Customer behaviour has validated the age old importance of self-help. A validation that contact centers have now started incorporating in their customer service offerings as well. While traditionally there have been a number of businesses, operating in different sectors that have been taking advantage of the self-service need of customers through their FAQ, blog or other sections on their website. There is always a cautionary tale attached with making users self-sufficient. 77% of customers say they view brands more positively if they provide self-service options for customers looking for support. Self-service enhances the brand experience and generates more goodwill among your customer base.
There are businesses, which offer the help with the right intention, but end up making themselves unapproachable or too difficult to feel connected with. This, in turn, harms everything they build their business for. In a scenario like this, where self-help customer service has become a sensitive matter, it is important for businesses to know the best practices or the do’s and don’ts of the act.
Making a page on your website the go-to place for finding answers can be a bad move. You should try to understand where your customers are coming in from, if they are even willing to have digital interactions, before you sell them the landing page. We suggest, you analyse your past channel usage data, example the number of calls coming through, or the number of chat initiated or the social media messages received or the email count to make an evidence based decision on which of your communication channels are the most used ones. An analysis of the customer interactions and their demography will help you categorize which demography prefers which channel of communication and what is their most common query.
So map your customers before you device your self-service strategy.
Before you roll out the how to articles or the troubleshooting manual, run it by the subject matter experts in your organization to check for technical correctness and with people who don’t understand the technology much, to check for the clarity of the content. See how they are responding to what they are reading and only then make it all live.
The result of your efforts towards incorporating self-help service will depend entirely on your goals. If your goal is only to reduce the expense on customer service at any cost, there would be greater chances of failure as your strategies will be influenced by the frugal thought process. Instead, if you aim at making customer experience better, while giving them the route to talk to your executive, the outcome will be a lot more profitable.
It is important you make sure you are offering a high quality service that is consistent with what the human executives would tell your customers, you should prepare a centralized knowledge base. The knowledge base should be detailed and not filled with jargons, to make it possible for the customers to understand it in one read. It is also important to note at what places are you going to integrate the knowledge base, the approach should be to make the knowledge base easily accessible and therefore integrating it with your most used channels will be an ideal situation.
An advanced level of your tutorials and self-help articles would be adding a community portal in the system. This would enable the customers to interact with other people facing the same issue and try to find a solution together. Doing this, will create an impression that you are willing to develop an entire community and not simply your siloed business vertical. Additionally, the community forum will bring out important loopholes and areas to improve.
The practices that you read above are ones that will take your intent to offer self-service to your customers towards a profitable outcome.
But there are also some bad practices involved, ones that would make it a failure, see them below:
While your FAQ page would cover a majority of the customer enquiries, there is always a chance that they might have other questions as well. In a situation like this, where even after going through your lengthy and multiple pages long FAQ section, customers did not find an answer. If you keep them lost in terms of how to go about getting in touch with a human executive, the experience would decline. A similar example is of the self-help integrated chatbot, while a chatbot can be taught to answer most of the common queries, it is ideal for the chatbot to have a transfer to live agent feature.
It is natural for a business' contact center to get caught up in their other tasks and missing out on the guides/collateral update tasks. But, doing this, - not updating the self-help guide can leave the customers feeling extremely frustrated, if not with wrong or incomplete answers and can even lead them to not continuing their business with you.
While there are many statistics that prove the importance and benefits of self-services, assuming that ALL your customers are comfortable finding answers themselves will be a costly misassumption. There are many customers who still do not like researching and prefer getting in touch with a human to get a direct response. Therefore, it is advised to focus on the customer journey before bombarding them with self-help articles and FAQs.
It is very important for you as a business to analyze what your customers are looking for. Only when you know the type of issues they can face, you will be able to draw out the plan for your customer care self-service system.
Even then, it is not advisable to take your customer through multiple layers of content. Do not give them a lot of information or a number of attached resources to read and digest. Be as direct and concise as possible when designing your content.
It will be extremely unwise to use the self-service section as a place to bait the users in for your marketing efforts. The intent here should be to help the users and emerge as the industry’s thought leaders. Something that cannot be achieved if you give them the information in return of their information for your lead management system.
So these were the customer care self-service system best practices that a business should follow to make the entire customer service experience extremely memorable for the end-users and profitable for their business. When done right, businesses will be able to not just offer impeccable service but also deliver a lasting impression on the customers’ minds, while coming on top of their competitors in the market.
Looking to incorporate the self-service offering in your business? Let us help you. Get in touch with our customer care system experts today!
Author Bio: Akanksha is an IT enthusiast, having an experience of 7 years in marketing and promotion. She has experience in varied industries, in positions working across the line of marketing. She is a day dreamer, an avid reader and a crazy traveler when she is not working.