Best practices for a Comprehensive Self-Service

Customers are demanding. They know what they want, and they want it right now. This is a difficult thing to deal with as a business. Modern technology has brought the world to the fingertips of your customers and they have a higher level of expectation now. They want to be able to instantly access the information they are searching for.

No wonder customer service departments experience extra pressure to keep up with the changing demands of each customer. That’s why many businesses are turning their attention to creating top-notch self-service options.

What is self-service?

Self-service allows customers to find answers to their questions about product and the ways to get the most out of it on their own. Think of it like walking into a restaurant where you can seat yourself instead of waiting to be seated and then choosing to eat from the buffet instead of ordering off the menu. If you need additional assistance or want something that is not on the buffet you can ask a waitress for it, but most of the time you will be able to find what you want on your own.

Customers use FAQ pages, knowledge databases, and self-checkouts to solve their issues by themselves. It saves them time from having to call a customer service department. It also stops them from being frustrated by not being able to find the information that they are looking for.

A study by Aberdeen Group found companies that implemented customer self-service programs ranked higher than others in the following areas:

  • Customer effort score
  • Conversion rate
  • Customer retention
  • Average profit margin per customer
  • Improvement in average cost per customer contract

How to build a comprehensive plan

If you are ready to implement comprehensive customer self-service, follow these steps to get started:

Set up a strong FAQ page

To be successful with using a FAQ page, find a balance of being both simple and detailed. Group questions together into categories to make answers easy to find on the page – users tend to scan web pages to spot a piece of information they need.

Include an easy to find search bar for those that don’t want to scroll through the entire list. And, don’t forget to make the FAQ page easy to locate from any other page on the site.

Customers should be able to find the page without having to search for it. The more information the better, if it is organized and easy to search for.

Hulu has a great FAQ page. The first thing you see is a big search box making it easy to do a specific search for what you are looking for. And, as you scroll down there are more easy-to-access options.

Create valuable and easy-to-consume content

If you want your customers to have a good self-service experience you need to continue producing new valuable content on a regular basis. Detect the information your customers are struggling to find on your site and create new content to provide it. Or, review the material that is viewed the most often to see what your customers are regularly looking for.

Give your hand a try at video content. According to Wyzowl survey, video is preferred over text by 69% of users. Some questions are easier to answer by showing the customer the answer.

For example, if a user is having problems determining how to change the settings on their new smartphone it will be easier for them to see the steps they need to take instead of read about them. You can post guides and step-by-step instructions on YouTube and include the videos in the help section of your website.

Paypal is a great example. They have created an entire series of videos to walk customers through the process of how to use their services. Some people are more visual learners and watching how-to videos is exactly what they need to be able to get the answer they are looking for.

Back up your self-service with live chat

If your customers couldn’t figure it out with self-service, they would need to reach your customer service team for help. Cater to your clients and their preferences: Some people prefer email, others phone, but the statistics show that customers that use live chat are more satisfied with their customer service experience.

Phone calls can be time-consuming and emails can involve a customer waiting longer than they want to receive an answer. Live chat is another beast: It allows customers to get a fast answer from a real person. Also, customers can immediately contact your business, exactly when they need help.

There are many examples of businesses that have found success through Live Chat.

Add two-way texting to your plan

At the beginning of 2017, a study found that 77 percent of Americans own smartphones. That means the chances are that your customer has their phone with them almost 24 hours a day. The chances are your customers may need your assistance while they are searching for a solution on their mobile.

Here is when a two-way text messaging can be an appropriate self-service channel – allowing a real-time communication and keeping track of every message sent and received. Customers can text you their questions and receive immediate answers via SMS.

Also, such messaging can be proactive from your side. For example, you text your customer a notification about the change of their subscription conditions. A customer can text back a specific keyword or number to 1) agree with the changes, or 2) choose another subscription plan.

The world of technology is always changing, thus causing the world of business to do the same thing. Business owners who want to stay on top of their industry search for the best ways to give their customers what they are looking for. Right now, customers want fast access to the information they are looking for. They don’t want to wait to speak with someone at your company to obtain the answer.

By building self-service into your website you will provide customers and prospects with the valuable information they are looking for. In return, you will be rewarded with higher conversion rates, a reduction of funds needed for customer service, and more satisfied customers.

Andrej Csizmadia

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