The customer experience landscape has changed dramatically in recent years. Today’s customers are savvy and have become so accustomed to on-demand service that self-service often feels like an unnoticeable part of the customer support journey. End-user behavior like recovering a lost password or checking an account statement online has become second nature.

In light of this, most customers demand instant solutions, 24/7. Implementing tools that support end-user self-service has become such a significant part of today’s customer service experience that, according to the Harvard Business Review, 81% of all customers “attempt to take care of matters themselves before reaching out to a live representative”. Common self-service platforms include frequently asked questions (“FAQs”) and knowledge bases that can easily be published using tools such as Zendesk and Zingtree.

 

Some key advantages to implementing self- service tools into your customer experience workflows include:

  • Reduced costs by eliminating expensive human interaction
  • Reserving service agents for the most complex cases
  • Cutting down on frustrating wait times by allowing customers to find the answers they seek instantly
  • Providing valuable customer service all day, every day, including outside of standard operating hours

Even in instances where self-service is unable to fully resolve the customer’s issue, many self-service platforms deliver a transcript of the end-user’s journey, reducing inefficient back-and-forth between agents and customers.

Additionally, allowing customers to self-solve results in a significant reduction of costs, as the end-user often resolves their issue before needing to speak with an agent.

 

Here are our top tips for creating a great self-service experience:

1. Maintain a detailed knowledge base

As your business develops, so should your FAQs. Keeping your knowledge base up to date ensures that it provides the maximum value to your customers by highlighting the most recent and accurate information.

  • Surface the most popular FAQs. Make it easy to find solutions to the most common problems by having a “most popular” section.
  • Implement search functionality. Thanks to our good friends at Google, the ability to search is a functionality that the majority of end-users know how to use. Introducing search to your knowledge base allows the user to dive right in. However, it’s important to keep in mind that suboptimal search functionality can hurt more than it helps — no one ever enjoys the experience of sifting through potentially hundreds of only loosely related results. To prevent this, ensure that your content is well categorized and appropriately tagged.
  • Optimize your FAQs for mobile, allowing customers to problem-solve on the go. Make use of Google’s handy “Mobile-Friendly Test” to make sure that your FAQs work just as well on mobile as they do on desktop, and don’t forget to check for consistency across the two.

2. Identify the main reasons that customers are contacting your support team

Keep data on the topic of each customer interaction(for example, how many calls are made by customers trying to change their account details?). This will allow you to modify your knowledge base and proactively address the most common problems. Truly understanding what points drive the customer to need to interact with a support agent will help you to anticipate what customers are looking for and also help to inform how to direct personalized service.

 

3. Lean on visual elements to explain ideas or processes

Step-by-step explanations using visual elements like video and images are key to developing effective self-service content. Allowing the customer to visualize exactly what they need to do makes troubleshooting easier and reduces the number of confused customers needing to troubleshoot by contacting an agent. However, despite all of its benefits, self-service should never be forced upon the end-user. One of the fundamentals of delivering exceptional customer service is ensuring that the end-user has the ability to receive support as desired. As such, there should always be an option to interact with a real agent.

 

Optimization can begin right at the very beginning, before the call is even taking place, by keeping a detailed and efficient knowledge base that can empower customers to self-solve. Yet is it not just the customer who needs access to extensive information. An agent who has all the information at their fingertips is more likely to resolve an issue on the first contact and keep interactions as brief as possible. To build a robust, efficient knowledge base and keep your agents informed and on top, Zingtree is the tool you need. You can start your free trial today, or set up a demo with our friendly team to discover what Zingtree can do for you.