Brands have been competing over the last years to win the race of delivering outstanding customer experience. Most of them introduce new channels and invest in upgrading their customer service, often under-estimating the importance of self-service, when setting up their customer experience strategy plan, missing out on the positive effects they could capitalize on:
24/7 support: Customers do not have to wait for office opening hours or for agents’ availability, they can find answers to their queries and concerns anywhere at any time
Well informed customers are happy customers: Customers get readily answers to questions or detailed information through articles, product manuals, as well as visual guides for step-by-step interactive troubleshooting – whatever is the right solution at hand. And, apart from solving problems there and then, a self-service portal helps them expand their knowledge and skills. Hence, their ability to solve problems on their own in the future improves, but more importantly their built-up knowledge and confidence increases, in line with customer retention.
Enhanced productivity and satisfaction of customer care employees: Common and less complex queries can be solved through self-service on digital channels, thus allowing customer service executives to concentrate on handling more complex customer requests, without worrying about massive number of customers waiting in line.
Boosted web traffic and online sales: A well-functioning self-service portal ensuring that all the information your customers may need is in one place can be an extremely efficient way to bring in more traffic. Furthermore, an e-commerce site optimized for self-service, makes not only products and their help pages easily accessible, but beyond that offers compatible and complementary items to maximize the shopping experience.
The good news: Lacking the knowledge to be offered is typically not the problem for companies aiming to deliver better self-service experiences, since they have vast amounts of information stored in various enterprise knowledge systems. The struggle lies in bringing it all together and delivering the right content to the user in an easy and quick manner. Let’s have a closer look at how you could empower your customers to help themselves and become more self-sufficient.
Self-service on all channels
Frustration of having to navigate through different channels and portals to find answers can be minimized by making your diverse knowledge systems such as company’s portals, blogs, online community platform, social media pages, etc. accessible and providing the information on all customer touchpoints.
Teleport users to the right information
Different customer requests ask for various ways to address them. For common questions about your products and services you can offer automatically-generated FAQs. To satisfy your customers’ need for more detailed information or solutions regarding problems not covered by FAQs, you may provide a sophisticated search offering content from multiple knowledge systems. Such a unified search will organize the retrieved content in a seamless manner and provide your customers with the necessary features to easily reach the information they are looking for. These features contain strategies for navigating through and filtering lots of results as well as strategies to eliminate “no matches found” by correcting search terms, expanding your customers’ queries and more.
Address your customers’ queries on a semantic level
Understanding the context of your customers’ concerns brings your customer service to the next level. Extracting semantic entities from the communication with your customers – such as people, locations, dates, products, attributes, and so on – enables an in-depth interpretation of your customers’ requirements. Thus, answers to questions or solutions for problems can be found with razor-sharp accuracy. And at the same time, it makes it possible to expand the range of your self-service offerings, since such a system can automatically handle complex tasks that usually require human-equivalent understanding of situations.
Empower your customers
Capture your customer support processes in business case models to create a powerful foundation for handling your customer requests efficiently and in the best possible way. Identify the most important cases for your business including the elements that are descriptive of the case (concepts, events, and situations) and model the tasks that need to be completed for the case to be closed. These business case models can be used across channels to facilitate the handling of customer requests, offering your customers the guidance they need through the self-service process.
Personalize the experience
Last but not least, tailor everything to your customers’ needs. Automatically-generated user profiles based on your customers’ interests, interaction and search behavior, purchase history, etc. can be used to personalize content during the search as well as beyond – for tailored services such as cross-selling, support applications or many more.
Building an effortless customer self-service journey and empowering customers to become self-sufficient by solving problems on their own, optimizes customer engagement. However, to make sure that customer issues can be quickly resolved, thus maximizing the customer experience, self-service should be inter-connected with other service channels, one example being that customers can easily switch to agent support at any point.