The purpose of excellent customer service is to empower customers.
Therefore, it is no surprise that customers increasingly prefer being able to find solutions for their problems themselves, instead of relying on traditional customer support.
In fact, a study by the Harvard Business Review found that 81% of customers across all industries try to resolve an issue themselves before reaching out to the customer support team.
Adopting a self-service approach doubly benefits your company: in addition to improving customer satisfaction, it reduces the need for hiring more CS professionals.
So how can you deliver an excellent self-service experience to your customers?
In this article, you’ll get six great tips on how to supercharge your customer support.
Make Use of FAQs
Creating an FAQ page is a fantastic way to empower customers to resolve questions quickly, faster than they would by contacting a customer support team.
Traditionally, after users request support, they have to wait for a professional to pick up their case and get back to them with an answer. The entire process can take hours or even days.
It only takes ten seconds to look up that same information on the FAQ page.
Creating an FAQ page is also a fantastic way to reduce the workload of your customer support team. Customers will spend less time trying to contact them, and instead rely on self-service whenever they have a problem.
Moreover, the cost of implementing FAQs is minimal. All you have to do is to add another page to your existing website. That’s far cheaper than hiring more CS professionals.
If you want to make your FAQ a valuable self-service resource, highlight the most popular questions first.
Look at how Vimeo organized its FAQ page.
If Vimeo’s users have any basic questions about their services, they can easily find answers in the FAQ section. There are additional resources available on the left-hand side as well.
Consult your customer support team when creating the FAQs. Your team members have the most insight into what questions are most sought after. You’ll need their knowledge to craft the perfect FAQ page.
Next, let’s talk about visuals.
Create Visual Walkthroughs
Users can get stuck when using your solution. A great way to help your clients is to create step-by-step instructions on how to complete a certain task, complete with visuals.
Visual step-by-step guides are the fastest way to answer your client’s questions. Instead of telling them how to resolve a problem, you’re showing it with your content.
For example, if a client has trouble changing their password, they can find screenshots on your page that will guide them through the process step-by-step.
Visual walkthroughs save clients from contacting customer support. Clients no longer have to fill in support forms, send emails or wait for the CS to answer their request.
If you want to help your clients, you’ll empower them with visual guides.
Include screenshots to show clients where they need to click to resolve their problems. Highlight where to look, so users can easily follow the process, step by step.
Video tutorials are also a great alternative, especially if a process is complicated and can’t be covered with a handful of screenshots.
Produce video guides where a CS specialist explains how to complete it.
Make sure your step-by-step guides are easily accessible to users. You can compile them in a knowledge base customers can access any time they have a question.
Keep Your Self-Service Content Updated
Outdated self-service content is useless to your users.
It doesn’t help your users solve their problems with your product but instead only frustrates them.
When you rely on outdated self-service content, you force your users to constantly guess where they need to click as they switch between the old content and their updated dashboard.
Imagine trying to solve a problem with today’s Google Drive dashboard using video tutorials from 2010. The user interface on the video would look different, so it would take you more time to find your way around and resolve your problem.
Whenever you redesign your product, update your self-service content as well. Your customers expect it.
According to a survey by Vanilla, 79% of customers expect organizations to provide valuable self-service support content to help them find answers without the customer support team.
If the self-service content is outdated, they won’t be able to do so.
If you haven’t updated your customer self-service content, read closely.
Check precisely when you last updated your self-service content.
Consider all the changes you’ve made to your product since your last update and create fresh self-service material.
When SuperOffice updated their FAQ page, it led to an increase in FAQ reads from 50 000 to over 300 000 in less than two years.
While you’re at it, you can review your old self-service content and improve it further.
For example, if you only relied on FAQs in the past, you can add self-service videos that explain things in more detail.
Launch a Community Forum
Community forums are the cornerstone of customer self-help.
Before websites had chatbots and easy-to-use content, customers relied on forums to find solutions. Forums remain a great community-building tool for your company.
A branded company forum is where customers can ask product-related questions, and other customers can share their experiences and answer questions.
Forum moderators also provide solutions.
Finding an answer this way can be much faster than requesting customer support.
The WordPress community forum is a fantastic example.
In addition to being fantastic self-service tools, community forums excel at fostering a sense of community.
Research by CMX and Leader Networks found that 86% of surveyed users think having a branded community platform has a positive effect on a company’s core operations.
If you want to improve your customer self-service experience, consider launching a community forum.
You can start by creating a forum page on your website and dividing it into key categories.
Again let’s look at WordPress.
Categories make it easier for customers to pinpoint experiences similar to theirs and find answers faster.
Appoint a good forum moderator. Pick a knowledgeable CS employee with advanced written communication skills.
Then, ensure your moderators actively browse the community forum and answer all questions.
And finally, encourage your customers to use the forum and take part in discussions.
Improve Self-Service With Chatbots
Enabling a chatbot automated support solution is a terrific way to improve your customer self-service experience.
Chatbots allow your clients to initiate guided support themselves. The client requests a chatbot that picks up instantly and helps resolve their issue.
The process is like watching a step-by-step self-support video, but the support happens in real-time.
A fantastic example of efficient automated support is the use of chatbots in the banking industry.
Have a look:
Whenever users have a problem that they would usually contact customer support for, they request a chatbot instead. Users don’t have to wait forever for the CS to pick up.
Automated support is one of the fastest-growing self-service trends.
A report from Salesforce found that roughly 32% of companies in the financial services industry use automated support for their customer self-service. Another 37% of companies plan to adopt them in the foreseeable future.
There are a couple of ways to do it.
You can develop a chatbot yourself or outsource a development agency to do it for you.
Another option is to deploy an out-of-the-box automated support solution. Pick a chatbot provider that suits your business needs, and integrate a pre-made chatbot into your software.
However, remember that pre-made chatbots often follow a fixed decision tree structure when interacting with clients and have little room for improving their AI.
You can also connect your software to a specialized AI solution. Advanced chatbots can run through complete databases of previous customer questions and CS answers.
Based on customer replies, they can tell if an answer was helpful and improve with every interaction.
Build a Self-Service App for Your Customers
Today, apps are an integral part of a customer self-service experience.
An app gives your clients quick access to an improved version of your desktop experience.
For example, you can add an easily accessible help center to your mobile app and enable your users to find answers to their questions through their mobile devices.
If you don’t have a mobile self-service solution, you’re ignoring the needs of your customers.
Software Advice has found that 75% of users aged between 35 and 44 years use mobile devices several times per month to seek support.
If you still haven’t optimized your self-service for mobile users, this statistic should be a wake-up call.
If you want to offer instant and better customer service, you’ll consider a mobile app solution.
- Make all your self-service resources available in your mobile app by creating a knowledge base.
- Collect data from your mobile app to see which self-service features your customers are using the most. You’ll identify improvement points, which will allow you to provide a better experience down the line.
- Implement automated self-service features like chatbots to supercharge your service.
Empower your users to use your app every time they’re having trouble with your product.
Gone are the days when your clients would have to wait for the customer support team to solve your product-related problems.
A fantastic customer self-service experience is the norm of today’s customer support.
If you want your product to maintain a high standard of user experience and help your customers resolve their problems with lightning speed, you’ll implement some tips we covered.
Until next time!
Bio: Michelle Laurey works as a VA for small businesses. She loves talking about business and sharing her experience with others. Outside her keyboard, she spends time with her Kindle library or binge-watching Billions. Her superpower? Vinyasa flow! Talk to her on Twitter @michelle_laurey.