Consumers like instant gratification, and it’s no different when it comes to customer service. Imagine the last time you were on the phone with your insurance company or your cable company trying to resolve an issue. Nine times out of ten you probably got off the phone feeling frustrated or feeling that you lost 30 minutes or more of your life that you couldn’t get back. What’s even worse is if you needed help after business hours. Whether it’s pre-sale or post-sale support, your customers want answers to their questions right away.
However, hiring a large customer service team is very costly and not feasible for most businesses. So what can you do to meet such expectations and avoid losing business to your competitors?
With self-service support, you can provide value to your customers and to your business. Removing friction points, but one as important as this, is key to maintaining a positive experience throughout the customer’s journey.
Thankfully, today’s self-service support technologies allow you to augment the user experience (UX) without the high costs associated with hiring many customer care reps.
What Exactly Is Self-Service Support?
Self-service customer support is the use of customer-initiated interaction technologies designed to enable users to get support on their own without the involvement of a customer care representative.
Such technologies include electronic records management systems, chatbots, FAQ pages, online resource centers, searchable knowledge bases, community forums, and online learning portals.
These resources are typically posted on a company’s website, or on platforms dedicated to hosting self-service customer support and/or online learning resources.
Benefits of Self-Service Customer Support
As more consumers want to get the answers immediately, they prefer self-service rather than waiting for an email reply or speaking to a representative on the phone.
Self-service support has become key to delivering an outstanding customer experience. In fact, the improvement of customer experience is the top reason for businesses to offer self-service features. A report by Aspect Software indicates 73% of customers want to solve product or service issues on their own. Here are some benefits of using self-service customer support:
- Customer retention: 85% of consumers churn because of poor service that could have been prevented.
- Cost efficiency: Self-service support costs 10 cents or less per contact, while the average cost of a live channel contact averages nearly $9.
- Timeliness: Fast response time is key to great customer service, and what can be more timely than offering customers the ability to get the answer they need, as soon as they need it?
- Customer acquisition: Providing pre-sale support when a customer is making a purchase decision helps increase conversion rates.
- Resource allocation: Sales reps are freed up from answering routine support requests so they can spend more time on cultivating customer relationships, identifying high-quality prospects, and converting leads.
There are plenty of reasons above that make the case for self-support.
Designing a Self-Service Customer Support UX
To reap the benefits of self-service customer support, design a seamless UX that encourages customers to keep coming back.
Here are some key steps to maximizing the ROI of a self-service customer support feature:
- Research the most frequently asked questions by analyzing data from customer support channels such as call center, email inquiries, or live chat.
- Conduct usability testing to ensure the interface is optimized for a streamlined UX.
- Analyze the words and phrases your customers use in site searches to fine-tune the self-service support content.
- Optimize search results on the knowledge base or FAQ page based on the most commonly asked questions.
- Design a UX that is simple, intuitive, and easy to navigate so customers can find the information they need, quickly and easily.
- Leverage personalization technologies to deliver the most relevant UX. Optimize search results based on a customer’s purchase history, preferences, past interactions with your brand, and other profile information.
- Use a variety of content formats to suit different learning styles. Some people like to read an article, while others prefer visual content, such as infographic or videos.
- Keep the content fresh and relevant by constantly monitoring how customers interact with your self-service support resources. Add new information and adjust the UX based on users’ preferences and behaviors.
Approach the above based on your data and what is important to your customers. If search is a highly used feature, that may be a good place to start. However, be careful not to make assumptions. The reason why customers may be using search heavily could be that the navigation is difficult to use. It’s important to research how your customers are interacting with your digital experience so you know how to prioritize their needs. Tackle a little bit at a time so it doesn’t feel overwhelming, but continue making progress towards a holistic solution if possible.
Join the Self-Service Trend
Customer experience will surpass product selection and pricing to become the key brand differentiating factor that affects consumers’ purchasing decisions.
As more people become accustomed to self-service customer support, it’s crucial for businesses to offer these resources so they can deliver an outstanding customer experience that can increase sales and improve customer retention.