Stop and think about your own behavior for a minute. I’m betting that when faced with a question that you don’t know the answer to, one of the first things that you will do is ‘Google’ the answer.

This is not unusual and is what many of your customers do too.

When applied to questions that are related to products or services that we use or are considering buying that’s called self-service.

Personally, I believe helping customers solve problems when and how they want is the foundation of great customer experience.

But, based on our understanding of how we and our customers self serve, you’d think that companies would be pretty good at building content or tools that help customers answer their own questions when they show up.



In a recent conversation with Jeff Titterton, CMO of Zendesk about their Customer Experience Trends Report 2019, he told me that their research found that while 40% of customers say that they prefer to use search or help centers before contacting support only 20% of support teams provide self service.

This is despite the fact that we know that investing in self service reduces the demands on customer support and service departments, generates an uplift in customer satisfaction and frees up agents to focus on answering tougher customer questions.

Now, I asked Jeff for his view on what is behind this lack of activity and he told me that while many companies understand the issue they just haven’t gotten around to creating the right content as yet.

That just doesn’t make sense to me.

It’s tantamount to saying we haven’t gotten around to doing the thing that will save us time, effort and money, in the first instance, but in the longer term could also help us make more money too.

So, given the lack of progress in this area, there must be something else going on.

Another finding from the report that could provide some clues is the finding that while up to 90% of customers are open to being proactively contacted by businesses, many businesses are still not proactively engaging with their customers. And, if they are, then their activity is predominantly restricted to sales and marketing efforts rather than also trying to proactively solve their customers problems and improve their post-purchase experiences.

Jeff believes that this has a lot to do with mindset and that many companies are still struggling to move from a “next best offer” i.e. a sales and marketing dominated mindset to a “next best action” i.e. customer focused/centered mindset.

That makes me think that with all of the talk about the importance of customer experience and being customer centric that floats around these days, there are only two possible explanations:

  1. People just don’t get what it means to deliver a great customer experience, or
  2. Much of the talk is just that: talk.

Either way, it seems that there is still a lot of work to do.

This thought piece was written by Adrian Swinscoe and previously published on 17th July 2019 here.