Are you still in two-minds about whether your business really needs self-service support since you already cater to most of the channels such as an email, voice and even social media to some extent? Well, the answer is simple – Yes and for good reason. Self-service usage increased from 67% in 2012 to 76% in 2014 (Forrester). Which is only going to increase with the changing times. The millennials, also known as the digital natives are tech-savvy and rather comfortable with finding and implementing the solutions on their own – without seeking help.
If we go by this logic, then offering self-service support not just makes sense but is actually the need of the hour. Having said that, how should be the businesses incorporate it into their customer support strategy? By having a help desk software which comes with an array of self-service options.
Let us look at some of the ways to offer self-service support to your customers as well as the agents with helpdesk software.
#1. Customer Portal for Ticket Management
A customer portal is basically the go-to place for customers to request services or raise support tickets. Having an effective customer portal significantly reduces the workload of the agents as the customers are now able to raise a ticket and even follow up on the same using the portal. This in turn also help in improving the brand reputation. To further instill a sense of authenticity and add credibility to the portal, it is always a good idea to align its look and feel according to the overall theme of your brand. Such as using the same color scheme and adding the brand logo.
As per Forrester Consulting, a chat with a live agent can cost $6-12 per interaction, whereas, self-service costs around 25 cents. This sounds like a good reason to go ahead with a bot to answer the simple questions. After all who does not like a good ROI. Integrating with a chatbot will let the customer chat with a bot for the routine queries. And if the bot is stuck on something, the customer can be immediately be routed to a live agent smoothly. This reduces the cost of query handling and also saves the customers time.
Taking it a step forward, natural language processing (NLP) based chatbot runs also performs a text-analysis on the chat history, which can help in identifying the mood of the customer. This insight is particularly useful of the live agent to understand when a customer is aggravated and tweak their ways to handle the situation well.
#3. Updated Knowledge Base
Make a bank of all the relevant documents and other information which the customers can easily access for a better understanding of the product or services. For example, providing detailed documents about the features of the product or user manuals. An effective knowledge base is the one which supports the preferred languages of the customer and thus, bringing in the personal touch.
Building a knowledge base cannot be a one-time activity. One needs to update it regularly with fresh content. At the same time, monitor what the customers are searching for and based on that insight, enrich the knowledge base accordingly.
#4. FAQs and Manuals on Website
A website is possibly the first thing that a customer browses through when they have questions. Having the FAQs listed on the website will help the customers and prospects to quickly go through them and get their questions answered – without having to contact the customer support team. Deciding which questions need to be published should be a well-thought-out and activity. Talking to the inbound executives about the kind of questions that they encounter on a regular basis or analyzing the search pattern of the customers/prospects will help you to shortlist these questions. Along with just viewing the information, the customers should also be able to download the company and product brochures for later use. In the case of high-tech products, having a user manual on the website can further reduce the ticket volume.
#5. Self-service IVR
A well designed Interactive Voice Response (IVR) can offer a multitude of advantages for both, the customers and the agents. You can remove and automate the simple repetitive calls, allowing agents to handle the more complex calls, i.e. those requiring skills beyond the capability of a system and also have the business to be available 24X7. Additionally, integrating the IVR with a CRM and/or the payment gateways further simplify the process and eliminates the need of an agent to some extent without compromising on data security.
For example, a customer calls XYZ bank about their credit card. The IVR will play the menu options. The customer opts to change their debit card PIN. The pre-recorded message will guide the customer on the process of doing that. By following these steps the customer can easily set a new PIN. And since the input is tone masked and encrypted, it is safe and secure.
Customers want fast response to simple, easy questions – without having to wait to talk to an agent. Similarly, the agents would rather avoid answering the same questions day in and day out. Enabling the customer to help themselves is a step in the right direction which will lead to reduced ticket volume and improves customer satisfaction.