Customers in the B2C and B2B sectors are becoming increasingly demanding in their expectations of service. One of the most important requirements for good customer service, according to many customers, is a fast response time. How quickly and effectively do you respond to your own customers? One concrete solution to this is customer self-service applications. Gartner confirms this in a study and has identified the expansion of the self-service channel as a top priority in "Key Trends in Service & Support Leaders' priorities for 2020".
Self-service applications satisfy not only the demand for speed but also the increasing need of customers to solve their problems themselves with intelligent self-service and automated customer contact systems. When a customer encounters a problem with your product or service, their first thought is no longer to pick up the phone. Instead of talking to a support representative, they want to find the answers themselves online via an FAQ article, how-to video or knowledge base. Gone are the days when a phone call was the only way to reach a support team.
Several studies have found that up to 70% of customers search for self-service applications on company websites. Self-service is no longer a "nice to have". It is a necessity to provide a comprehensive, positive customer experience. However, a customer self-service portal is only effective if you make it easy for customers to use, here are a few key points:
highlight the most popular FAQs about your service requests. One of the most important ways to make your self-service portal a valuable part of your service is to identify the main reasons customers contact your support team.
use video and audio where possible to visually show the customer where to do what action, or how to update / edit settings. It helps to solve problems faster and significantly reduces your service effort in case a support agent has to solve a problem.
Keep your content up to date. A knowledge database or FAQ section is not a project to be set up once and forgotten. It lives on your up-to-date content. Enable transparent but moderated interaction with your customers to make their experiences with the product available to others. Use the collective knowledge of your customers
Use the search behaviour of your users to continuously improve usability. Intelligently networked, self-service applications also provide important information on existing customer needs, product weaknesses and new requirements.
Optimise self-service for the high number of mobile users. An important feature of a great customer experience is ensuring consistency across all channels. One way to do this is to make it easy for your customers and allow them to access your self-service portal on mobile. Whether responsive or a standalone app - the user must also be able to find their own solution intelligently and without major hurdles on their smartphone. Around 75% of internet users in Germany access the information they want on the move (Statista 2020).
ensure a smooth jump to a personal contact person. A media break at this point would mean high damage to the entire customer experience.
Increasing customer satisfaction and loyalty are essential aspects, but what other benefits do self-service applications offer?
Your productivity increases significantly, your costs per service contact are reduced by up to 90% for standardisable enquiries with self-service applications compared to call centre enquiries. Furthermore, in the case of complex enquiries, you can increase your staff skills in a targeted manner during the first customer contact and thus make your service operations more efficient.
Service quality is increased not only by enhancing the service offering itself, but also by giving self-service and support staff access to the same knowledge. Consistent and quality-assured customer service is made possible.
Strengthening the 360 degree view of your customers, through integration with CRM applications the quality and speed of customer service offerings are improved. Every employee has the same information at all times, regardless of the communication channel, and is thus able to offer the customer the best possible solution and exploit the after-sales potential.
As you can see, digital self-service applications have enormous added value for your customers and your company. In combination with hotline and email, self-service portals form a multi-channel strategy to support the customer.