What Is Customer Self-Service? 4 Scenarios That Call For It.

A need for customer self-service

Despite living in the age of quick tech, if the business’s customer support team is swamped, response times could run unbearably long. Calls could be left on hold for hours, and email responses could take days! In the 21st century, where people want instant gratification, a poor customer experience could spell business disaster. An American Express survey found that 78% of customers have abandoned a purchase because of a bad customer experience. 

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This is why offering customer self-service can be a great option. This can help customers find solutions on their own. No wait time. No hassle. 

So, What Exactly is Customer Self-Service or CSS?

Customer self-service is a proactive customer support system that empowers users to find solutions to their problems quickly on their own. It does not mean that customers are left entirely to their own devices. Instead, it involves designing a user experience that supports people to find what they need. It is a quick way to troubleshoot repetitive customer queries. 

Instead of waiting around for a customer support agent, a self-serve option allows customers to find relevant answers or solutions on their own, and at any time they need to. Through a combination of FAQs, knowledge bases, and interactive technologies like chatbots and portals, self-service options not only enhance the customer experience, it actually offers a degree of power and self-reliance back to customers, who will no longer be dependent on companies to be available when they need urgent answers. 

For instance, having a knowledge base for a SaaS product can allow customers to find step-by-step instructions on using a particular feature instead of trying to get through to an agent to guide them. An FAQ page can provide immediate answers to routine questions. Web-based CSS portals with how-to tutorials can support multiple formats and allow customers to access information in a way that is most convenient to them. 

A Coleman Parkes survey found that 91% of consumers are willing to use online self-service knowledge sources to find speedy solutions.

Not just that, customer self-service portals with interactive elements like forums, bulletin boards, and group chats can help foster a sense of community. A thriving digital network where customers help each other find solutions to problems can be a great way to boost customer satisfaction and retention through a sense of belonging. It can also significantly contribute to brand image.  

What Are The Benefits of Implementing Self Service

Most consumers today are tech-savvy. They can navigate through websites and portals with ease. This, coupled with a growing demand for quick and painless solutions, has led to many companies offering customers effective self-service. Tech giant Microsoft has reported that 77% of its users have accessed their self-service portal. Across industries, as much as 81% of customers try to resolve issues independently, if they can, before reaching out to a customer support agent. 

Adopting a self-service-first option with minimal human interaction has many benefits for businesses as well:

1. Minimized Costs

The average cost of a service desk ticket was $15.56 in 2016, with a high of $46.69. If your customer service agents are handling repetitive customer queries, this is massive wastage of resources. Routing mundane, frequent issues through self-service channels will reduce your ticket volumes, therefore reducing operational costs. This way, agents can focus on more essential and specialized tasks that can help with revenue generation.  

2. Improved  Productivity and Employee Morale

When contact centers don’t answer mundane questions, they will have time to solve complex customer issues. A PwC research shows that 65% of those surveyed felt that AI-backed assistance like chatbots would free employees from menial tasks. This bodes well for both customer experience and employee experience since agents will have more time to spend on essential tasks. 

3. Deeper Insights

A customer self-service option through portals, chatbots, and forums can be an excellent source to track consumer behavior. This can give your business powerful insights into the most common problems or challenges customers face when using your product or service.

4. More Website Traffic

78% of consumers research a product or store online before making a purchase. Creating specialized FAQ pages, knowledge centers, and other content-based resources can help build brand awareness and drive organic traffic to your website. 

Customer Self Service

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Giving customers self-serve options does not mean doing away with human help. It is a way to augment customer service experience by handing over some autonomy to them to get answers to their problems quickly and efficiently. 

Customer service representatives can focus on solving complex and unique issues instead. 

4 Scenarios Where Customer Self-Service Is the Best Option 

1. Your customer support agents are up to their necks with repetitive requests 

One of the most common problems in the customer service industry is the rising number of inbound tickets that are repetitive. 

Research from DigitalGenius and Canam Research says that 80% of customer service leaders have found that as much as 40% of their team’s tickets are repetitive. Yet, agents may need to toggle among 5 to 8 different systems to resolve these queries. When coupled with handling multiple requests at once, this can be highly-pressurizing for support reps. 

In such cases, having a self-serve option for customers is the ideal solution. Not only will this free up time for agents, but customers will also get a speedy and accurate solution to their problem. Chatbots, assist-bots, and even FAQ pages are easy customer self-service options to offer. 

