May 19, 2021
3 Ways Customer Self-Service Can Improve Your Customer Experience Strategy
The last time you had a question about something you bought, what did you do? Did you turn to the Internet or dig through the yellow pages?
We're guessing it wasn't the latter. You aren't the only one, too.
Studies show customers prefer to find answers about a product or service themselves through a knowledge base, help desk, or live chat. They're used to hunting down content on their own, and now they demand it.
“When a customer has a problem with a product or a service, they don’t instinctively reach for their phone or pull up their email. Instead, they want to find the answers online themselves and a whopping 86% expect to be able to.”
If you're already thinking, "Pump the brakes. I don't have any self-service, and it sounds like a lot of work," hear us out. Yes, unlike other CX strategies, like a basic AI chatbot, knowledge bases and self-service do take time and manpower to create. AI-powered support agents, like Agatha from Forethought, can help unlock the power of your collective knowledge by searching all your databases for you -- essentially taking on the role of an agent in creating self-service.
And then you get to reap the fruits of yours (and Agatha’s) labor! That’s because self-service benefits your entire customer experience (CX) strategy by empowering your customers and agents.
For example, resolving a ticket through self-service also costs just $2 compared to anywhere from $22-$1,105 when handled traditionally. Having self-service or automation options can also offset an agent's workload by up to 20%.
With more time back in your agents' day, they can focus on best practices when handling their tickets, like adhering to a company-appropriate triage and more. You'll reduce operational costs and allow your agents time to grow in their role. And of course, your customers are getting their answers.
Now, let's keep going. Here are three more ways to create a self-service offering that will improve your CX strategy.
#1 Build Up Your Knowledge Base
A knowledge base consists of free content that helps customers learn about your brand or resolve an issue. They generally include written and video tutorials, step-by-step directions, and FAQs. When creating yours, keep these in mind:
- Have a variety of resources
- Highlight your most popular content
- Keep the language straightforward
- Include visuals where you can
- Format your content so it's easy to skim
- Make sure it's searchable by specific keywords
- Clearly define the purpose of each article
- Update it as needed
Naturally, a knowledge base will take some effort to create. You'll have to monitor it, as well. However, a knowledge base that provides valuable, accurate information will impress your customers and your wallet.
We mentioned it briefly before, but it's worth reiterating. According to Forrester Research and Oracle, web self-service like knowledge bases reduce costs by as much as $11 per call. If you field 500 calls a week, you're saving $5,500. That's worth writing a few articles a week!
You can compound your savings further with artificial intelligence such as Agatha Solve. Solve intercepts tickets before they reach you or your team by serving up the best answer from your company's knowledge base and other self-service options!
#2 Digging into Your Customer-Self Service Analytics
When it comes to your knowledge base, help desk, or FAQS, don't set them and forget them. If you do, you may not be providing helpful content.
For example, say you created a survey but never looked at it. What if all the answers were, "Absolutely not helpful." Suppose the time-on-page indicated people were bouncing off your page without reading a single sentence. Both of these metrics suggest there's a gap between what you're offering and what the customer needs.
Automation, particularly Agatha, can assist in multiple ways. Solve combs through your knowledge documentation to help customers. Triage will route a customer to a live agent if deemed necessary. And Assist can help your agents work faster and smarter by telling them exactly what template, macro, or knowledge base article to use. Additionally Agatha’s reporting can show:
- An up-to-date picture of your customer support and service performances.
- Where the gaps in your knowledge documentation and support operations exist.
But seeing is one piece of the puzzle. Doing is another.
#3 Optimizing Customer Self-Service Processes
With your analytics in tow, it's time to set goals that reflect every stage of your customer's experience, from the first customer interaction to last. For instance, it should be easy for a potential customer to find your live chat. It should be equally as simple for a returning customer to locate product information.
Try examining these key data points to create realistic goals: Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) -- how satisfied customers are with your organization's products and services.
Customer Effort Score (CES) -- how much effort a customer exerts to find an answer.
Net Promoter Score (NPS) -- a score from -100 to +100 showing how loyal your customers are.
Using these metrics, you and your team can backtrack to make optimizations, ensuring your self-service options:
- Are available 24/7 and simple to navigate
- Offer accurate answers
- Escalate to an agent if it's needed
- Are consistent with your other support channels
- Take user behavior into account
Again, with AI like Agatha Solve and Analytics, you can find your data points quickly and optimize your processes based on them, getting your customers the answers fast.
Long gone are the days when someone's first choice was to call an 800 number. While it may seem like a lot of effort to build up your self-service options, it's worth it. When done right, it allows your customers to quickly find information, improve your agents' workload, and lead to a better customer experience.