Self-service is still good customer service. 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. And the right customer support software makes it easy to give customers what they want when they need it. According to recent industry research from Coleman Parkes, 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. Popular self-service channels include FAQs, a searchable knowledge base, and online discussion forums.
When customers can find the answers they need for simple problems without calling the support team or submitting a ticket, your team has more time to focus on solving bigger issues and being proactive in managing the customer experience.
When self-service is a better alternative to submitting a ticket
It's ultimately more effective to let your customers choose when they need to speak with an agent. Like when a customer has a quick question, submitting a formal ticket or talking with an agent can seem like too much work. Or when a customer doesn’t really have a question and really just needs something clarified. Calling in or submitting a ticket for these inquiries may not be necessary.
By providing them with an FAQ page or a Knowledge Base, you give them a way to access an answer as quickly as possible. Remember, however, that while self-service is a good customer support method, you still need to have a qualified and dedicated team to answer more detailed questions or solve complex issues.
It can be hard to find the best solution when it comes to handling customer service issues. Research from ServiceXRG indicates that demand for customer support is on the rise—overall support demand grew by 10.6% in 2020. And while self-service is often hyped as the solution to increased customer support requests, it’s not always clear which type of self-service support solution works best in which instances, or which common issues in support—like call abandonment and first contact resolution—are improved by customer self-service. Software Advice, a leading customer service software comparison and research company, has assessed the effectiveness of self-service customer support, and found that the most popular self-service channels are:
- Frequently asked questions (FAQs) page
- Searchable knowledge base (KB)
- Telephone interactive voice response system (IVR)
- Online discussion forums
Not surprisingly, the type of self-service used by customers varies by industry. For example, customers in the financial industry are more likely to call for support, while customers looking for software support are more likely to seek online answers. So, for software companies it makes more sense to implement online support options rather than phone for self-service. It’s also important to remember that when a customer uses IVR for support, they are probably expecting to speak with a live representative, not a self-service system.
In Part 2 of this series we explore ways to create a better omnichannel self-service experience for your customers.