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Customers First: The Best B2B Customer Service Blog

Why self-service is still good customer service

[fa icon="calendar"] Sep 14, 2015 9:30:00 AM / by Laura Ballam

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Providing a way for customers to help themselves is a good way of providing customer support.

Offering an option for customers to help themselves can give your customer support reps more time to focus on improving the big-picture aspects of your service strategy. Customer support software makes it easy to give customers what they want and need. According to a Coleman Parkes survey, 91 percent of respondents said they would use a knowledge base if it were available to them, and 75 percent said online support is preferable as long as it is reliable. Creating an online location for customers to seek out knowledge can be extremely useful as long as it is organized into channels. Popular self-service channels include frequently asked questions, a searchable knowledge base and online discussion forums. 

"Around 94 percent of people have found working with an agent to be difficult."

People like figuring things out for themselves
When most people think customer support, they picture live interactions with reps. But research from Nuance shows that most people prefer to help themselves. According to their report, 2 out of 3 consumers would rather help themselves than talk to a customer service agent to get answers to their questions. Those people said that they thought self-service was more convenient. Only 6 percent of the people surveyed said speaking to an agent is always more convenient, meaning around 94 percent of people have at some point have found working with an agent to be difficult. 

When self-service is better
It's ultimately more effective to let your customers choose when they need to speak with an agent. Here are some situations in which customers are better off helping themselves:

  • Quick questions
    When a customer has a quick question, submitting a formal ticket or talking with an agent can seem like too much work. By providing them with an FAQ page or a search function, you'll be giving them a way to access an answer as quickly as possible. 
  • Clarifications
    Sometimes a customer won't really have a question. Instead, they just need something clarified. Calling in or submitting a ticket for these inquiries may not be necessary. Offering self-service channels will save time for your reps and empower your customers to engage with your website and find what they're looking for. 

While self-service is a good customer service method, you still need to have a qualified and dedicated team to answer more detailed questions. You'll always run into people who prefer to speak with an agent for any and all of their needs as well. Providing both options lets you give your customers everything they want and need. 

   
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