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8 Reasons Why Your Institution Needs Better Online Self-Service in 2012


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Today’s web-savvy modern student expects a high level of ‘customer service’ when interacting with
your institution online. When it comes to designing the best possible online experience for students,
higher education institutions would be wise to take some guidance from the online behavior trends of
consumers as a whole.

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8 Reasons Why Your Institution Needs Better Online Self-Service in 2012

  1. 1. 8 Reasons Why Your Institution Needs Better Online Self-Service in 2012Today’s web-savvy modern student expects a high level of ‘customer service’ when interacting withyour institution online. When it comes to designing the best possible online experience for students,higher education institutions would be wise to take some guidance from the online behavior trends ofconsumers as a whole.Here are 8 reasons why we think online self-service needs to be a top priority for your school in 2012… 1 Online, people PREFER to self-serve, despite what you might thinkIn their February 2012 article for Forbes.com1, Harvard Business Review Press authorsFrances Frei and Anne Morriss said it best: “Excellence is being great at the things 72% your customers value most.”When it comes to online customer service, what people value most is the ability to self-serve for quick answers to their questions and move on. The preference for self-reliance isstrong, and proven. Up to 72% of consumers prefer to go onlineCorporate Executive Board says 60.4% of surveyed customers attempt to use a company’sweb self-service as the first method for resolving their customer service issue.2 Forrester first to resolve customer service issues3Research pegs the percentage even higher, at 72%.3 2 You can seriously differentiate your institution’s brand with great self-service90% of organizations surveyed by Forrester Research say that customer service is importantto their business, yet only 34% of brands deliver a “good” customer experience.4The vast canyon between what organizations say versus what they actually do to provide apositive customer experience is a significant “rhetoric gap.” It’s a tremendous opportunity Approximately 2 out of 3 brands fail to deliverfor your institution to leverage online self-service as a differentiation play. a “good” customer experience4 3 The Status Quo Sucks: Most online self-service FAQ and Help tools fail to satisfy 49% of users online4 features just don’t cut itDiane Clarkson, Analyst, eBusiness and Channel Strategy at Forrester Research, describesthe typical online self-service experience as being “too often a barrage of irrelevantinformation” which website visitors are forced to navigate, begrudgingly.Clarkson says the information people are seeking is usually located somewhere on a website, 51% 49%but it’s not often easy to find.Case in point: traditional website FAQ and Help pages. Forrester Research indicates just 51%of consumers are ultimately satisfied when using these tools.4
  2. 2. 8 REASONS WHY YOU NEED BETTER ONLINE SELF-SERVICE IN 2012 2 4 Other service channels are just plain expensiveCorporate Executive Board’s position is that there are huge cost savings in building out $7.50web self-service. It’s a position that’s impossible to argue against, given the generallyaccepted numbers. On average, a web self-service transaction cost $0.10 per Web self-service Phonetransaction, while a live support call to a staff member can cost $7.50 and beyond.2 Web self-service costs $0.10 per transactionIn addition to the direct costs, however, is the opportunity cost of lost enrollment when versus $7.50 for a live support call2your online self-service lets a potential student down. 5 Poor online experiences can cause students to go elsewhereOn the Internet, where alternatives and competitors are always just one click away, apoor self-service experience also impacts top line revenue and enrollment.A significant portion of customers – as much as 25%, according to Forrester Research– will simply abandon a website or find another solution if they can’t find what they are 1 in 4 frustrated customerslooking for.5 abandon or defect5 6 Thanks to social media, people can publically expose your online service shortcomings in secondsWith social media, it’s now easy, tempting, and increasingly common for individuals topublically flame organizations that let them down. *#$!A survey conducted in 2011 by NM Incite (a Neilson/McKinsey company) found that 51% ofsocial media users post negative feedback.6Interestingly, social media expert Jay Baer points out that public gripes tend to be about theexperience with the particular customer service channel. “In almost every case, the peoplecomplaining on Twitter are doing so because your company already failed to satisfy them in 51% of social media users postone or more traditional customer service channels,” Baer explains. negative feedback6 7 A satisfied customer is more likely to be a loyal customer – so it’s time to get self-service rightKate Legget, Senior Analyst, Business Process at Forrester Research, says a satisfiedcustomer correlates to a loyal customer, and this correlation can have a direct impact onyour enrollment numbers.“Loyal customers are more likely to stay true to your brand and more likely to recommend[you] to friends and colleagues,” Legget explained in the March 29, 2012 IntelliResponsewebinar, The New Way to Measure Online Self-Service. “And a loyal customer ends up Customer satisfaction positively impactsspending a larger wallet share over their engagement lifetime.” loyalty and wallet share4
  3. 3. 8 REASONS WHY YOU NEED BETTER ONLINE SELF-SERVICE IN 2012 3 8 The rise of mobile devices means self-service is more important than ever to studentsConsumer desire to stay connected has reached epic proportions. More than threequarters of the world’s population (5.3 Billion people) are mobile subscribers.7Not surprisingly, students entering college are among the heaviest adopters of new 77% of the world’s populationmobile devices, having witnessed the smartphone become a commonplace tool are mobile subscribers7for daily communication during their adolescent years. What’s more, the surgingpopularity of digital tablet devices are predicted to outpace PC sales by 2015.8Is Your School’s Online Self-Service Up to Par?All 8 of these reasons point to one truth: your school’s success in terms of the modern FREE EVALUATION OF YOUR WEBstudent’s ‘customer experience’ will be largely won or lost online. Effective web self- SELF-SERVICE CAPABILITIESservice is the cornerstone of these online service interactions. Send an email to:How does your website measure up? Find out by taking the Forrester/IntelliResponse eval@intelliresponse.comOnline Self-Service Assessment Survey. To get started, book your FREE evaluation ofyour institution’s web self-servce capabiliites by sending an email toeval@intelliresponse.comSOURCES:1 “Selecting Online Customer Service Channels To Satisfy Customers And Reduce Costs”, Forrester Research Inc., June 25, 2010,4 “The New Way to Measure Online Self-Service,” Forrester Research Inc.-IntelliResponse (Webinar), March 29, 20125 “Web Sites That Don’t Support Customers’ Goals Waste Millions”, Forrester Research Inc., February 17, 20106 IntelliResponse SystemsIntelliResponse enhances the multi-channel sales and customer service capabilities of hundreds of enterprise businessesand financial institutions. The company’s Answer Suite technology is an award-winning On Demand software platform thatallows customers and service agents to ask questions in natural language, and get one right answer - regardless of thehundreds of ways the question may be asked.With more than 500 live customer-facing implementations answering 100 million+ questions, IntelliResponse is the goldstandard in first line customer experience management. With the IntelliResponse Answer Suite, your company web site,mobile application, social media channels and agent desktop can all be transformed by an engaging virtual concierge,empowering customers to ask questions using normal, conversational language. The correct and complete answer is theninstantly served to them in a variety of engaging ways.For more information about IntelliResponse, visit To learn more about taking online self service to the next level for your customers, visit