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LESSON - Helping Customers Help Themselves—The Next Generation of Self-Service

By Rich Guth, Vice President of Solutions Marketing, Actuate


Information is only as valuable as the insight it provides; that’s why putting the right information in the right hands is the ultimate goal of reporting and analytics—customer service, too.

It is critical to push business intelligence outside the bounds of the enterprise, all the way to the customer. Actuate’s customer self-service reporting solutions allow companies to extend value to their customers by making Web-based self-service a truly information-rich experience.

Through interactive online statements, ad hoc query, analytics, and managed spreadsheet reporting capabilities, customers can get at the information they need—data that was previously locked away behind the firewall and in the hands of IT—all in output formats that meet their specific requirements. You control what they see and how they use it, but they ultimately have a fuller experience of self-service. Two things result from this experience.

One is a better customer relationship, reflected in better customer satisfaction ratings. And the other, just as important, is the realization of the promise of Web self-service to reduce call center costs.

  • Reduced call costs through deflection of routine inquiries
  • Improved customer satisfaction scores and retention levels
  • Info-rich self-service becomes a competitive advantage

In real-world implementations, companies in the financial services, telecommunications, logistics, and retail sectors have seen significant call deflection away from the call center as a result of using Actuate’s reporting platform.

Actuate’s reporting platform aggregates data from numerous applications and transactional sources into one unified view. Across the hundreds of self-service reporting projects we’ve worked on, there have been on average between seven and 10 data sources, each holding different aspects of a customer’s records. Most self-service applications today simply aren’t capable of pulling all of this together in a meaningful, high-quality, and easy-to-use view for your most valuable customers: your account holders. That’s the gap that exists in the market, and that’s where Actuate comes in. Our clients are able to see incredible business benefits from coordinating all those streams under one roof.

Actuate’s iServer platform is well equipped to handle the unique demands of Web self-service. It was built from the ground up to scale to thousands of simultaneous users. It was created to allow for maximum flexibility of format and design in presenting the data, so you can control what information your customers see, and how. And it’s flexible enough to handle the wide variety of data formats necessary when you are merging information streams from customer relationship management (CRM) systems, telecom systems, back-end applications, and more.

Very often we get brought in for the secondgeneration of Web self-service, when a companywants to really take customer-facing reportingto the next level, beyond knowledge bases,e-billing and search to rich, customizable, andinteractive account reporting, and what-ifcapabilities. This really gives the account holdersthe control they’re looking for and, in turn,relieves the burden on the call center to handleinformation requests. Now there are no limits.
— Rich Guth, Vice President of Solutions Marketing, Actuate

This article originally appeared in the issue of .

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