Why Customer Self-Service Is the Future of Support

How overwhelmed would your support staff be if they received a call for every single customer question no matter how small? The answer reveals the value of customer self-service.

Customer self-service is something all customers appreciate. They want to help themselves and get the answers they need now instead of waiting. One Microsoft study from 2020 found that 53% of customers have used an online self-service option. This number is expected to grow.

In this article, we explore the value of customer self-service and provide real examples of how to implement it into your customer support strategy.

Key Takeaways

  • Customer self-service is any business action a customer can complete on their own without assistance from an employee.
  • Self-service options are important in helping customers quickly answer common questions and troubleshoot simple issues.
  • Business websites should offer a support area with frequently asked questions and knowledge base articles that include step-by-step directions.
  • Customers should always have the option to escalate (or direct) issues to get  help from a human.

What Is Customer Self-Service?

In its simplest form, customer self-service is anytime a customer completes an action without needing help from a company employee. Customer self-service is becoming more and more common across multiple industries. 

Except for New Jersey, nearly all gas stations are self-service. You can find self-checkout lanes in most grocery stores. And, if you head a company’s website to find support, you will likely get prompted to check an FAQ page or get an answer using a chatbot.

As customer service technology continues to evolve, the availability and variety of self-service options continue to grow.

Why Customer Self-Service Is So Important

Think back to the gas station example. Before self-service stations became the norm, customers would have to wait until a gas station employee was available to pump their gas. While this service saved the customer from having to do it themselves, they had to wait longer to get what they needed.

Online customer self-service follows the same principles. If a customer has a question about one of your products or services, a self-service option, like a page of frequently asked questions might answer their question faster than calling or emailing customer service and waiting for an answer.

Speed is a critical factor in solving customer issues and customers expect self-service content to be quick and accessible. The Customer Experience Trends 2022 report shows that 56% of customers expect businesses to have some type of self-service option. If your business doesn’t let customers service themselves, you could end up with frustrated customers who may not come back.

Improving customer satisfaction through quick and easy customer service is an important part of the overall customer experience.

This video explores why self-service options are important and how you can use them with your business.

Types of Customers Self-Service

While self-service at a grocery store is a quick checkout lane, self-service on your website or phone system will be something different. Here are some of the most common customer self-service options.

1. Knowledge Base or FAQ

A knowledge base or FAQ is an area of your website where customers can go to get answers to common questions and find simple solutions to product issues. It should have navigation features customers can use to narrow down their question by product or problem. There should also be a search bar to type general questions. The final landing pages should offer step-by-step guidance on how to troubleshoot the specific problem. You should also always include an option to get more help, like a phone call, chat, or email.

If you have any solutions that are more technical, be sure to provide images or even videos of how to work through the problem.

A good example of a knowledge base can be found on Microsoft’s website. The “support” page clearly lays out the customer options. You can type in a general search, click on the product icon you need help with, or browse through trending topics.

Microsoft has a thorough knowledge base on its website.

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Many product databases are also connected to online forums. These are places where customers can ask direct questions or search through previous questions for solutions to unique issues.

2. Automated Chatbot

One type of automated customer self-service that has grown in popularity is chat bots. If a business offers a chatbot, it frequently appears in the bottom corner of their website. Customers can open the chat at any time and type in a question or concern. The chatbot asks questions to determine the customer’s needs. Sometimes chatbots provide a list of options for the customer to click on to help narrow down solution.

Chat bots can also be helpful in letting your customers know they are important to you. For example, outside of normal business hours, the chatbot on Televerde’s website can collect a customer’s contact information so an employee can follow up later during business hours.

A chat bot can help customers feel cared for.

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3. Escalation Options 

No matter where your customers turn for help, there should always be an option to get additional help or escalate their issue. For example, at the bottom of a step-by-step knowledge base article, you could include links to related issues along with an option to get more help, if needed. If a chatbot can’t solve the customer’s issue, it could connect them to a live person.

In the end, customer self-service is only a good option if it leaves the customer feeling empowered and not frustrated. If your self-service options are complicated, offer only workaround instead of real solutions, and do not offer human help, your customers may give up on your products and your brand.

Explore the Future of Support with Televerde

While your business needs self-serve options for customer support, it is also crucial that you have the human touch that so many customers want. If giving your customers the support they need has become challenging for your business, it may be time to partner with customer service experts.

At Televerde, we pride ourselves on helping businesses serve their customers through the entire customer lifecycle. If you are ready to modernize your customer support, Televerde is here to help.

Contact us today to explore all our customer support solutions.

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