A well-designed customer self-service portal brings all the company’s self-service options to a single place and allows consumers to easily find answers to most of their product or service questions on their own, at any time. Its functionality mostly depends on the industry and the type of company. The following article describes customer self-service portal features based on the example of LiveAgent’s customer portal software. Other customer portal software solutions available on the market today may include a different set of features and functionalities.
Knowledge base is one of the key features of any customer self-service portal softare. When setting up a knowledge base, you can create categories based on your products, services or types of customers, and then add knowledge base articles within those categories. You can further chose whether a category will be publicly available or remain internal that is visible only to your customer support team in the agent panel. Articles will also have an option of being either ‘public’ or ‘internal’. It basically means that you can create knowledge bases for both, your customers and employees.
Publicly available knowledge base provides customers and prospects with an instant access to the information they need and the ability to resolve product or service issues on their own before needing any further assistance from a company’s representative.
Having an internal knowledge base is a great way for companies to provide their support agents with easy-to-find information that can speed up their responses when interacting with customers, as well as streamline communication across departments, saving their time and increasing agent productivity.
The multi knowledge base is an advanced functionality that allows creating multiple separate knowledge bases on different domains within a single account. Each separate knowledge base will have its own unique design, content and settings. The feature is helpful for those businesses that want to distinguish their customer support portals between different products or services to provide a better self-service experience for their customers.
Forums provide businesses with an opportunity to build communities with their users and enable customers to interact and help each other by answering each other’s questions and sharing best practices. It can save support agents a lot of time, as customers can get help from other community users who might have experienced a similar issue earlier and found a helpful workaround.
Since all forum entries are transformed into tickets, support agents can always be on top of important conversations and offer timely assistance whenever other forum participants are not able to help. When creating a forum you can add keywords for better SEO optimization, and select the department that will be responsible for handling forum entries.
The feature is aimed to encourage customers to share their feedback with businesses and ideas as to future product development and improvement. Each time a visitor submits feedback by clicking a feedback button that can be placed anywhere on a website, a new ticket is created, so the agents are notified immediately and can respond if needed.
In addition to feedback, it allows businesses to create suggestions (new product features, for example) while also showing the progress of their implementation. Once a suggestion is created, customers will see it in the knowledgebase and will be able to vote for it or add their comments. Suggestions can be added by customers as well - those will also be transformed into tickets so the agents can reply if necessary.
Placing the search widget on a website enables visitors to search the necessary information in the knowledge base articles, forums and suggestion boards. It helps customers to find answers to their questions more quickly and easily - without the need to search manually through all the content in the customer portal – saving their time and effort.
While customers are typing into the search widget, suggestions of available content regarding the inquiry will be displayed in real time. Once the search results are shown, visitors can click on the relevant link and see the appropriate content in the customer portal. It’s also possible to enable multiple widgets that will search only in particular categories of the customer portal.
A ticket submission feature enables customers to get in touch with a company’s support team, if they weren’t able to find answers to their questions on their own in the knowledge base articles and community forum. The section allows customers to submit support requests as well as manage their own tickets, read ticket history, see the status and track the progress of each ticket. Depending on how customer portal is set up, users may or may not be required to login or register to submit support tickets. Ticket submission functionality is included in most customer self-service portals.
When it comes to selecting customer self-service portal software for your business, there are many critical things to consider – such as which features are absolutely necessary and which ones would be ‘nice to have’. Creating a list of requirements would be helpful in evaluating different tools and narrowing down you search. Take into account the following important factors when choosing the vendor:
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