Oct 15, 2020 7:32:00 AM
Ultimate guide to boost your self-service strategy
Did you know that 64% of customers go straight to self-service options to solve their request rather than trying to contact an agent? On top of that, 69% of customers want to resolve as many issues as possible on their own. That’s quite a lot and definitively an opportunity you don’t want to miss out on, right?
Having the right self-service strategy in place helps you cater to your customers’ behaviour and meet their expectations. Unfortunately, observing the current landscape in customer service paints a different picture: less than 30% of companies offer self-service options.
Thereby, over two-thirds of companies are failing to address especially the target group of millennials between the age of 24 and 39, who currently represent 24% of the world’s population. Generation Y has become Generation DIY whose mentality reaches far beyond crafting. Their mindset craves for finding solutions to their problems on their own to which self-service is the perfect match.
Before we dive deeper, take a look at the following illustration and be real honest: Does your help page look similar?
There’s a lot going on here, trying to catch your customers attention and call for their action at once. Feels a bit overwhelming, doesn’t it?
Your help page is supposed to guide your customer to get the support they are looking for. Customers search your resources to find solutions to their issues and not to encounter more problems. In fact, 64% of customers frequently struggle to find answers on a company’s website.
If only there was a way to help them... Oh wait, there is! It’s called a successful self-service strategy and involves having a powerful help centre with static and dynamic resources!
Guide your customers to use self-service first
Great customer service puts the customer first. The logical consequence is pursuing a “self-service first” approach to give your customers what they want and need. Self-service options should always be the entry stage of your customer service funnel.
Pursuing an omnichannel approach does not mean that all those channels on which you are offering your support should be treated equally. In a first step, you want to help people to help themselves. This is the place for introducing the right self-service resources.
Implementing a successful self-service strategy means faster response times for both your customers and support agents. Your customers will find an answer to their question more quickly on their own and with the decreased amount of contacts, your agents can help other customers more efficiently.
Use internal resources to help your customers with external resources
Understanding your customers’ needs is the prerequisite for any successful customer service – self-service or otherwise. But lucky you, being in constant contact with your customers makes your support team experts in that field. From their requests and your shared conversations you gain valuable insights on their needs. Organised contact tracking and gathering this intel is a valuable source to base your self-service strategy on.
- Do you have a top 20 list of the most common requests your customers have?
- Are the requests simple or rather complex – could they have figured it out themselves, just with the right information?
- Are the answers to these common questions already on your website and if so, why are people not using it, but rather contact customer service?
Common elements of a resourceful self-service
The most common elements of a self-service strategy comprise static resources such as the content of your website, your FAQ and knowledge base. But there is also a different way to get your customers the help they need: a dynamic resource such as a chatbot. This guy will also help you manage requests from social media channels, such as Facebook or WhatsApp. Sounds promising? Let’s have a look at these different resources and how to ultimately bring some zen into your cluttered help centre with the right self-service strategy.
A real quick win for your help centre and self-service strategy is the implementation of a FAQ. Answering your frequently asked questions in writing will help you not having to repeat yourself over and over again in conversations on other channels. This is a comfortable entry level for your customers who are actively looking for a specific solution which is easy to display. Adding a search function lets you monitor what your customers are looking for and optimise your self-service offer and service experience continuously. It’s more complicated than a question about your payment methods?
A more elaborate element of a help centre is a knowledge base, containing useful articles and videos to explain your product(s) and service(s) so customers can learn more without having to contact your support agents directly. It usually provides the space to give detailed information on more complex matters and helps your customers troubleshoot their problems. A good knowledge base should be well-structured and provides an overview of all the big topics your customers are interested in, gradually leading to more granular information. A search function is a must and explanatory videos are nice to have.
On your website, you can even deploy your front-line support agent: a chatbot. This dynamic solution offers an active experience to your customers and is very flexible in its features. Automating your most repetitive requests and even personalised ones gives your agents some breathing space to focus their time and energy on the more complex cases.
Still skeptical of a chatbot’s use for your customer service? We’ve busted the most common myths which seem to persist even though chatbots have been around for a while now and are getting better by the day.
The beauty of a chatbot solution is that it can be easily integrated into the most popular messaging channels, such as Facebook and WhatsApp. This way, you can keep up with the pace of instant economy with low effort and automatically answer your customers 24/7 on your social channels.
Escalation options: Handover from chatbot to agent
Besides being able to present a precise solution in mere seconds, other advantages include a seamless handover to an agent. Some requests are beyond the scope of self-service and require a human touch. By this time your service representative already knows the scope of the customer’s questions via chat history, which leads to a quicker resolution time.
Having both a chatbot while offering a live chat does by no means exclude each other, the two channels rather complement each other in the customer’s quest for service. The same goes for email and phone. But in order to play well together, all of these channels should not be reachable at the same time for the customer. Yes, you should offer an omnichannel service, but only if you make sure to funnel your customer contacts. Otherwise, your omnichannel customer service approach is flawed.
Save people’s time (and some of their nerves, too)
Investing that time once to set up a successful self-service strategy (and keeping its resources up to date) will save you hours and hours in the future which you won’t be spending answering repetitive questions all over again. You empower your customers to find the solution they need, whenever they need it. And you give back power to your support agents to completely own their game and not be thrown off by an overflowing inbox, a phone which won’t stop ringing and the demand to engage on multiple channels at the same time. With the right self-service strategy you are able to create an environment which represents the ultimate service experience.
Karen takes care of Solvemate's content universe as content & communications specialist. When not writing about chatbots, you will find her watching Danish tv series (Dear Netflix, please talk to DR and add some new ones!), doing (aerial) yoga or trying out every recipe from Yotam Ottolenghi.