Is it worth to create a customer self-service?
Customers today are in a bigger hurry than ever and their patience is lower than in the last years too.
They want to get the answers to their questions and solution to their issues fast and preferably themselves, without wasting time and energy calling, chatting or emailing the customer service.
No wonder, getting connected to the customer support team member on the phone on a first try is…hard.
77% of customers believe it takes too long to reach a support agent. What’s more they have enough patience only to wait for around 11 minutes.
That’s why more and more customers prefer to get things done by themselves, rather than by contacting customer service.
Why not help them with it by offering them to get help whenever they need it?
Did you notice the boom on the popularity of video tutorials, “how to” guides and FAQ?
That’s exactly self-service!
Self-service is a win-win strategy for any company. Not only it makes your customers happier because they just solved their problem themselves, but it also reduces the workload of your customer support team.
What’s here not to like?
What is Customer Self-Service?
Not all customers questions and issues are equal. There are questions and problems that customers could “google up” and get answers in minutes, there’s no need to contact a customer service representative.
Experts say that around 20-30% of calls to the help desks are login-related issues. And a majority of those issues could be easily fixed by the customers themselves, without the customer support help.
Sure, answering the question about the forgotten password might take only a minute or two for your customer rep but how much time they are wasting daily by answering that kind of questions over and over again?
And how much time and money would your customer support team save if you had a website where a customer can look up the answer for his question or read a guide how to solve their issue themselves, while leaving the helpdesk desk to focus on resolving the more complicated issues and on helping customers who required technical assistance?
Surely a lot – and that’s exactly why you need a self-help website.
A self-help website is a place where customers can quickly find an explanation and solution to their issue, answers to their questions can ask other users for help with their problem or can ask for technical assistance.
According to Aspect, 90% of consumers now expect a brand or organization to offer a self-service customer support portal.
Main parts of self-service
A typical self-help website is divided into 2 or 3 parts. A knowledge base, a community board and a place to contact customer support in case the customer didn’t manage to find answer or solution to their issue.
- Knowledgebase – often the first place the customers visit when they have a question or an issue. It’s a place where customers can find FAQ, troubleshooting information, beginners guide, “How to” articles, video tutorials and more. Most sites also have a visible search bar at the top of the page. Then customers can find what they need in a flash and useful tips and hints how to use their product more effectively.
- Community forum. A place where customers can ask other customers for help with their problem, ask questions about how to use the product, request new features, share tips or opinions. There’s plenty of reasons as to why you should have one on your website. A community board reduces support costs, builds trust in your customers, engages them more and are an excellent source of customers feedback.
- Contact center. If both Knowledge Base and Community forum didn’t manage to answer the question or solve the issues, there should be an easy way for the customer to contact customer service. Usually, there is a contact page with a phone number, email or live chat widget. Many companies also have a contact form where customers can write with what issue they are calling.
Why should I have it?
Wondering now what can you gain from adding a self-service portal? Here are five main benefits of adding a self-help website, both for you and your customers.
- Self-help reduces customers service workload. If your customer can find an answer to their issue on their own and fix their problem themselves, this naturally lowers the number of calls or emails and reduces the workload on your customer support.
- Self-help improves the productivity of the customer service. With fewer calls and emails, your helpdesk team can spend more time with each customer and focus better on more complicated issues.
Why do you need customer self-service?
Because it’s not just about increased productivity. More time on your support team hands means they can provide better care to all customers.
- Self-help portals increase customers knowledge. Good self-help portals expand customers knowledge and teach them new skills – that’s why “How to” videos and are so popular! What is more, self – help portals usually explain information in a way that is easy to understand even by customers who aren’t tech savvy: by using step-by-step guides, tutorial videos, guides with pictures. To help customers get the most of the service or product they are using, the portal can also add helpful tips and hints.
- Self service gives you more traffic. Both knowledge base and community boards can act as fantastic tools to bring in more website traffic and more customers. Not only customers who managed to get their issue fixed quickly are much more likely to recommend the website to their friends, but a helpful self-service page also marks business as an authority in its industry and helps build trusts and company’s credibility.
- Self-service is available 24/7. Product issues can happen at any time, especially when your customer support is unavailable. Online knowledge bases and community support pages give your customers access to precisely the information they need to resolve their issues immediately. No matter where your customers are or when they do need help, customers can find answers to their questions or solutions to their problem without waiting for the customer support to start their job.