2. You have customers in different time zones 

Imagine a global SaaS company with a customer support team sitting out of India. If customers in the United States reach out with a query, they may have to wait anywhere between 5-12 hours for a response. The delayed support can hamper customer satisfaction and even cause you to lose clients. 

Human-agent support may not be possible 24×7, but self-service can be made available round the clock. AI-driven chatbots can simulate human conversations closely and direct distressed customers towards the right resources that can help them troubleshoot issues on their own.  

3. You have a plethora of knowledge to share

Not every feature, advantage, and quirk of your product can be covered in product pamphlets or brochures. Even the product page on your website may not be sufficient to outline everything you offer. 

Yet, you may want to share this with your customers to improve their experience and engagement with your offerings. Or, you may be launching a new feature to an existing product. 

Instead of scheduling a detailed demo session with all customers, a customer self-service portal with a comprehensive guide could be a more effortless and cheaper solution. 

4. You’re looking to take your company digital

For a company looking to create an image of tech-savviness, providing self-service options is a great way to bolster that image. Customer self-service can be an active digital customer support strategy. You can take digital engagement and support to the next level with tools like predictive analytics, chatbots, and other IoT technologies. 70% of customers who engage using company websites expect them to offer a self-service application. 

The Best Self-Service Portals to Consider for Your Messaging

1. Knowledge Base

A self-service Knowledge Base (KBase) is a centralized portal that provides information, guidance, and support data. Providing a searchable knowledge base can help customers find how-to instructions. 

A well-structured KBase offers intuitive navigation for customers to find answers. You use the knowledge base to provide answers via support articles, videos, or GIFs that can provide quick assistance without any human interaction. 

To understand whether your customers are adopting your knowledge base as a self-service option, measure the traffic to these pages. You can take a call on how you wish to utilize a KBase based on how your customers interact with it. 

If you’re setting up a brand new knowledge base, measure the impact of its presence on the number of ticket deflections on the topics you have covered in the KBase. 

2. Chatbots

Research from PSFK indicates that 74% of customers prefer chatbots when looking for answers to simple questions.   

AI chatbots are one of the most effective tools to have in your customer self-service repertoire. Chatbots eliminate wait times, they speed up resolutions and it does this by interpreting customer intent. Chatbots are an ideal solution for lean teams who are scaling. 

It provides teams with the opportunities to focus on pressing support matters by automating routine queries. 

Customer Self-Service

There are endless use-cases for chatbots, be it in support, customer engagement, and even sales. For instance, chatbots can integrate with apps to make payments and booking without leaving the chat or seeking human assistance. Moreover, if you are looking for a one-stop self-service solution, then a chatbot is the way to go. 

The best way to tell if bots are working for you is by measuring the increase in zero contact resolutions. If the bots are constantly reaching a dead-end in the conversation or transfer to the agent, there is a gap in the conversational workflows. But don’t fret, AI chatbots, will point out these gaps for you and learn as you fill in the gaps. 

3. Agent-Assist Bots

Self-service can benefit not only customers but internal teams too. Agent-assist bots, function like personal assistants to customer agents. They can scour your knowledge base, FAQs, and other chats to provide agents with quick information on how to solve customer queries. They help with faster resolution and can dramatically boost both agent and customer experience. 

Talk to your agents to understand where they need help in ticket resolutions. With the agent-assist bots, if your agents record lower resolution time and higher productivity, you know it’s working. 

4. Community Forums

A company’s community forum is a way for customers to ask questions and interact with other customers. Here, customers can ask questions about the product, a solution, or even discuss new ideas. 

For customers, this space can be the quickest way to receive answers. For businesses, this space is an unrestricted resource to understand the thoughts of customers. 

To understand how customers are benefiting from the community and to understand common themes that could highlight behavior, measure the text frequency, this way, you can learn how your customers feel about your product’s features. 

Also, measure the message origination channel, you can find out why customers are heading to the community for answers. 

Support Your Customers the Right Way with Freshdesk Messaging

If you are ready to help your customers help themselves, you need a partner who can integrate the best self-service practices into your system. Elevate your customer experience with Freshdesk Messaging’s self-service options by building an intuitive, integrated and powerful self-serve system. From highly-optimized messenger native self-service options to smart chatbots that are multilingual, get onboard the modern customer service train. Reach out to us to find out how.