Benefits of self-service customer supportOpinion ·
More than anything, customers like to feel in control. In recent years, customers have developed increasing expectations of the services they receive. Thus, it’s no wonder companies have started looking for innovative ways to improve their support for customers to enhance the user experience.
Now, customers are given the power to help themselves. Self-service customer support options allow faster problem resolution while reducing strain on customer support teams. If customers can easily find what they are looking for, they will be able to solve their problems and be happy with the output. This isn’t possible without enabling self-service platforms.
Businesses believe that excellent customer service can only happen when an actual human is available 24/7 to solve the customer’s queries. Customers don’t always want to reach out for support, and they would prefer to find the solution independently and carry on with their day.
Customer self-service can be a valuable component for delivering excellent support. The self-service resources should be still backed by human support so that the customers are not left entirely helpless when in front of more complex problems that they cannot solve autonomously.
What is customer self-service?
Customer self-service refers to how customers find solutions to their problems without the assistance of a company representative. Customer self-service can refer to a wide range of activities, from customers picking up their packages in autonomy to going through an online help center to find solutions to their problems.
It is important to note that a self-service portal is like a product or service web page’s digital extension. A self-service portal should be built keeping in mind customer expectations toward the focal product or service. Thus, the content should be simple, direct, straightforward, and strive to solve customer problems to their best.
Origins of customer self-service
The era of the reactionary customer is over. These days, customers are informed, active, and technologically savvy. They want quick and reliable solutions, and the best way to provide that is through self-service.
The earliest instances of customer self-service come from vending machines dating back to 1833. The first vending machine was launched in London and it initially sold postcards. Soon vending machines were spread in railway stations and post offices across the country – dispensing envelopes, postcards and notepapers.
Following that, self-service gas stations started becoming popular during 1960s after John Roscoe began offering self-serve gasoline at the Big Top convenience store in Colorado.
But the very first form of self-service portals comes from Piggly Wiggly store in 1916 in Memphis, Tennessee. Before Piggly Wiggly, groceries were sold at stores where clerks would assemble orders, weighing out dry goods from large barrels. Clarence Saunders decided to revolutionize this system by giving control to the customers. They would be the ones picking up a basket and going through the store to select the groceries they wanted to buy, then autonomously taking care of the check out as well.
This meant that customers became independent and could effectively control their shopping experience. This changed the way organizations assist their customers in looking for what they need.
With the rise of the eCommerce industry in the late 1990s and early 2000s, self-service solution started spreading across industries. The development of automation-based solutions and AI has allowed companies to maintain their personal touch without losing efficiency when using self-service portals.
Why do customers gravitate toward self-service?
Today, there are hundreds of instances of self-service, from booking your holiday packages to ordering groceries online and assembling your furniture. These instances show that self-service has become more than just a simple addition to improving brand reputation, it has become a necessity. Customers are more likely to repurchase from a brand that offers them an excellent user experience by making them feel in control of the usage of the product.
For instance, when Uber took the transport industry by storm, it did not impress customers with nice cars but with a great self-service experience. Customers found Uber intriguing because it was hassle-free, and they didn’t need to talk to anyone or wait in line to book a cab.
All they were required to do was provide some general information, and a cab would arrive at their doorstep. This gave them a sense of control and satisfaction beyond measure. Uber’s story embodies the pinnacle of customer self-service and how exceptional customer experience can transform a business.
A study conducted by Zendesk proved that more than 69 percent of customers troubleshoot their problems first before seeking help from the company professionals. The same survey reported that 67 percent of customers preferred self-service to talk to company staff over the phone.
These numbers prove that customers prefer to stay in control. Customers look for fast and easy ways to solve their problems and do not want to put in too much effort. Customer self-service fulfills the need for greater and faster gratification.
Waiting for a company agent to respond takes time. When customers need a quick resolution, keeping on hold or checking their email for the solution can be frustrating. Therefore, they would instead do it themselves.
Benefits of self-service
Self-service presents benefits for both customers and companies. Here are some of the key benefits:
- Increasing sales
Studies show that customers are likely to abandon a transaction if they are required to go through a customer service request process. 53 percent of U.S. online shoppers quit their purchases if they can’t find quick answers to their queries.
Customer self-service solves this problem by making customers independent and the transaction process self-reliant. Thus, it is parallel with an increase in sales.
Similarly, if your business website has a support or FAQ page that answers customer queries, it can improve Google Search rankings. Customers will be directed to your brand every time they face an issue and search it on Google, and this increases traffic and accordingly leads to converts into customers.
