interaction tools benefit a company’s CRM initiatives in many ways. A self-service system drives customer confidence in your business and if executed right, it enables your business to conserve resources.

That being said, there are also many pitfalls to implementing a self-service system. Be aware of these pitfalls so that you can avoid them.

1. Self-service is not customer service.

Self-service can work fine so long as the customer knows his way around your website and has conducted business with you earlier; however, self-service cannot replace customer representatives. So, when implementing a self-service system, remember that customer support in the form of a real person in a call center should not be eliminated. Quick issue resolution is important for customers, and this can often be best achieved by interacting with people via a voice channel.

2. All self-service customers are not the same.

All your customers do not represent equal value to your business. It’s important that high-value customers are kept at the forefront of the service hierarchy. A self-service system should be implemented in conjunction with inbound predictive analytic solutions so that customers can be assigned to a live agent or receive automated self-service based on predictions about their value. This ensures good service to high-level customers and helps check agent talk times.

3. Disgruntled customers can leave if faced with bad service.

Cutting off human interaction and leaving the customer to fend for himself can be a frustrating experience. No doubt, you save on agent costs and those resources can be deployed elsewhere. But, remember that for the customer, his time is paramount. You may save on agent talk time but lose loyal customers who don’t want to put up with multiple automated voice commands. You can lose customers to silent attrition without being aware of it. A self-service system should not jeopardize your customer retention efforts.

4. Do self-service the right way.

An automated self-service system that is poorly designed can actually increase the workload on your contact center staff. It also irritates customers who have to revert to a live call after trying to get their issue resolved via an automated response system. Self-service automation should be personalized and deployed in such a way that both the company and the customer are satisfied. Enquiry resolution should be smooth, and for this to happen, you need to provide your customers with the same information and support that you offer your call center agents.

5. The agent’s time does not ensure maximum ROI.

As your self-service system becomes more successful, you will need to ensure that your agents are better utilized. This is best achieved when you know when to enable the self-service option and when to put your agent to the fore. The functions of up-selling and cross-selling are best carried out by experienced call center agents. Intelligent predictive analytic solutions facilitate the ranking of callers according to their value and allow optimum utilization of the agent’s time and speedy ROI.


You need to remember that self-service is not a means in and of itself, but rather an important cog in the overall CRM initiative. A self-service system helps minimize the cost of customer interaction, but should not be treated as a quick fix for cost reduction. Customer preference for a mode of communication should be respected, and if it means that you cannot deploy a self-service system to the extent that you desire, then so be it.