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8 Tips for Creating an Amazing Self-Service Support Experience

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When implemented correctly, your company's self-service strategy has the power to increase customer loyalty, drive increased customer satisfaction, and decrease the workload of your entire customer support team.

We recently shared a study by the Aberdeen Group that backs up all these points. Companies that prioritize self-service initiatives rank higher than others in:

  • Customer Satisfaction Score
  • Conversion rate
  • Customer retention
  • Average profit margin per customer
  • Improvement in average cost per customer contact

Got your attention? Self service might just be the silver bullet in your customer service arsenal. In this article, we'll share 8 ways you can improve your company's self-service strategy today.

1. Make your self-service channels easy to find on your website.

This is the most overlooked but easiest thing you can do. If you are going to invest more resources into self-service with the potential for big impact, it's in your best interest to have a prominent link with a strong call-to-action on your site's homepage.

Shopify does a great job at this with two links smack dab at the top of their navigation menu on their homepage.

2. Make it easy to buy from you without having to talk to you.

If you are selling any products or services that are less than a few hundred dollars, it should be easy for a customer to buy from you online without having to talk to sales.
There's so many great, relatively inexpensive self-checkout options out there today from ecommerce platforms like Shopify, Magento and BigCommerce to more DIY solutions such as WooCommerce or SamCart.

3. Invest in a detailed FAQ section.

At its purest form, an FAQ section is a collection of the most commonly-asked questions and answers. These are the questions that you and your team get asked over and over again.
One great FAQ example is Cards Against Humanity. They wrote their FAQ in the same personable voice as the rest of their website. The result is a memorable FAQ that drives sales by reassuring customers… about their theme song.

4. Take it a step further and build out an entire Knowledge Base.

It is never been easier to create a Knowledge Base (or KB for short) with out-of-the-box help desk software.

If you are looking for inspiration in building your KB, check out what Shinesty, an ecommerce clothing brand, has built. There's a lot to like about how their support team designed their self-service portal.

For starters, it has a really easy and intuitive design with good categorization and a giant search box at the top. As an ecommerce company, they even put their top questions - like tracking orders and returns and exchanges right at the top of the site. That's a smart move and an easy way to deflect a ton of emails and questions to your support team.

5. Include video guides and tutorials on your Youtube Channel or Knowledge Base

According to this Wyzowl survey, video is preferred over text by 69% of users. Video is especially easy to consume for visual products or technical questions.

BeardBrand, an ecommerce company that sells men's grooming products, is one company that does a great job at producing video tutorials and guides. They have more than 700,000 subscribers on their Youtube channel, and they post multiple videos a week. Many of the videos are styling questions or tutorials like this one. This is not only a great way to answer questions that your customers might have about your products, but it is also great marketing.

6. Integrate live chat into your Self-Service portal

By now, you might be picking up a trend. While a self service strategy is all about making it easy for customers to help themselves, the best-in-class companies still find ways to make it feel authentic, on-brand and personable.

One way to take this a step further is to enable live chat in your help desk software. This is a low-effort way for someone to easily contact you if they are struggling to find what they are looking for or resolve an issue without having to pick up the phone or wait hours - if not days - for an email response.

Plus, statistics show that customers that use live chat are more satisfied with their customer service experience than when using other contact channels.

7. Build a support community

After building out a KB, a natural evolution for many companies is to create a support forum or community. The impact can be enormous and measurable through decreasing time to response, customers helping each other, and a smaller queue of support work.

One company that has a massive support community is Salesforce. Their community strategy doesn't just decrease support volume but also generates a lot of product feedback.

8. Make it easy to collect customer feedback online.

Having a self-service portal has a lot of benefits for a company's bottom line. However, that doesn't mean you can stop actively engaging with and listening to your customers.

One way to keep them engaged is to have a dedicated product feedback channel. This should be a place where customers can leave suggestions and ideas for how to make your company or product better. Even if you can't use many of the suggestions right away, acknowledge them and thank the customer for leaving their feedback explaining what you plan on doing with it. This is something that Hootsuite does well.

In short, self-service is anything that makes it easier for customers to learn about your products or services or fix an issue on their own terms without contacting a human. The benefits of a robust self-service strategy are immense from new sales, higher customer satisfaction, higher lifetime value, increased retention rates, and even more word-of-mouth referrals.