Customer Self-Service: How to Give Customers What They Want
Are you swamped with phone calls and support tickets? If your customers are always calling, you need to work on your level of self-customer service.
77% of people view organizations more positively if the company offers self-service options for customers. Not only will your company go up in the estimation of your target market, but your business will benefit in many ways.
Read on as we discuss the growing trend of customer self-service, showing you why it matters and how you can use it to improve your business and customer experience.
What Is Self-Customer Service?
Customer self-service is the use of pre-made resources and automation to empower customers to get information without any assistance from a customer support representative. By combining a knowledge base with how-to tutorials, and answers to frequently asked questions, organizations can automate the handling of many customer queries.
Also known as customer self-service, this strategy helps people find the answers to their own questions, giving them the freedom to research products on their own terms. Customers can also troubleshoot simple problems or perform quick administrative tasks like resetting their passwords, adding a live chat button, managing their billing, or changing other account information.
Why Is Self-Customer Service Important?
Self-service is not an option. At least, not if you want to attract more customers and stand out from your competition. In case you missed the memo, we’re now neck-deep in the customer-centric age, where personalization, convenience, and the buyer experience rule supreme.
A 2021 round-up from SuperOffice reveals the growing demand of self-customer service in recent years:
- 40% of customers prefer self-service over human contact.
- 73% of customers prefer using a company's website for support rather than social media, live chat, or SMS.
- 70% of customers expect your business to have a self-service option.
In the past, we had landline phones, basic websites, and not much in the way of virtual customer service. But today, we have smartphones, mobile apps, interactive websites, and automation technology at our fingertips.
Your customers expect smooth service and instant answers. It has never been more important to provide self-customer service because if you don't, people will gravitate to companies that do. Not only does customer self-service offer more ways for people to engage with your brand, but it also saves your business valuable time, money, and resources.
What Are Self-Customer Service Channels?
Omnichannel marketing is crucial now, but there’s more to just showing up on various social media—your brand messaging and customer service must be seamless. 55% of consumers claim that consistency across channels is the most critical attribute of the customer experience.
Let’s take a look at the three most common types of customer self-service channels in 2021:
Static website content
Static content is what most companies use for customer self-service. Customers readily engage with static website content at numerous stages of the customer journey, as it offers information that supports purchasing decisions. If you want to get more engagement with this content, you must update it regularly.
Examples of static website content include:
Product pages or listings: these are often text pages that describe the product in detail. Sometimes these pages include photos to give people a clear sense of what they might purchase. Product listings often go more in-depth than the company landing page or basic product description in a "shop collection" webpage.
FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions): an FAQ is an effective but often underutilized piece of static website content. It provides excellent self-customer service by giving visitors a way to find answers to common questions. An in-depth FAQ also reduces the pressure on your customer service team and ticketing system.
Blog posts: long-form blog content can include research, studies, quotes, images, and compelling reports. As building blocks in focused content strategy services, blog posts help increase brand visibility in search results and attract qualified leads into your funnel to interact with your brand—even if they aren't ready to buy.
Here is an example from Cedreo, a 3D home design software:
Users can access resources related to onboarding, project management, and key product functionality. Articles provide step-by-step written instructions, as well as supporting video tutorials that are regularly updated. This detail ensures customers can quickly realize value in the product, and at the same time, reduce incoming support tickets.
- Knowledge bases: a knowledge base is a specialized static area of your site that provides how-to guides and answers to frequently asked questions. It often provides technical assistance and walkthroughs, so customers can resolve issues themselves without the need to talk with a live customer service representative.
- "About Us" page: while some businesses neglect this page, its importance should not be underestimated. You can use your About page to tell your brand story, give people insights into your origins and company history, and explain your purpose and core values. This static information is more than filler, as a great brand story can help conscientious customers make a personal connection with your brand.
- Videos and images: these digital visual assets are essential for allowing customers to get a better understanding of your product. They can view or zoom in on product images to see the finer details and can watch videos to see the product in action.
- Case studies: this type of self-customer service asset is significant for B2B industries weighing up their options. Companies making a large investment want to see a company's track record providing tangible results with your product or service in a similar use case that might apply to their own business.
Dynamic website content
Dynamic website content contains features that change based on user input. We can use these customer self-service assets to provide an enhanced, immersive experience and improve visitor engagement.
Examples of dynamic website content include:
- "Find your size" features: Apps like Kiwi Size Chart are useful for ecommerce apparel stores, helping customers find the right size without needing to ask questions. People can view charts, standard sizing tips, and even upload their information to make sizing easier in the future.
- 3D product builders: it can sometimes be difficult for customers to visualize their purchase, especially with furniture, which has an important size and aesthetic component.
3D product builders let the customer create their product virtually and get a clear vision of how it will look in their home, leaving less to chance.
- Custom quote forms: long gone are the days when customers needed to talk with a salesperson to get a quote. Automated custom quote forms receive input from the customer and create custom pricing estimates in minutes.
- Chatbots: Businesses can use chatbots to process conversations and deliver automated responses to customers with a "bot" personality. This artificial intelligence replaces the need for live customer service agents.
Self-customer service doesn't always come directly from the brand. Sometimes, customers access forums, reviews, and social media to find information about a product or service.