Ready to build your own self-service page and reap the benefits?
7 best practices for self-service
Make Self-Service website easy to find
This one might sound obvious, but it’s incredible how many companies forget about it – if customers can’t find the self-service page, then it’s like it doesn’t exist in the first place.
Customers don’t have time to search the whole website to find the FAQ or video tutorial – if they can’t find them quickly, they will decide to ask customer support about their issues.
So making the manuals and tutorials effortless to find is crucial!
Instead of hiding the tutorials and the manuals under a dozen options, put a link to the self-service page on the homepage so users can see it immediately. Make sure that all pages can be found using a search engine too!
Self-service must be easy to use
A successful self-service page is all about making website users feel happy, confident and empowered – they just solved their problem themselves!
And if your users are happy, they are much more likely to stay with your company and maybe even recommend your company to other people. But to fix their issue, they first need to find the exact article about their problem.
If your self-service page is showing them a large number of information on every topic imaginable and dozens of links on the main page, your customers will feel overwhelmed and helpless rather than empowered.
So take a look at your self-service page – is it simple, clear and well organized?
How many choices customer have to make while searching for something (fewer choices makes it easier for a customer to decide, too many options are just confusing).
Do you have any unnecessary or less important features on the page that can get removed or hidden? Can you put articles into groups?
Customers should be able to find the page they need without having to search too long for it. If you do have a long list of pages on your self-help website, add a visible search bar for those that don’t want to look through the entire list.
Make also sure the main FAQ page is easy to find, no matter on which page your customer currently is!
Make all content easy to understand
Most customers don’t understand the technical language or industry jargon, so if you use complicated language in your videos or manuals, customers won’t be able to use them (how can they use something if they don’t understand it?) so stick to simple and understandable language.
Another reason why you should have instructions and guides written in a simple language is translational issues. If you have customers from all over the world, it’s a good practice to offer guides in different languages. But the more complex the language is, the harder it is to translate.
There’s also a risk of the instructions being misinterpreted, especially if the customer uses automatic translation!
It’s a great idea to use images and videos where possible. Many customers are much more comfortable with visuals than with plain text and are more likely to watch a video on a given topic than read a manual.
Ask for customers feedback
It’s very easy to be biased towards your own product and don’t see any flaws or issues on your website. Especially if you spent so much time working on it.
But have in mind you are making the self-service page for your customers, and that’s why user feedback is necessary.
A customer might be able to find issues or errors you didn’t know about or tell you what informations they would find helpful.
But how can you get customers to share their opinion with you? For example, you can use your community board – it’s a fantastic place to get more feedback. Asking for filling a short survey after using the website is a splendid idea too.
Optimize the website
Customers want to solve their problem in the fastest way they can, without unnecessary hassle. Slow and laggy website can effectively stop them from achieving this goal.
If the self-service website loads slowly because it’s is filled with images or videos, customers will abandon it before they find an answer to their question.
To ensure your self-service page loads quickly and easily, check
Portable self-service is a must!
Besides a self-help portal website, many of your customers expect a mobile site too. They want be able to solve their problems even if they don’t have access to a regular computer at the moment.
But is your website easy to use on mobiles? If not, you should work on improving it. 60% of customers treat a brand with a mobile-responsive website better than one that doesn’t have the option, according to Capterra.
And since plenty of companies still don’t offer a mobile version of their website, having a mobile-friendly site is a tremendous opportunity for your company to stand out!
Don’t forget to leave a way to contact customer support
While self-service might be a huge help, not every problem can be solved with the knowledge base or community board.
That’s why you need to also put a phone number or chat widget in a visible place, so users can switch from self-help to helpdesk.
Many companies give their customers a way to explain their issue before contacting the support team, via a contact form. And it’s a fantastic idea.
After spending time trying to solve the problem themselves, the last thing customers want to do is explaining their situation all over again to the support agent! It’s faster and more effective when the support agent knows beforehand with what issue the customer is calling him.
When done right, a self-service portal can be a great asset to your company. Not only you reduce the costs of customer support, but you also make your customers happier.
But to achieve this, you can’t just throw all the information on one page and call it a day. Your self-service portal has to be easily accessible, clearly organized and frequently updated. The self-service portal should also work not only on desktops and mobile too, so no matter where your customers are, they can use it.
When customers can find the information they need quickly, they no longer need to contact your customer support. And the lower the number of calls, the more time they have for other customers!
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