Customer Self-Service is Transforming the Support Strategy: Here’s How

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Himanshu Singh

Senior editor

Parul Saxena

Chief editor

Last updated: August 27, 2020

The most valuable asset of any company is its customers. So how do you make your customers satisfied and happy? 

By providing them with excellent customer service. However, things are evolving, and customers today are more interested in finding their own answers over contacting a support agent. Don’t believe me? 

Looking for CRM Software? Check out SoftwareSuggest’s list of the best CRM Software solutions.

Research by Nuance Enterprise shows that 67% of customers prefer to use self-service options instead of speaking with a company representative. And, 40% of consumers who contact a call center have first looked for answers to their questions via self-service.

The primary reason is that they want their problems to be solved promptly.

Now, creating self-service tools requires a deep insight into what your customers are looking for. And, CRM (customer relationship management) software is the best way to know that as it closely monitors the consumers’ activities on the website and social media platforms. 

Let’s dig a little deeper into the world of customer self-service in this digital era. 

What is Customer Self-Service? 

Customer self-service is a means of providing support for customers without involving any service representatives. In other words, it is proactive customer service for those who want to find their own solutions. Customers use self-service options to troubleshoot issues by themselves. 

Customers are starting to feel that email slows them down and finds live chat impersonal. They, in fact, fear losing time by talking over the phone. Clearly, they are looking for fast and readily available answers. With self-service options, customers can find their own solutions without having the need to navigate through alternate support channels. 

Customer self-service has indeed become one of the important features of the company’s customer service. The most common types of customer self-service resources include FAQs, a knowledge base, and online discussion forums.

Why You Should Consider Providing Customer Self-Service

There is no denying that customer self-service is quickly becoming the most preferred method for customer service. 

Besides, there are a few benefits that you can derive by implementing a customer self-service for your company. Here’s how. 

1. Lowers Overhead Costs

The most significant benefit of all is that self-service options can cut down your customer support costs. 

Forrester Research and Oracle conducted a study to analyze business costs when providing customer support in multiple service channels. And, they found that web self-service can reduce costs by a whopping $11 per call!

In fact, research by Accenture showed that companies could save around $1-3 million annually by adding self-service. Besides, the cost of launching a self-service portal is much lower than setting up actual operators. 

2. Improves Customer Experience

People nowadays are becoming independent and aspiring to become self-sufficient. They prefer self-service resources over talking to a human support representative. It empowers them as they don’t have to wait with an ETA for an agent to solve their issues. 

Plus, letting them resolve their own problems will give them a sense of accomplishment. They feel a sense of appreciation for the brand and will like to engage more. 

A happy customer is enough to earn some word of mouth recommendations. They might even be willing to leave positive comments and reviews on your website and social media pages. 

In short, customer self-service can become a driving force to push your brand forward. 

3. Increases Your Availability

Self-service portals usually consist of a list of knowledge-based category articles or FAQs. The advantage of it is that these are not time-sensitive. 

Self-service resources are available round the clock and can be accessed from anywhere in the world. However, this isn’t the case with your human agents unless your support team operates from many different time zones. 

It ensures that your customers aren’t left high and dry during holidays or outside of working hours. You can save your customers from the pain of dealing with an answering machine when they need help. 

4. Allows Effective Use of Support Agent’s Time

There are times when customer support representatives have to deal with the same repetitive issues. However, it can be avoided by having access to self-service options. By providing a FAQ page or a knowledge database, it can make the answers to recurring questions easily accessible to your customers. 

It has two advantages. Firstly, support agents can save their time and use that time effectively to focus more on complex issues. And secondly, it also saves the customers’ time and effort. 

5. Reduces Wait Time

The most common complaint of unhappy customers is the long waiting time before they finally get a representative to help them. 

It can easily be avoided by providing an alternative to traditional support channels, i.e., customer self-service resources. 

Every company doesn’t have a high budget to hire and train a large group of support executives. Self-service options can lighten the load for your team. Plus, users try to find answers of their own before they actually call the support hotline. So if your customers can successfully search for their solutions, they won’t need to blow up your inbox or call your phone lines. 

Best Practices for a Better Customer Self-Service Portal

It goes without saying but simply providing self-service support doesn’t guarantee that it will be helpful to customers. 

Business needs to consider their customers’ needs and wants to implement a correct strategy in place. Here are a few tips that can help improve customer self-service quality.

1. Intuitive and Presentable

The first obvious rule is that your self-service tool must be well presented. People don’t want to learn how to use self-service resources. Instead, it should be solving their queries. That’s why make sure that it has an intuitive interface with simplistic design and easy navigation. 

Moreover, self-service shouldn’t feel separate from the web experience of your customers. It should coexist with your sales and support funnels. You can have a button that leads customers to your database on your websites, like in email signatures or product specifications, and more. 

2. Optimize the Search Option

You need to optimize the results of frequent searches and present them in a way that customers can find information quickly. 

You can do this by using tags and specific keywords. For example, if a person wants to know about your company’s return policy and you have an FAQ article on it, you can use the tag ‘return items,’ or ‘return policy.’ When people would type in these keywords, they will be directed to the correct page. 

Besides, there are several other ways, which include —

  • Display FAQs on the top of your customer support page
  • Provide the option for advanced search filters to narrow down results

3. Keep Your Content Fresh

Your customer’s needs and questions change regularly. 

If you want to provide a beneficial support experience, then you need to update your knowledge base continually. You can monitor keywords as to what your customer is looking for and fine-tune your content accordingly. 

Providing customer self-service is an ongoing project, which requires dedication. 

Conclusion: The Brand Value of Customer Self-Service

To conclude, it’s clear that consumers are the new face of customer service. They are engaging with your brand as well as one another. 

There is no discussion about whether you should include customer self-service options in your business. It has become an essential component, and the better you utilize this opportunity, it will only bring more benefits to your business

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Himanshu Singh is a Marketing Specialist at SoftwareSuggest, He is well versed in software platforms like eCommerce, project management, document management. He is also interested in domains like Machine Learning and Semiconductors. In his spare time, he enjoys Guitar, Badminton, and Photography.

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