In an era where things are progressively becoming DIY, today’s consumers expect 24/7 self-service. Regardless of your business type or model, odds are your customers are digital-savvy and in favor of finding the answers to questions themselves than waiting on hold for a service agent to help them. In fact, Gartner reports show that 70 percent of customers use self-service channels to resolve their issues.
Enabling digital self-service solutions allow customers to independently resolve issues or answer questions through digital channels at their own pace. Common examples include chatbots, FAQ pages, knowledge articles, and videos. Self-service can be employee-facing, too, but it may look and feel a bit different. It may be an intranet portal with information on HR policies and employee benefits; best practices for marketing, sales, and service; process and workflow documentation; and more.
Digital self-service solutions are on the rise, but how many are you taking advantage of?
One of the most common and lowest barrier-to-entry solutions is a frequently asked questions (FAQ) page. FAQ pages include concise answers to customers’ most common questions. Notice I emphasized “concise”.
Customers don’t want to read paragraphs to find their answer. They want solutions quickly. If a question needs a long explanation, consider breaking up the question into multiple so the answer is shorter, or provide links to more helpful resources such as in-depth articles, a knowledge base, a chatbot, or a customer support number.
Frequently review and update your FAQ page as common questions arise through other customer service channels.
One of the fastest growing solutions, chatbots offer customers a conversational experience for finding information. Using the power of Natural Language Processing (NLP) and Natural Language Understanding (NLU), chatbots serve as a first line of defense—while maintaining a relatively human voice.
Customer service teams also benefit from scaling their operations while providing always-on support at the customer’s convenience. This frees customer service representatives to focus on any support needs that truly need a human touch.
Make sure your chatbot is capable of escalating to a human representative when necessary.
Community forums act as an online community for employees, customers, and other participants to engage in discussions, ask questions, share knowledge, and communicate with others about a wide range of topics.
Despite being positioned as a self-service option, organization’s also benefit from increasing customer engagement and creating more hype around their brand. When members are engaged, they are more likely to buy and positively impact your brand’s awareness.
If your community forum is rather lively, they also act as a great starting point for market research, with members often willing to give their time to answer your questions.
Faceted search provides multiple filters to help customers refine search results on websites with large amounts of content or products. Facets often include categories such as rating, price, brand, color, and more to help filter for more targeted results.
For example, I was shopping on Amazon the other day for a new dog collar. I searched for “dog collar”, but then I further narrowed what I was looking for: four stars and up, blue, size medium, up to $25. And boom: I found exactly what I was looking for (you’ll like this one, Tater!).
Faceted search is often compared to “finding the needle in a haystack”. It helps customers refine search results as they look through your catalog of products or content.
Account management features for B2Bs
Long are the days where customers reach out to a sales rep for quotes and pay invoices or flip through catalogs to find a specific product. B2B buyers’ expectations are continuously influenced by and compared to B2C experiences.
B2B buyers want similar control as B2C buyers over:
- Ordering and reordering
- Paying an invoice online
- Checking order status
- Requesting samples
- Requesting quotes
- Creating lists (favorites)
Adding self-service account management features can help personalize experiences, too. By integrating your website with an enterprise resource planning (ERP) platform and customer data platform (CDP), you’ll be equipped to present personalized options based on customer data and previous purchasing habits.
Start providing meaningful self-service solutions
Everyone is more or less a digital native now. Self-service options are no longer a “nice-to-have” but rather an expectation. Consumers expect to solve issues, at their convenience, without having to go through a phone call, email, or sales rep.
The key to great self-service solutions is simplicity. Help customers help themselves online and you’ll build more customer loyalty, improve customer satisfaction, and provide a more positive experience engaging with your brand.