- Opportunity for personalization
An intuitive self-service platform is an incredible way of saving customers’ time and giving them exactly what they seek. An intuitive self-service platform can remember and repurpose the customer’s previous areas of concern and help them find solutions more quickly.
Brands can also keep track of the products the customer has purchased and display topics of expertise relevant to them. This makes the customers feel they are more than one of many and that their unique preferences are considered important by the company.
- 24/7 Support
The modern customer has high expectations, and you must fulfill these if you want to be successful in the market. Customers expect companies to provide 24/7 support any time they need it. Thus, using self-service makes the support services available round the clock. This way, even if the customer faces a query at 3 AM, they can address it themselves with ease.
Businesses can only provide human support staff on certain days of the week and during particular hours. But, self-service is accessible 24/7 and even on holidays. Therefore, customers no longer need to wait for solutions.
- Serves more customers
Human support staff can serve a limited number of customers. Self-service platforms offer customers an alternative that is typically much faster and can satisfy everyone. For instance, restaurants that have implemented self-service kiosks report that 65 percent of customers are more likely to visit the restaurant. Moreover, 30 percent of customers prefer to order from self-service kiosks than communicate with a cashier.
To sum up, self-service portals allow companies to support more customers at the same time and this also improves the customer experience who does not need to wait a long time to receive a response. Self-service presents huge advantages for both sides.
- Increased efficiency
Maintaining a self-service portal costs significantly lower than having a support staff dedicated to solving customer queries. Companies can save a major portion of their budget used in other areas.
With customer self-service, repetitive tasks are minimized, and this also eliminates big-ticket queues and a team of people dedicated to customer support. This allows the business to reduce its human resources and related costs. Thus, the brand’s efficiency overall can be increased.
- Enhanced customer experience
Businesses know that providing excellent customer service is the company’s backbone. Contacting the support staff can not only mean hassle for the customers but also delay in receiving help. Research shows that customers prefer to solve their own problems without contacting the support staff. Thus, self-service is a reliable alternative.
If customers can address their own problems without the help of support staff, satisfaction will be higher which ultimately leads to an excellent experience.
- Reduces burden on support staff
Dealing with customer inquiries can be challenging. Studies show that support staff finds over 40 percent of customer inquiries “mind-numbing and repetitive.” Self-service reduces the customer ticket queue, resulting in free agents who can prioritize other and more critical company duties.
Self-service can then solve the problem of repetitive tasks. For instance, self-service can eliminate the need to solve problems that do not require any human intervention. This can allow the support staff to focus on more important requests, increase productivity, and make customers feel more valued.
- Provides insights into the customer’s needs
With the help of self-service portals, businesses can collect necessary data on customer needs and behavior. These insights can be used to introduce customer-centric services, improve the self-service experience, and assure customers of incredible customer service. The customers will be happier each time they use the brand’s products.
With Layerise, you can both create an excellent self-service platform and collect relevant data about your customers thanks to the registration through QR code. With Layerise, you can get an in-depth view of your customers based on geographical, demographical, preference, and behavioral variables. You can track the performance of Layerise virtual assistant and understand what your customers are looking for and track their satisfaction with the resources of self-service support.
- Creates a community
Self-service portals like FAQ sections or public forums can welcome a community of customers and a host of valuable voices. Peer-to-peer support encourages customers to trust and build connections with one another by sharing experiences and ideas about using your brand’s products. This can create a warm and friendly environment and foster a community of loyal customers.
How does Layerise help create a self-service portal for your end-users?
It is important that the tools you offer to your customers to autonomously solve their problems are easily accessible, up to date, and visual through the use of images and videos. Layerise is the perfect solution for you to support your customers through self-service resources.
Suppose you are a coffee maker manufacturer and want to increase the customer satisfaction level of your existing clientele and expand your business at the same time. Instead of bombarding your customers with thick manuals or sending them millions of marketing emails, you can use the Layerise.
The Virtual Assistant feature can solve an array of problems, from educating your customers on how to use a coffee maker to how to make their first cup of coffee, tips and tricks, and much more. Thanks to Layerise you can collect relevant data about your customers and their satisfaction with the support content.
In addition to that, with Layerise you can build automated SMS marketing campaigns for your clients with a personal touch and engaging content. Call-to-action buttons such as following on social media and downloading the app can convert your potential prospects. This will help you increase the conversion rate.
If you are looking to provide your consumers with self-service support but you don’t know where to start, Layerise can help you! Book a demo to see how Layerise can help you introduce self-service support and improve your customer's experience.
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