- Forums: there are endless online forums with various topics of choice. Some forums are more general discussion-based such as those found on the popular site Reddit. Others, such as car forums, tend to be run by fans.
- Reviews: Customers want to know they're getting a good deal. They are likely to search for reviews to gain confidence in their purchase. Forbes reports that 95% of shoppers read customer reviews before they make a purchase.
- Facebook: the social media giant has grown beyond social networking and photo sharing. Facebook now serves as a powerful marketing channel for businesses to engage customers with a vast range of interests. New prospects can look at business pages and tap into the self-customer service options by reading through comments, reviews, recommendations, and chatting directly with support agents.
How to Develop a Self-Customer Service Plan
If you are just getting started and don’t already have those three channels set up, don’t worry—we’ve got you covered. You will be able to develop your own customer self-service plan quickly and effectively.
With the steps below, you will enable your customers to solve their own problems and free up your team's time to focus on more creative, strategic tasks.
1. Create your FAQ
Your FAQ serves as the foundation for all of your static self-service content. Begin with your front-line staff to find the essential information for this resource. Ask your customer support reps what problems people encounter, then turn these questions into a compressive FAQ section on your site, giving people easy access to the answers they need.
2. Develop a knowledge base
You can think of your knowledge base as a deep dive FAQ. An intelligent approach is to create parent categories and then sub-categories within those broader chapters. Keep all of your end-users in mind and their specific needs. If you have a SaaS company, include relevant code and technical information, such as this example on using CRM integrations using API for developers.
3. Expand your page content
Every time you expand your page content, you cast a wider net. You increase the chances that companies and prospects can find your product or service and relevant information about what you offer. This strategy can strengthen your position in a B2B market as you improve the customer experience with case studies, product features, and customized content for various industries.
4. Use internal links
Over time, you should aim to build up a library of great content on your site, which you can direct your customers to through smart internal linking. Assuming that certain pages rank higher than others, you can promote the current page by linking to that higher ranking content via an internal link. This strategy helps customers get more information on a topic, driving them further down your funnel. Furthermore, internal linking helps your SEO performance, earning you more organic traffic and better search visibility.
5. Start collecting reviews
Reviews build social proof, which is excellent leverage to persuade any prospects who are on the fence. 82% of consumers look at reviews when shopping online.
By asking for reviews, you can give visitors the information they need to make more informed purchasing decisions. Think of it this way: if the customer has a choice between two companies and only one has good reviews, which will they choose?
6. Write blog posts
Blog posts are an effective way to share in-depth knowledge on various topics related to your market or brand. With blog content, you can attract new leads into your funnel. So, make sure to create plenty of relevant, helpful blog content that you can build internal links to, use to grow your authority, and entice people to join your email list.
7. Use chatbots
You shouldn’t overlook the benefits of chatbots. This AI-driven technology can handle complex and repetitive service tasks, freeing up a lot of time for your support reps.
With chatbots managing the bulk of queries through automating responses, you can focus more resources on your more qualified customers as they get further down your funnel.
8. Review analytics
It’s vital to regularly review analytics reports in customer service, as that will help you determine which content and support strategies are performing best. When you identify the content with high bounce rates, it’s easier to refine your systems. For example, you can update blog posts, improve chatbot scripts, or build a better, more focused knowledge base.
4 Key Takeaways on Self-Customer Service
Now you have a better grasp of what self-customer service matters and how you can implement it in your business. Here are four excellent reasons you should get started now.
Self-customer service makes you more efficient.
The key to growth in any competitive marketplace today is to be more efficient in how you serve your customers. With self-customer service, you can free up your time instead of needing to field the same questions or explain redundant answers to customers over and over.
Self-customer service can increase conversions.
Helping people find answers quickly can reduce abandoned cart rates. By educating your prospects, they will feel more confident to purchase from you right then and there.
Self-customer service can improve your SEO
SEO is something that brings you consistent, organic traffic in the long term. This content should include relevant keywords and focuses on your customers' needs. Done right, customer-centric content that follows good SEO practices will reduce bounce rates and increase average page session times. Ultimately, these improvements increase your relevance in search results.
Self-customer service is an ongoing process.
The art of customer self-service is an ongoing process. Updating your FAQ, knowledge base, and other pages is a full-time role for one or more of your team members. If you can continually optimize your customer service, you're sure to boost your bottom line.
Get Started With Self-Customer Service Today
Memorable customer service can make or break a brand. You don't want people to remember your customer service for the wrong reasons because they'll never come back if it was a bad experience.
JivoChat can help you deliver a superior customer experience. Our AI chatbots can interpret your customer's questions and automatically direct them to the right resource, whether it’s a knowledge base, video, or blog post.
By putting the power in the hands of the buyers, you offer potential customers the chance to learn about your brand, products, and services in a way that suits them best. When the time comes for them to speak with someone at your company, Jivochat’s bots can smoothly transfer your new leads to a live agent.
When you let the chatbot work with your routine—and your customers’ routines—you reduce the load on your support team. In the end, investing in self-customer service frees your team and your business to grow.
Are you ready to improve customer self-service? Get a free trial of JivoChat to save more time and empower your customers.
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