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Are your self-service web pages working?
3 February 2011, by , in Data Management, 3 comments

According to research firm Gartner, 65 percent of self-service interactions currently escalate beyond the Web to an agent. In other words, a customer has come to your website and is unable to complete his or her transaction, and thus needs to call your organization for help.

Assuming this statistic is accurate, I’m dumbfounded. The whole purpose of self-service applications is, well, to allow one to serve oneself…without the need for human intervention.

Amazon, of course, has this down to a science. In all my years of using Amazon (and it must be easily over a decade now) I’ve never once had to pick up the phone to call them. And I’ve probably only contacted them twice in all that time via email. It simply works.

Are your self-service pages working? Are you sure? Do you keep track of metrics to measure their effectiveness (e.g., tracking all incoming calls and marking those that involved someone trying to do something on your website)?

If it’s a self-service page, only the website and the customer should be involved. How do you rate?

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  • Insightful question, Wes! In the association market, I’m seeing more and more organizations recognize the member experience limitations of the AMS. I met with an organization earlier this week and the Director of Member Services said, “A membership database will always be a membership database. Our members are ready for more.” Associations are turning to member-engagement platforms (or customer solutions built by web design agencies) that sit on top of their AMS and utilize their member data to provide a more rich, interactive and social member experience. Associations recognize the benefits of bringing together their self-service functions with online community software, blogs, forums, listservs, event management, wikis, file libraries, and other collaboration tools. They are able to both raise the level of member engagement and bring down costs by driving members to serve themselves online.

  • Josh, thanks for the comment.

  • Was doing some research and ran across this post — crucial topic when we’re all becoming increasingly reliant on the Web. Simply having the back-end technology — the AMS — can be a tease for association executives who often spend very large sums on the database and related applications, and then skimp on the information architecture and interactive design of their websites. Then there’s the flip side, whereby an association and their Web design team is hamstrung the limited functionality of the AMS vendor’s API… Bottom line, association executives don’t skimp on the Web strategy — know thy site visitor and business!

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Testimonials

“Wes was able to come in and offer tangible, relevant advice that made us more productive immediately. I value his understanding of databases but more so, his understanding of how nonprofits work. There was no lost time educating him about how membership organizations are “different.” Wes recommended changes in processes as well as tips and tricks that were easy to implement made an immediate positive impact.”

Mary Pat Paris, Executive Director
International Registration Plan

“We came to Wes because we were very frustrated with our existing AMS and we wanted to improve our capabilities as soon as practicable. Wes very quickly helped us through a process of identifying our needs, identifying potential vendors, and selecting a new system that we’ll be able to move into very quickly. I especially appreciated Wes’s candor about our processes as well as the systems we were looking at. He was a great resource to have in a period of high anxiety for our organization. I would highly recommend Wes for any similar project.”

Jack Chiasson, CMP Executive Director
National Association of Life Brokerage Agencies

“Wes was able to come in and offer tangible, relevant advice that made us more productive immediately. I value his understanding of databases but more so, his understanding of how nonprofits work. There was no lost time educating him about how membership organizations are “different.” Wes recommended changes in processes as well as tips and tricks that were easy to implement made an immediate positive impact.”

Mary Pat Paris, Executive Director
International Registration Plan

Mary Pat Paris
International Registration Plan

“This is the second database implementation we’ve done since I have been at Western Arts Alliance (WAA). The first I did on my own. This time we engaged Wes Trochlil as our database planning consultant. Let me tell you, this process is a whole lot easier having Wes on your team! For a small association like WAA, it’s tempting for board and EDs to question the justification and expense of a database planning consultant. But it’s the small associations that need Effective Database Management the most. Wes strengthened our planning process, clarified our needs requirements, helped us steer around solutions that couldn’t meet our objectives, and saved us money in the long haul.”

Tim Wilson, Executive Director
Western Arts Alliance

Tim Wilson
Western Arts Alliance
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