Customer self-service channels allow customers to resolve issues on their own without having to call customer support for help.
This reduces the number of incoming customer support tickets, letting your team focus more time on the most critical issues.
It allows customers to resolve issues independently and get back to work faster, saving them time and eliminating their need to wait on your support team to resolve their issue for them.
But what exactly does self-service refer to and who benefits from it?
What is customer self-service?
It is the concept of equipping customers with the resources needed to resolve their own support issues.
When a customer encounters an issue, they can quickly find an answer themselves. They find resolutions in your knowledge base, customer forums, how-to guides, tutorial videos, FAQs, communicating with bots, etc.
In fact, experts predict that the use of support bots will increase at such a rate that by 2030 over a billion support tickets will be automatically resolved by bots.
Customer support teams never have to get involved.
Who benefits from sell-service?
The short answer is: Everybody benefits. Below we’ll dig into benefits in more detail but first we’ll quickly touch on some key, high level benefits.
Customers benefit because solving their own issues saves time, empowers them, and lets then get back to work faster.
This makes them more successful using your product and more satisfied with our brand.
Businesses benefit because customer support teams carry a lighter ticket load. They can devote more time and attention to the most complex customer issues.
Why is self-service so important today?
Customers increasingly turn to digital channels for help first, because contacting support can be a huge time drain.
Over 70% of consumers prefer self-service to resolve issues themselves because it takes less time and effort. In fact, most customers start by searching Google for results and move down through the five layers of self-service from there (see chart below).
Businesses realize that and are investing more in artificial intelligence and other self-service mechanisms. And they’re doing it at just the right time.
Millennials and those in Generation Z are more amenable to these technologies. And they are quickly dominating consumer demographics.
Digging into the benefits
Above we covered some high-level benefits received by both customers and businesses when self-services are deployed. Below we dig deeper into benefits to illustrate just how important self-service is and will continue to be.
Around the clock availability
Your customer support team can’t work around the clock unless you have reps around the word or have a night shift, which is impracticable for most businesses.
This is where knowledge bases, online how-to guides, tutorials, FAQs, and bots come into the picture.
Simpler issues can be resolved rapidly by bots. Resolutions to more advanced issues can typically be found in those other resources.
Greater job satisfaction
Because simpler issues can be resolved without human involvement, teams can focus more time on complex issues.
This often results in higher customer support rep job satisfaction. Reps no longer have to spend endless hours solving the same, mundane issues over and over.
On the other side, customers with pressing and difficult issues will get immediate, specialized attention.
Why? Self-service reduces the number of support reps you need so you can pay more for highly skilled, expert reps.
With the right self-service technology and resources, each support interaction (human or non-human) costs less.
As your business grows, you don’t necessarily need to hire an equally proportional number of reps. Self-service will increasingly handle the bulk of customer issues.
Motivating and inspiring your support team
When self-service resources do most of the heavy lifting, support reps are less stressed out and more motivated to help customers. Reps also feel a sense of purpose when they can help customers.
Research indicates that feeling motivated and helping others in the workplace increases employee happiness.
5 reasons to focus on self-service
Wondering why giving customers the ability to support themselves is so important? Here are five reasons to help you understand:
1. Customers want support channel options
Today’s consumers expect to be able to engage with your support team across at least 10 different channels.
Omni-channel and multi-channel customer service platforms increase the number and accessibility of support channels.
This gives customers more freedom, while you gain more control of the customer journey.
2. Traffic, retention, and referrals increase
Self-service tools increase website traffic. Better customer service experiences increase the likelihood of repeat business.
Additionally, satisfied customers are more likely to refer your brand to friends and family, raising brand awareness.
3. Speed and flexibility
Long wait times result in a poor customer experience and a toxic work environment for employees.
Self-service reduces these growth obstacles because they solve issues faster and offer more flexibility to the customer.
Moreover, many consumers associate a brand’s credibility with its support team’s ability to accurately resolve issues and answer product and service questions.
4. Efficient use of internal resources
When the number of customer support tickets decreases, customer support reps’ availability increases. Simply put, they can now dedicate their time to contribute to conversations.
A significant contribution to market value comes directly from intangible assets like customer support reps.
5. Improved cross-functional collaboration
Effective self-service normally requires a company-wide approach. When developing self-service resources, involve your support, sales, marketing, operations, and product teams early-on in the process.
These stakeholders can help you understand your customers’ common questions, pain points, and the channels they use most.
Are you ready to grow your own self-service offerings?
Customer self-service adds another tool to your growth arsenal. It supports your clients in a tailored and timely manner. Plus, it results in countless benefits for both the company and the customer.
Do your research. Focus on the channels your customers visit most. Understand their pain points, challenges, goals, and the common questions they ask.
Follow the advice above and you’ll see customer satisfaction, success, loyalty, and retention rates climb.