Customer service has many different aspects, and a business needs to find a way to focus on all the areas to up its customer service game. Customer self-service is an essential aspect that focuses on helping customers find the answers. Did you know that around 70% of customers use self-service channels to resolve their issues? So, if you have not hopped on the self-service wagon, it is time to provide your consumers with a proper platform.
What is Customer Self-Service?
Customer self-service is based on the premise that self-sufficient customers are happier customers. Believe it or not, not all customers are looking for customer support, and all they want to do is find quick answers to their issues and queries.
Self-service empowers customers to tackle their issues without any assistance from the company staff. This term applies to many activities, including searching for an online help center, picking up their groceries, etc. Many modern companies have shifted from a company-driven to a customer-driven platform by focusing on self-service.
Main Benefits of Customer Self-Service
Self-service in customer support helps the customers, the company, and the support team. Here are some top advantages of providing self-service options to customers -
Research has shown that when customers can resolve the issues by themselves, it can improve overall experience. Around 80% of customers across industries agree with this statement, as most consumers don't find it convenient to reach out to a representative for every single issue.
Customer self-service is a quick and direct way for people to solve their problems, which leads to faster issue resolution. Via a self-service portal, customers can find answers at any time without any waiting time.
While self-service is focused on helping end users, it also helps support agents by letting them focus on more complex customer issues. A customer help center or knowledge base can also act as a training tool for agents, and a well-made self-service platform can help agents work quickly.
As for the business, customer self-service leads to lower support costs, as it makes it possible to help a large number of customers at a much lower cost. Self-service dramatically reduces the cost of interaction, and as per a report, resolving issues through self-service can cost around 100 times less than a live interaction.
Businesses experience not only a lower support cost but also increased sales as a quick resolution portal can help customers go through a purchase more conveniently. This increases the probability of customers completing a purchase, leading to more revenue and better growth prospects for the brand.
Lastly, customer self-service can help users find answers to common and repetitive questions, which reduces the number of frequent questions in the support team's queue. This can lead to more productivity and a happier support staff.
What Should Your Customer Self-Service Knowledge Base Include?
Knowledge bases can be of two types - external and internal. While the internal knowledge base is used by employees of the business, the external knowledge base is available to customers, and it should include the following information -
Product & service-related information - FAQs, Product documentation, terms of service, user manuals & tutorials, usage instructions, troubleshooting articles & videos.
Search Functionality - It should be easy to search relevant articles using keywords.
User Account Management - Customers should be able to log in to submit support tickets, check ticket status, and modify account information.
Transactional information - Payment and refund details, shipping and return policies, refund criteria.
Multilingual Support - If you have a diverse customer base, consider adding content in multiple languages to ensure all customers can self-serve.
Easy & Effective Steps to Build a Customer Service Knowledge Base
A knowledge base is one of the most crucial elements of customer self-service, and this is how you can create it -
Begin by identifying the questions that come up again and again (FAQs) and create a priority list with less-repetitive questions at the end. For this, you can review support tickets and gather trends with CRM tools. You also need to understand how users interact with your website to understand the challenges faced.
Next, determine the base structure to design it in a way that is easy for customers to navigate through the guide. This depends on your customers and your products/services; for example, if customers have more product-specific queries, then the knowledge base can be categorized by solution. You can also add a prominent search bar at the top of the page so customers can find the solutions conveniently.
Now, you need to create a team called knowledge base contributors, which includes people who are in regular contact with the customers or who have technical expertise about the website and products. Building a team focused on writing content and updating the knowledge base can make the process easier and more focused.
Your contributors can write consistent content by following writing guidelines. Thus, create a guide that sets clear standards, like including clear language, avoiding technical jargon, and adding accessible alt texts. Once the content is written, ensure that it is proofread and the overall quality is up to the mark.
Apart from written content, your knowledge base also requires resources, like videos and screen recordings. You can employ visual content tools to create infographics and illustrations. Once done, create deadlines to ensure that the content is submitted on time.
Lastly, publish the knowledge base by using software that has all the essential features. Some of these features include search engine optimization and content management capabilities. You also need to employ AI and machine learning technologies to fill knowledge gaps and surface relevant resources.
Some Common Avenues to Offer Exception Customer Self-Service
If you want to enhance the self-service experience for your customers, you can include the following options -
Create an FAQ page.
Build a knowledge base.
Use automation, AI, and chatbots.
Publish pre-recorded "how-to" and "troubleshooting" videos.
Build a public forum/community.
Provide a mobile app.
4 Essential Tips to Enhance Your Customer Self-Service Strategy
To make self-service a successful experience for the business as well as the customers, you need to ensure that your strategy includes the following elements -
Discoverable Options: The true mark of great self-service is when customers can find the answers easily. You should include self-service options as the first touchpoint for every channel or medium. It can be done by featuring a link to your help center so that people can land on the relevant info page without any hassle.
Proactive Solutions: Another way to create an improved customer self-service platform is to ensure that the solutions are proactive in a way that customers don't need to ask for help in the first place. This can be done by sending a follow-up text after purchase to ask them how the experience was and if they have any concerns, as this can enable them to resolve the issues at that point.
Readable Content and Clear Terms: You don't need fancy technical jargon on the knowledge page or self-service portals, as they can confuse customers. Make sure to use customer-friendly terms to make the content easily readable and help customers find the answers most easily. You can also use an AI writing assistant tool to ensure that the info is grammatically correct and consistent.
Ease-of-Accessibility: The knowledge centers, chatbots, and portals should include options for people with distinct needs, like people who face hearing challenges or people who can't understand a particular language. This can be done by including foreign language speakers and offering the content in multiple formats, including video and text.
Customer Service Knowledge Base: Best Practices
Some common mistakes can make your knowledge base less effective in resolving customer issues. You can create an optimal guide by following the best practices mentioned below -
Your knowledge base should simplify complex information, and the language should be user-friendly. If customers aren't able to navigate through the guide swiftly, they might give up, which can lead to negative experiences. Self-sufficient customers want straightforward answers that are easy to find.
Build product-specific help centers so that your customers are not overwhelmed with too much information. Add advanced search capabilities to employ chatbots to deliver knowledge-based content on customer inquiry.
Create an "Ask the community" section to enable peer-to-peer support because sometimes customer queries are best answered by other customers. This can also create an inclusive community of buyers that can help each other, leading to better experiences.
Your knowledge base should be based on analytics and AI so that the support team has detailed insights. This can help the agents figure out new and popular trends that should be included in the guide, thus bridging content gaps.
Thus, a customer self-service platform helps everyone involved and creates a win-win situation. Ensuring proper self-service options can help businesses provide better customer experiences while focusing on other important issues.
If you are facing problems while creating self-service mediums for your customers, you can reach out to our team for a quick consult, and we can help you create a self-service experience that is well-suited for customer needs.