Self-Service Support: Don’t Set It and Forget It

Whether supporting internal employees or external customers, service and support teams have always been the backbone of any business. But today, support plays an even more important role as customers now expect products and services to always be connected and working and for support to be immediate and always available. When something isn’t working properlywhether it’s 2 PM or 2 AM, New York City or New Delhisomeone needs to be available to help remediate the issue. It’s a near impossible task for many companies. After all, very few organizations can offer 24×7 customer support. There is hope, however.

Self-service, via help centers or portals, step-by-step overlays, AI bots, and user forums, is becoming more broadly adopted across organizations. Having a variety of self-service options ensures that there are always resources available to inform and answer customers’ queries. And not only are these methods a more efficient and cost-effective way of providing ongoing support, but it’s also how today’s customer wants to be supported.

According to Harvard Business Review, 81 percent of customers try to self-serve before engaging a contact center. Why? Because no one wants to wait in a queue for a human agent when their question might have a simple, straightforward answer. By empowering users to resolve problems on their own, companies can deliver faster solutions while freeing up support teams to handle more complex issues. Of course, this only works if you have solid self-service tools and the users are actually utilizing them.

Make Sure Your Help Center Is Actually Helpful

The help center or portal is the first step to self-service and acts as the foundation for other self-service tools. But help centers are only as valuable as the content they contain. Your help center should include information that assists end-users at every step of their journeywhether a new customer using the product for the first time or a lifelong user that may have come across a unique situation. Make sure your help center is easy to access, that answers are “findable” not just “searchable,” and that it is regularly updated with new information based on common requests coming into your support team. Organize your content from the perspective of your customers; you might even consider incorporating Natural Language Processing into your help center to assist customers in getting to a solution even faster. Finally, allow customers to easily initiate a support session from your help center if they can’t find what they are looking for.

Make It Visible

Customers aren’t going to self-serve if they don’t know what tools are available. Educate users about the different support options during the onboarding process. Often during onboarding, users are drinking through the proverbial fire hose, so it’s critical to show them where they can access digestible documentation like user guides, tutorial videos, and FAQs. This is a time to highlight your help center, portal, or other tools; how to use them; and the added benefit to the end-user. Make sure the information you share is easily accessible after the initial walk-through so that end-users can refer back to it after they begin using the product.

Let Every Interaction Be an Opportunity

Support calls are a great way to educate and empower end-users to traverse future hiccups on their own. Each customer interaction provides the opportunity not only to help your customers get more out of the products you provide, but to increase customer retention. If your support technicians are efficient and effective, customers will be more loyal to your brand. Take advantage of features within your customer support and engagement tools such as remote view, co-browsing, and even remote control as ways to teach your customers how to better use your product. In doing so, if the problem arises in the future, the end-user will know how to fix it themselves. By investing a little more time upfront, support teams will save time and money in the long-run.

With Self-Service, Everybody Wins

Self-service not only positively impacts your customers, but your support team as well. As you enable customers to self-serve, you free up your support team to work on other tasks. Lower level techs will now have time to solve more complex problems that may have previously been assigned to higher-level technicians. Your more advanced technicians can then devote their efforts to more strategic initiatives. Help make this transition more seamless by ensuring these solutions are thoroughly documented and tested. Then conduct ongoing training of tier 1 support reps to solve these more complex requests, utilizing the documentation created. As you do, your team will be able to provide more efficient and cost-effective support.

Empowering users with self-service support is a victory for both the user and the support team. Being able to push frequently-asked questions to a help center or chatbot helps the users get the instant answers they crave and makes the job of the support agent more interesting as they work on higher-value queries and can put effort toward strategic initiatives. Self-service is not the silver bullet for customer support. The human touch is still required for many queries, but by offloading some of the work to self-service tools, agents will be in a much better position to deliver the game-changing support that creates higher satisfaction and increased productivity.

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