Reduce Self-Service Abandonment by Improving Containment

Omnichannel/ Customer Experience/ General by Route 101

Keep your customers using self-service channels and reduce live interactions.

Just 9% of customers using self-service channels are able to fully resolve their issue via self-service.

 Self-Service abandonment: why is this important?

70% of customers are using self-service channels at some point in their resolution journey, and 20-40% of live service volumes could easily be resolved using self-service functionality (Gartner).

However, just 9% of customers using self-service channels are able to fully resolve their issue via self-service. Yes, you read that correctly: 9%. Based on studies of more than 8,000 customer journeys, Gartner found that whilst 70% of customers were using self-service channels at some point in their resolution journey, just 9% could fully resolve their issue via self-service channels.

This is important because it has a real impact on the cost to serve.

When a live interaction forms just a single step (maybe that final step) in the resolution journey, the resolution will still cost 80 to 100 times more than a fully self-service fix.

Improving self-service channel containment

It’s not enough to get your customers into your self-service channels – they need to stay there AND resolve their queries. So how can you fix your self-service and keep you customers in those channels so they’re not picking up the phone?

Gartner say most self-service flaws relate to 3 main failure points: external search, site navigation, and self service capability.

  • External Search

    According to the 2020 Gartner Loyalty Through Customer Service and Support Survey, 37% of customers pick up the phone to call the service centre before they even reach the organisation’s website. 

    Make sure your SEO/web team aren’t creating an immediate bypass point for your customers. If searching your org name and “customer service” results immediately in your phone number on the first page of google, be prepared for customers to use it.

  • Site Navigation

    This includes any part of the customer journey on your website except for self-service capabilities. Site navigation has a substantial impact on the success of your self-service because of the sheer volume of users – 44% of customers access an organisation’s website first before accessing an assisted-service channel.

  • Self-Service Capabilities

    These encompass all direct customer interactions i.e. conversations with chatbots, carrying out self-service transactions through an online portal. These can fail if they are poorly designed or lack the content or functionality necessary for customers to resolve issues on their own. This is what Fran will go into more detail around in a minute.

If you are trying to improve your self-service containment and reduce abandonment, you need to think about all 3 of these elements.


Things your business can do right now: 

  • Re-evaluate your self-service strategy by assessing the potential impact of external search and site navigation on self-service containment.
  • Utilise SEO to remove or limit access to assisted service channels in external searches and create a clear pathway to organisation owned customer service pages. This is particularly interesting given we were discussing the need to adopt a more holistic approach to your service – this might sit with your marketing or your web team, so think about how you’re working with other areas in your business to get customers using the channels you want them to use.
  • Simplify the customer journey by directing customers to relevant self-service capabilities and limiting or re-organising access to assisted service channels.

If you’d like to learn more about how you can optimise your self-service channels and reduce the cost to serve in your service centre, book a discovery call with one of our specialists.