“Even a heavy door only needs a small key” (Charles Dickens) – because often there is a simple solution even for seemingly significant issues. Especially in the digitalized age, customers often encounter technical problems of all kinds that could usually be solved quickly by themselves with the right instructions. However, these problems are usually difficult to describe via the service hotline and can only be solved with great effort. This is where self-service solutions can help.
What is self-service?
In a nutshell, self-service enables people to solve complex problems themselves. The solution is tailored to the individual situation and the technical understanding – independent of time and location.
Why is it no longer possible without self-service in technical customer support?
Dissatisfied customers are a major issue for companies. If a customer encounters a problem with a product or service, they often have to deal with long waiting times on the service hotline and sometimes have difficulties describing their problem. Adverse experiences like this impact customer satisfaction and can lead to losing customers in the long term. That’s why companies are always interested in optimizing customer service to provide the best possible support for potential and existing customers. However, this no longer just involves improving contact with the “real” people, the customer service employees. Research shows that customers prefer to answer their own questions without having to turn to support or other external help: Across industries, 81% of all customers try to take care of their own issues before contacting an employee via a hotline or in a branch.¹ Especially in the digital age of Google, Siri and Alexa, we are used to interacting with software and taking issues into our own hands, without long queues, at any time, and without media disruption.
What are the use cases and what is the ideal medium?
The use cases for self-service in technical customer support are diverse: from a simple FAQ section on the company website where customers can quickly look up answers or through a portal/forum to help each other. All the way to chatbots, in which a dialog leads to the appropriate solution. Many people have already had experiences with this relatively well-known application, but often negative ones. Even today, complex problems cannot be solved without real people. Here, it is essential that users are not left alone and that the service’s connection is established when necessary.
As a contemporary medium, mobile devices, in particular, show their strength and support the self-service approach of offering help at any time and any place. Without media discontinuity and a familiar operating environment, coordinated reference can be made here to a chat, callback, or call. Thus, the self-service app serves as a platform and contact point for customer issues throughout the entire customer journey. Collected data can also be made available to service staff during the self-service process, significantly reducing processing times. Also, new functions can be continuously added via apps, thereby continually enhancing the customer experience.
What are the benefits of self-service?
Self-service has the potential to offer added value at all touchpoints of the customer journey. “Gamification”, i.e., the integration of playful elements in an unfamiliar context, increases customers’ motivation to solve even complex tasks, which is then topped off by a self-achieved sense of accomplishment.
Not only is the accessibility of the service an unbeatable factor, but the quality also increases. Self-service solutions eliminate common problems for customer service representatives and give them more capacity to focus on more complex problems. They are empowered to spend their time and skills more effectively where it really counts, which has a positive impact on the customer experience and customer loyalty.
From a company perspective, there is great potential, such as cross-selling and upselling potential or cost savings, as service costs can be reduced through the automated processes of self-service.
How can successful customer self-service be achieved?
Since customers should receive help, the first step is to make them aware of the self-service solution. To do this, the company must promote the self-service solution as widely as possible. After all, what is the point of a solution that nobody knows about? It also helps to familiarize the support team with the self-service solution to inform customers about the self-service options in the best possible way.
In addition, it should be easy and intuitive to use, thanks to comprehensible content, step-by-step instructions, and visualizations. The rule is to avoid a lot of manual input and misleading paths. The customers’ problem must be identified quickly, and then intuitive processes must be mapped.
Nowadays, it is not easy to satisfy customers. Their demands for support are increasing, not least because of providers such as Amazon, so that fast access and answers to problems are expected at all times. Therefore, contemporary media is inevitable: a mobile view of self-service through an app or a responsive website can contribute to successful customer support. To operate successfully in the long term, companies must continuously collect feedback, and content and applications should be optimized regularly.
It is clear that no company can do without self-service offerings. Customers are already more than ready for self-service and even prefer it over other forms of support. If self-service is implemented well, incoming phone calls and e-mails to the support team can be reduced. Besides, customers have a positive experience and will be more satisfied!
Do you want to optimize your customer support with the Conntac Self-Service Solution? Contact us here! We support you on your way to becoming a self-service company.
¹ Matthew Dixon, Lara Ponomareff, Scott Turner, Rick DeLisi, 01.02.2021, https://hbr.org/2017/01/kick-ass-customer-service