Support teams carry a heavy load every day. They must provide information and help to customers who reach out with questions about the company’s products and services. All this, while helping with genuine issues as they arise.
If there is unbearable support work coming through, usual reaction of the management is to try & hire more support executives. But that is not always prudent. Instead, the company can offer self-service options to its customers. These options will help customers take care of many of their own support needs. That too, without any help from the support executive.
Changing Customer Requirements
Today’s customers, in many cases, prefer the ability to troubleshoot their own issues. They want to be able to go to your website and get answers, handle returns, and take care of any challenges they might face along the way. While customers are still looking for human connections in some areas, they also want automated options that allow them to easily take care of themselves. In fact, they’re reporting a better customer service experience when they have those options.
When customers have to wait on your support staff, they may get stuck dealing with longer wait times. Worse, they may connect with a member of staff who can’t support them. The ability to handle customer service tasks on their own, however, means that customers can take care of those tasks at their leisure. They don’t have to wait in an endless queue. In many cases, they will even get access to more information than they would have acquired via a customer service rep.
Creating Self-Service Customer Service Options
You’re sold on the idea of offering self-service options for your customers, but how do you implement it? Try some of these tactics.
1. Offer automated customer support options
A customer reaches out and needs to make a return or wants to ask a question about a product or service. Thanks to the information available in your database, a chatbot can handle those tasks just as easily as a human representative. Chatbots are always on: they don’t need to take a minute away from their screens to eat or calm down after a difficult conversation. They often decrease wait times and, with simple question-and-answer setups, leave customers highly satisfied. Ideally, your customers should be able to escalate their contact directly from the chatbot, rather than having to use a separate line to get in touch with your support staff.
2. Create a wide knowledge database
Your website is an incredible source of information for your customers–or, at least, it should be. Use your website to offer customers a library of information: how your products work, how to select the right products for their needs, even how to troubleshoot some common problems with the items you sell most often. With a great search feature and careful maintenance, an effective knowledge base can become one of the most valuable tools you offer your customers. Make sure your knowledge base:
- Is easy to search. All the information in the world won’t help if your customers can’t find it!
- Gets updated regularly, particularly to remove outdated advice or information.
- Has clear headings that are easy to scan.
- Offers information in a variety of formats. Infographics, for example, may be easier to skim than large blocks of text.
3. Offer customer training
You train your customer service representatives both in how to handle problems experienced by your customers and in how to use your products more effectively.
Are you offering the same advantages to your customers?
While you may not be able to train every customer as effectively as you train your customer service representatives–and not every customer will want that training–you can offer training options that will allow customers to become experts in the products they use most often. As a result, many of those customers will become more satisfied with your products since they genuinely know how to use them.
4. Monitor your self-service regularly
Self service is a great way to improve your customers’ overall satisfaction–but not if you’re not monitoring it and keeping track of how customers are using it. Chances are, you can’t just train your customer service representatives once and assume that they will know how to handle every problem that comes up even as you offer new products and services. The same goes for your self-service options. Make sure that you monitor those options to ensure that they are still meeting your customers’ needs. Check the way customers interact with the system on a regular basis, and make changes accordingly. Keep an eye, too, on what issues are still being escalated to support and consider how you can turn those into self-service options.
Making the switch to self-service customer support takes time and effort, but it’s well worth it. Once your self-service is up and running, you’ll find that your customers are increasingly happy. Not only that, your representatives will be freed up to take care of the more serious issues faced by your customers.