Businesses are always looking to improve their customer support offering and, most importantly, their bottom line. As a result of this, support has evolved over the past decades in unison with technology – from email tickets to live chat – with the “self-service portal” being one of the newer technologies companies are using to provide solutions to customer issues. In fact, self-service has become so popular that some customers may prefer it over more traditional support methods.
While the technology is great, how exactly does it save a company time and money enough that it justifies the cost of setting up, implementing, and maintaining a self-service system? Here are the top 3 ways…
- Self-service decreases ticket volume – Ticket volume is a crucial stat for customer support professionals. It’s directly tied to not only your operating costs but also your staffing and employment needs. So what if you could decrease ticket volume by a substantial percentage AND make your customers happier? Well, more customers are seeking out answers online before contacting support, especially for easy questions. Using a self-service portal, you can answer these questions in a single location that is available online at any time. You can even continue to optimize your self-service solution by looking at reporting and analytics within your customer support software. This will help you identify frequent ticket topics that don’t have existing self-service content and develop online messaging to answer these questions. Making sure the content is relevant and is exactly what your customers are looking for will help drive even more people to your self-service solution.
- Increase employee retention – There are many reasons why employee retention is important, and staff turnover is often an unforeseen cost in customer support. At the end of the day, support employees want to be challenged and not pigeon-holed into a limited support “tier”, answering simple requests over and over again. Addressing easier questions via online self-service eliminates the monotony of having your support agents answer the same questions repeatedly. It also ensures customers inquire only when an issue is complex enough to merit a direct conversation. The support team may deal with tougher questions, but finding the answers will be more challenging and rewarding to them. Engaged employees who see the results of their efforts are generally happier, stick around longer, and work better with others. Retaining employees saves companies money on new hire training costs, and the referral employees you receive are generally high-quality – people like to brag about where they work when they're happy, and good candidates are impressed by colleagues with long tenures at a company.
- Reduce ad spending via improved organic search rankings – These savings may not impact a support department directly, but it will be one your business development group will love and can help you get organizational buy-in for a self-service solution. Simply put, why pay for online ads when you can rank organically in search engines for free? A properly configured self-service portal can do just that and will show up in search engines for a wide array of topics. Adding humanity to your self-service information also goes a long way in making sure the content does well in search engines. This indexing of your content can not only help your current customers but will show potential customers that you offer these services when they search for information. With this said, it’s always good to have contact information on your self-service pages for anyone reading them to reach out to talk to your company. Make sure the contact information is general enough that even if the inquiry isn’t from a customer you can easily and seamlessly pass it on to the sales team for them to follow up. This is just one example of how self-service can help save money on lead generation costs for your company.
In short, customer self-service helps you save time and money by decreasing the total amount of staff needed to resolve current customer issues, making support staff happier, and assisting in the sales and information processes. In the future, don’t be surprised if more companies look to add or bolster their self-service solutions to be even more customized for their audience. This will likely be done by providing personalized content and anticipating future needs to make sure your customers have the right information when and where they need it.