The COVID-19 crisis has put an additional burden on most customer support teams. Increased uncertainty has prompted spikes in tickets, cancellations, complaints, and other user requests. Now more than ever, businesses need to manage ‘customer friction’ and plug the revenue leaks along the way!
A ‘friction’ point is any experience that impedes your customers from moving ahead in their journey, causing the buying cycle to get stuck. When support requests start to ramp up, customer service teams can feel overburdened. And that’s when the probability of negative brand interactions can go up!
Read on to find out how self-service software can mitigate friction risks and help you enrich customer experiences.
Table of Contents
What is a self-service portal?
A self-service portal is a web page that answers common queries in a timely and cost-effective manner. It grants quick access to customers and provides them with necessary information without your support staff’s direct involvement. In some cases, businesses also use their site to follow up on previous requests or route complex problems to call centers and other digital support channels.
A standard self-service portal or help center has three components: Knowledgebase Articles, Community Forums, and Ticket Forms.
The knowledge base typically comprises a ‘getting started’ guide, a frequently asked questions (FAQ) list, ‘how-to’ articles, and troubleshooting information for your users.
Community forums: It facilitates interactions and information exchanges between users about best practices and common questions. Sometimes, product teams can get involved in responding to feature requests and addressing customer feedback.
Ticket generation: The ticket submission and view options on self-service forums allow customers to check the status of their complaints or requests. Ticket forms can make the transition from self-help to human agent calls much easier to manage.
Now that the fundamentals are clear let’s look at how self-service software can build a strong customer community and help your business grow!
8 steps to reduce friction in customer support
1. Simplify onboarding
Your first move in ensuring friction-less customer service should be to understand your audience’s preferences. Are they pleased with the support options you currently have? You should remain available for your end-users on multiple channels, including live chat, social media, email, phone, or others. So, think about including a self-service portal in your toolbox to serve your customers better. It can integrate different communication technologies into a single system. Moreover, you’ll make it convenient for your customers to self-diagnose and reach you when they need you.
2. Streamline workflows
When planning your support process, you must tailor your workflows to reduce friction with customers. That’s where self-service software can come in handy as you can use it to manage your help desks. This will allow you to empower your support teams and enjoy the benefits of increased agent productivity.
You’ll be able to move customer tickets and allocate staff across different heads, reducing your administrative workload. And your custom service reps won’t have to deal with mundane and tedious tasks.
3. Reduce support tickets with a knowledge base
Put yourself in your customer’s shoes and try to figure out what kind of content will help them get over the trouble spots. Your knowledge base and solutions should align with your audience’s needs and furnish valuable information quickly and unambiguously. The content should be compiled so that anyone can get their questions answered on their own with a simple search on the site.
You can incorporate relevant FAQ content, tips, guides, explainer videos, screenshots, and one-click access to related articles on the site. These practices can reduce your incoming tickets considerably. A Harvard Business Review case illustrated how enabling self-diagnosis of technical problems by customers saved a company millions of dollars in maintenance costs.
4. Enhance information exchange
It’s a good idea to gather information about your customers through the customer journey to get contextual data and deliver a better customer experience. For example, a unified customer service solution presents details like purchases, tickets, past conversations, etc.
For modern-day customers, time is a currency. They don’t want to repeat themselves and be led around. Therefore, many companies keep customer profiles visible across the organization to help their internal teams collaborate and reduce friction.
If you want to follow this approach, ensure that the sensitive information is locked down for internal use. It would help if you managed your access controls and set user permissions before you launch your self-service portal.
5. Reflect your brand voice
The look and feel of your self-service resources can help you build trustworthy and lasting customer relationships. Think of your self-service portal as a natural extension of your business website. You can add personality to the platform by customizing the page according to your brand, logo, font, updating the color, and including photographs of your support team. And always remember to keep it consistent!
Most self-support software includes pre-made themes comprising different layouts, icons, and add-ons. You can make small tweaks to make them compatible with your requirements. Here’s a sample template.
6. Complement existing efforts with personalization
Many self-help centers have the added functionality of customer account personalization. In other words, end users can create a profile on the portal with their name, an online avatar, and a home page. Such forums display content on the relevant topics as per the unique preferences added by users. Having the option of a custom layout can make your clients feel valued.
7. Direct customers to your portal
Once you’re through with your self-service portal’s design and functional aspects, ascertain that your customers know about its existence. Aim to establish your portal as a credible knowledge source and a trusted voice in your community. You can send an email or add an automated response to your ticket system. You can also increase your site traffic and visibility by quoting and sharing content.
8. Monitor, measure, and review
Once your self-service software is up and running, ask yourself questions about its performance. Has it led to a reduction in ticket volume? Are you achieving the desired results? How do your customers feel about the support experience?
It’s best to go for a solution that lets you measure and track these metrics. Additionally, you can read through your customer forums. This can help you understand the site experience and apply the feedback to update your content. You can also include a one-question survey at the end of every article to solicit user feedback, flag issues, and review their knowledge support.
Choosing the right software
When correctly implemented, self-service portals can open up various revenue-generating opportunities for your business. You can use the software to:
- Provide 24/7 support
- Reduce the burden of your support helpdesk
- Boost customer satisfaction
- Increase overall organizational productivity
Also, while selecting a self-service portal software, you must evaluate your alternatives based on the specific benefits they bring. You should consider the following factors:
It may prove counterproductive to invest in a solution that can’t be integrated with your existing portals or one that your agents can’t operate intuitively. So, make sure that you create an effective action plan to maximize the gains from this technology!
Self-service software is the future
According to Forrester, today’s customers prefer to resolve issues on their own instead of talking to human agents. Another Gartner study highlights the need to provide multiple channels of communication to customers in the digital world. It notes that the number of attempts taken to resolve issues has a bearing on your clientele’s loyalty. The more options you give, and the more accessible your support, the higher your customer satisfaction rates will be.
With a self-service site, your end-users will be able to get faster resolutions, and your support teams will be able to focus on higher-order tasks. We assure you investing in self-service software can prove useful for your customers and profitable for you!