QATC Survey Results

This article details the results of the most recent QATC quarterly survey on critical quality assurance and training topics.  Forty-two contact center professionals representing a wide variety of operations provided insight regarding the utilization of self-service tools in their centers.

Number of Agents

The largest number of participants is from call center operations with less than 50 agents.  However, the balance is widely dispersed across all ranges. This mix of respondents provides a broad spectrum of contact center sizes.  Financial, utility, and “other” have the largest representation but there are participants from a wide variety of industries.

Use of Self-Service Tools

Respondents were asked if they are using one or more self-service tools today.  Ninety percent indicated that they are using these tools.  When asked to identify the specific tools, the most used tool is web self-service at 84%.  IVR is close behind at 71%.  More than half reported using FAQs and mobile apps.  Chatbots are used by over a third (36%).  

Using One or More Self-Service Tools

Self-Service Tools Used

Customer Difficulties with Self-Service Tools

Respondents were asked to identify the most common customer difficulties that are reported when using the self-service tools and multiple answers were permitted.  More than half of respondents (58%) reported that customers call to verify the accuracy of the information found in the self-service tool. Another 53% indicated that customers fail to find the right answers to their questions.  A surprising 47% reported that deployment of the self-service tools has not reduced the burden for customer service.  

Self-Service Goals

Respondents were asked what the primary goals are for the utilization of self-service tools and multiple answers were permitted.  The most common answer (83%) was to reduce the volume of contacts for “standard issues” followed closely by offering the agents more time to deal with the more complex issues (78%).  Reducing the volume of contacts to the contact center agents was cited as a goal by 71% while reducing costs was cited by 44%.  Comparing these goals to the customer challenges reported above suggests that the implementation of these tools has not fully delivered on the expectations.

Plans to Expand Self-Service Options

Survey participants were asked to indicate if their centers have plans to expand their self-service options.  While approximately one-third reported they have no expansion plans, a combined 43% indicated they have plans to add tools in the next 6 to 18 months.  Another 22% have plans but no specific timeframe for implementation.

Customer Training on the Tools

Respondents were asked if they offer training to their customers on the use of the self-service tools.  Approximately two-thirds do not, while one-third do.  However, when asked if they train their staff to support customers on the use of these tools, 81% indicated that they do train the staff.  

Provide Training to Customers to Utilize Self-Service Options

Provide Training to Staff to Support Calls About Self-Service Options


This survey provides some insight into the utilization of self-service tools.  While deployment of web and IVR-based tools have been in place for some time, the implementations of chatbots and mobile apps are more recent.  The most mentioned goals of reduced workload in the contact center and resulting lowered cost of support do not appear to be realized consistently.  This suggests that some of the products may be “oversold,” or the implementations are not as robust as anticipated.  Like any project to expand technology, proof of return on investment should be a reasonable expectation.  

Meeting the needs and desires of a wide variety of customers can be challenging.  Some may want all the options of modern science while others prefer the old ways and simply want to talk to a human being.  It is incumbent upon the contact center management to understand their customer base and to “meet them where they are.”  Analysis of the true return on these tools is important to ensure not only fiscal responsibility, but also maximizing customer satisfaction and retention.  

We hope you will complete the next survey, which will be available online soon.