Self-service is rapidly emerging as the preferred option for most digital consumers. In a world where we can all access online shopping experiences in seconds, no one wants to deal with a clunky or stressful service journey.
Around 67% of customers say that they’d prefer to use self-service options instead of speaking with a representative.
When your customers are actively looking for ways to address their own service issues, it’s important to ensure that you have the right solutions available.
At the same time, having self-service offerings in place also gives you an opportunity to reduce the stress on your employees.
Today, we’re going to look at the ultimate checklist of points you need to consider when implementing the correct self-service solution.
1. Invest in the Right Self-Service Software
The first step in creating a sensational self-service experience is making sure you have the right tools in place.
If you’re working in B2B marketing, selling specialized software solutions, for instance, you might create a self-service portal.
Such portals allow customers to troubleshoot common issues by looking for directly answers to commonly asked questions.
Portal content can also include webinars that teach users how to access and use specific features, along with various articles and knowledge base posts.
There are a range of reliable self-service software options out there depending on your budget and needs.
Options include creating a standalone portal that sits separately from your current website and store or build functionality into your existing site.
Remember, the capabilities of your self-service software should be adapted to the needs of your customers.
A software solution will also enable you to identify those needs, as it will give you critical access to analytics and insights into your customers so you can constantly improve the content.
You can track how often a certain problem affects your clients or what kind of tools they use most often when they need help.
2. Use a Knowledge Base to Answer Common Questions
A knowledge base is often a crucial part of a good self-service portal. However, you can also design content for it, as well as standalone FAQs, without investing in a full solution.
A knowledge base is a quick and affordable component of self-service that helps customers to solve common product issues and answer simple questions.
To determine what kind of questions you should be answering in your knowledgebase, speak to your sales and marketing staff.
Your sales employees will give you information about customer feedback and what kind of problems are common among your audience.
Your marketing employees, on the other hand, will have an insight into the questions that customers ask about your brand or product when searching on Google, or communicating on social media.
The more you listen to your audience and their common concerns, the more you can offer insightful and helpful information.
Once you establish your knowledge base, make sure your customers can find it easily.
3. Implement Chatbots and Virtual Agents
Human beings will always have an important role to play in delivering the best experience.
However, bots can deal with repetitive concerns and common queries more quickly and efficiently than falling back to human based service – it also provide a better employee experience.
When building on your self-service strategies, combine chatbots and virtual agents to support your customers as they search for answers.
For instance, a chatbot on your website can answer common questions by responding to keywords and phrases in a customer’s question. This saves your customer the time of searching through information on your website.
It also means that they don’t have to wait on hold for a human agent. This allows human agent to dedicate their time to resolving more demanding issues.
Chatbots are becoming more common and Gartner anticipates that by the end of this year (2021), around 1 in 6 customer service interactions will be handled by bots.
If you do decide to introduce bots to your service, make sure there’s an easy way for your customers to escalate their conversation to a human agent if they have any issues.
4. Expand Mobile App Functionality
If you already have an app where your customers can shop for crucial products and services, and check out the latest deals, try using the same solution for your customer service options.
The right app can also improve your ability to serve and support your customers as they use your products and services.
Apps can deliver context relevant self-service support to:
- Set up new purchases with step-by-step instructions, videos, and guidance.
- Provide training — where customers can go and learn about the features and benefits of your product or service.
- “Request a call back” if they have trouble finding the answer they need and require human support.
- Repeat a purchase,
- Update subscriptions
- Make simple changes to services without having to turn to a human for help.
5. Don’t Forget the Human Element
As you expand your self service experience remember, there are still people and situations that require human support.
Ultimately, while many repetitive and simple issues can be handled by automated systems and FAQs, there will still be times when your customers need extra help.
If you want to deliver the best possible customer service, you need to ensure that you’re offering opportunities to escalate.
Escalation means that all your customers need to do when they can’t get the right information from a self-service system is click a button.
This should allow the client to either request a call from a human agent, send the conversation to the company in a support ticket, or access human guidance in another way.
Being able to transition the conversation from self-service to a human-agent experience ensures that the customer and brand interaction remains streamlined.
Don’t forget, if you decide to give your customers the option to accelerate their conversation to a service representative, always include the context of the conversation in the service request for your agent.
This will allow the agent to pick up where the conversation left off.
About the Author: Matt Young
A professional writer and a technology journalist, Matt sees himself as a fun, easy-going guy who loves all things space and cats. Get to know him more on Twitter and LinkedIn.