Would you call the customer service if your blender stopped working or would you try to find a possible fix on Google?
Probably the latter, because it’s convenient and faster than calling customer service and waiting in a long queue to get your answer.
That’s how most customers prefer it now!
Customers today are savvy, self-reliant, demand convenience, and are comfortable searching for answers online without picking up the phone to call a customer service agent or use any other customer support option.
Given this scenario, it's important to improve customer satisfaction and customer experience by providing self-service options. To help you, we have curated this article to discuss a few important things.
What is self-service?
What are the different types of self-service support channels?
Tips to ensure that your customers optimize self-service support
According to Gartner, customer self-service and support is a blend of customer-initiated interaction technologies that are designed to enable customers to service themselves. It includes electronic records management systems, chat, and knowledge bases.
1. Online knowledge base: It is a centralized online library constituting resources that help customers understand your products and services better. These resources can include responses to frequently asked questions (FAQs), articles, video tutorials, how-to guides, and case studies.
2. Interactive voice recognition (IVR): An IVR system allows your customers to interact with an automated voice system that directs them through a series of service options. This frees up your customer support team to focus on critical tasks that need human intervention. The system can also be helpful in playing customized messages to your customers.
3. Online forums: Sometimes also called a community forum, an online forum is a platform where customers can interact with your agents to explain their challenges, suggest ideas, and seek guidance about your product or service.
This self-service channel enhances customer engagement and can help your business maintain a loyal community of customers.
4. Chatbots: These are computer programs designed to respond to specific questions or commands. They are either built with predefined questions and predetermined responses or are artificial intelligence bots that can answer questions by learning from previous conversations.
5. Customer self-service portal: A customer portal of sorts, it's a self-service tool that lets customers raise support tickets, attach relevant documents to their service requests, check support ticket status, access knowledge base, place and manage orders, etc.
Offering customers self-service options might not be enough. You need a way to ensure your customers don’t abandon their self-service journey before getting a proper resolution because of their negative emotional state (considered as one of the top reasons behind self-service abandonment).
You need to “build customer confidence by designing self-service channels and functionality to be clear, credible and reassuring, which make customers feel like they are on the right track and able to resolve issues on their own” (full report available to Gartner clients only).
Here’s how to do it:
Provide clear directions throughout the customer journey. For instance, the customer must know the sequence of tasks to perform to achieve a resolution. They must also be aware of the resolution timelines.
Use action-oriented language in the support content that lets the customers know from time to time that they’re on the right path. This boosts confidence in customers to self-serve.
Assure customers to indicate that no additional action is necessary once the issue is resolved.