We humans are generally rather independent and inquisitive beings. As such, when we first come across a problem or issue, our first instinct is to attempt to solve it ourselves. The same things can be said about customer inquiries. When customers have a problem or question about goods and services, about 81 percent of them will try to resolve it by themselves before contacting a live representative, according to the Harvard Business Review. What the customer finds when trying to resolve their problems on their own will heavily affect their customer journey, even if a representative is successful in settling the issue.
With effective digital self-service, businesses can meet their customers’ needs faster while reducing the cost-to-serve. However, said self-service is not as simple as implementing chatbots or an FAQ page. Truly effective digital self-service is achieved through a well thought out strategy that takes into account the overall customer service initiative through as self-service portal.
The implementation of self-service should be based on organizational goals and customer needs. Businesses that haphazardly adopt random individual tactics will not get very far in providing an intuitive and help self-service system. Each segment of the self-service portal needs to be scrutinized to determine how it will impact the overall customer experience.
Turning Cost Centers into Profit Centers
According to a report by Hubspot in 2020, up to 31 percent of customer service professionals view their department as a cost center, with that number increasing every year. However, this does not have to be the case. By leveraging self-service, companies can establish a competitive advantage and open up new avenue streams. They can also utilize self-service to offer new products and services through contextual suggestions based on machine learning.
A Singular Support Hub
Self-service portals are a great way to streamline the customer experience as it allows all relevant information on a service or product to be centralized in one, easily accessible location. By creating a self-service customer portal with FAQs, knowledge bases, chatbots, and virtual assistants, customers will not have to scour the internet to find the solution to their problems or questions.
Self-help portals also hold the potential to develop communities where customers can also help each other with their problems. We can already see this to some extent with public online forums. In terms of business, companies can create communities where customers can voluntarily answer one another’s questions and share knowledge. Developing successful communities can result in increased levels of engagement and loyalty.
An Active Strategy
Rather than being a reactive strategy, companies can leverage their self-service portals in a more proactive way. Rather than waiting for customers to ask questions, organizations can utilize self-help services to proactively respond to potential issues. This can be done via predictive analytics, or based on past data. Such data will allow companies to predict some of the pain points of issues that customers may have with a service or product and address them pre-emptively via PSA or FAQ.