Maximizing the Value of Self Service Support

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Brendan Burnett

September 01, 2016

Effective customer service goes beyond keeping CSRs available through multiple channels. Your customers need self-service support options to attempt to answer their own questions. Customers don’t always have the time or inclination to talk to a support rep about their problems, and they’d rather try to fix it themselves prior to making contact. Self-service usage continues to rise, with Forrester reporting an increase from 67% to 76%. You need a solid self-service support strategy in place to maximize the value of what you have to offer, ensuring you deliver the information customers need on the channels they want.

Omnichannel Support Concerns

Some organizations tackle the self-service infrastructure problem by creating a support presence on every channel imaginable. You want your audience to know you have self-service support, but not every channel is created equally. In the quest to have your presence everywhere, you spread your resources thin and spend significant money on unused channels. Track your customers’ most popular channels and focus on a handful.

Are You Giving the Right Information?

Only 52.4% of customers find the information they need online. In some cases, the customer has a highly technical or advanced issue requiring escalation to tier 2 support or a supervisor, but in many other cases the self-service information is insufficient. Get feedback from your customer support department on common questions, problems and comments received through existing support channels. Cover frequent questions, leverage existing FAQs and browse through your brand’s social and forum-based communities to understand what your customers need.

Self-Service Support Delivery

Self-service support methods vary depending on your customers’ preferences, the amount of content required for your products and services and your customer service budget. Support centers provide customers with a wide range of information for their products. A typical support center or knowledge base asks the customer what product or service they need help with, presents several categories pertaining to that product and lists the support articles most likely relevant to the situation.

For example, some computer graphics card manufacturers offer support centers with a section for each graphic card model they produce, common problems associated with the cards, standard troubleshooting steps and software downloads for the card. Even if the customer can’t find an answer to his problem, he’s already gone through the initial troubleshooting steps. When he contacts the company directly, more time is spent working on a resolution than repeating basic steps.

FAQ documents address the most common questions customers ask about a particular product or service. Many customers find the information they want by looking through the FAQ. Digital product manuals are also useful for self-service support, since customers may get rid of the physical manuals. Sometimes customers simply don’t know the proper way to use your products. Instructional guides and step-by-step videos give them complete documentation on specific product uses.

The keys to quality self-service support delivery are a thorough information database and a properly organized support center. When the support content is cross-referenced and linked where appropriate, the customer spends less time searching for the articles they need. If it’s difficult to find information, the customer may end up more frustrated than they started. Effective self service support relies on identifying the content customers need, keeping the information up to date, focusing on the channels your customers frequent and adjusting to customer feedback. Your self service support options cut down on support call, chat and email volume, give your customers the sense of independence they enjoy and develops customer loyalty.