Author: Nick Sellers, Senior Director, Strategy and Marketing
Consistent, easy, and efficient experiences are the key to customer satisfaction and loyalty. There’s no single way to provide great customer service. Rather, it takes a variety of perspectives and initiatives to make sure customers are receiving the best service possible. Today’s customers have higher expectations for service and want to be in control of resolving their own problems, and to have the resources to fix them.
Customers have become adept at using a number of channels in search of support. Companies have the opportunity to create great service experiences by providing relevant knowledge wherever customers are looking for it—including self-service options.
In fact, 2014 was the first year that web self-service surpassed the voice channel for customer service, according to Forrester. This trend is only expected to grow as customers embrace technology and mobile as their first choice for solving problems—and taking control over the process.
More recent research finds that 73% of customers want the ability to solve product or service issues on their own and that 65% of them “feel good” about the company when enabled to do so. This trend is strengthened by additional research that found 90% of consumers now expect a brand or organization to offer a self-service customer support portal. Sixty percent want that portal to be mobile responsive.
Your customers’ desire for self-sufficiency doesn’t mean that assisted support is less important, but rather that a comprehensive, integrated approach to service across channels is growing in importance. While a self-service platform can provide a great start, it will not deliver ROI and answer user acceptance challenges on its own. Companies must address the entirety of the customer service experience to achieve their desired results and retention.
Use the Expertise of a Customer Services Provider to Get Self-Service Right
Customer service should be viewed as a profit—not a cost—center. The research proves this out. However, creating and sustaining consistent, effortless, and efficient experiences across the channels where your customers demand it is easier said than done well.
Consider the following:
- Defining which tasks are best for self-service: It’s not feasible in some cases to empower customers to solve problems—especially with complex products and technologies. Simple, straightforward tasks are best suited to the self-service channel. However, the rise in use of explainer videos can expand this definition. But, this doesn’t mean that complex issues should never be mentioned. Self-service knowledge can help customers troubleshoot more complex issues and understand when to use assisted channels to eliminate frustration before it happens.
- Streamlined interactions: One of the things customers dislike is not being able to find information and answers quickly. Self-service information that either walks them step-by-step through solving an issue or prepares them to have the information needed to solve a more complex issue through assisted channels can streamline the process, helping them get to resolution more quickly and painlessly.
- Coupling self-service with assisted support: Help customers successfully resolve issues with self-service by using assisted support to guide them through using it. Coaching customers to complete a self-service interaction results in higher confidence that they can resolve issues on their own the next time they have a question or need. Self-reliant customers are happier and your costs for service and support are lower.
- Continuous improvement: As you’ve seen in the research above, customer service preferences are changing fast. Determining a self-service strategy is not a once-and-done effort. A vendor who has the analytics capability to uncover insights about how expectations are changing, as well as adapt to meet them can bring consistent KPIs tied to business objectives for customer service and support.
Self-Service Requires as Much Attention as Other Channels to Get it Right
Self-service is available to many customers already but still they call, email, text, or chat, looking for assisted support. Why does self-service fail to answer their needs? A customer contact center outsourcer can bring the expertise to help you treat self-service as strategic and incremental as your customers’ expectations and needs evolve. Given the consequences of getting self-service wrong which can result in loss of customers, negative social reviews, and diminishing brand reputation, using the expertise of a vendor that has demonstrated success in the self-service support that customers crave can make a huge difference to the bottom line.
Learn more about our self-service customer support solutions.