Self-Service Customer Support: How to Grow Your Business and Cut Costs Today

These days, with so much competition to deal with, as well as clients who are savvier than ever, it is important for businesses to do everything they can to stand out from the crowd and provide top-notch customer support that will have people becoming raving fans.

With most shoppers incredibly busy, one of the ways that many organizations are raising the bar and catering to consumer demand is through the provision of self-service tools. People want to be able to complete tasks, get information, and source answers to their questions whenever they want, whether that’s on the weekend, in the middle of the night, or at any other time.

In fact, according to the research organization Forrester, 72 percent of customers like to find solutions to their problems themselves, rather than have to wait to receive answers from customer service representatives. Furthermore, as evidenced by a Detecon Consulting survey that covered five different industries, the implementation of self-service options is embraced by most consumers, with 78 percent of customers said to be open to the deployment of these services and seeing them as a positive development.

As you can see, from a customer’s perspective it’s worthwhile to take the time to create an enhanced help-desk solution for your business. In addition you can also save your firm money and time, as you won’t need so many customer-service team members (or as many of your own hours) to help shoppers. Self-service options can also lead to increased customer loyalty and referrals. If you’re interesting in finding ways that you can introduce more customer-friendly self-service solutions today, read on.


Incorporate IVR

What is IVR, you might wonder? Interactive Voice Response Technology, or IVR for short, is what is used when you interact directly with a computer over the phone. For example, whenever you call a company and get an automated response that greets you, directs your calls, or prompts your payment (based on responses you key in or say), you’re using IVR. These computer systems are designed to interpret the tones sent from your keypad or to use speech-recognition software to communicate.

They can be set up to segment, identify, and route calls, and/or to handle many different types of information-collecting and disseminating jobs. You can record customized greetings, messages and prompts for customers (this saves your customer service team having to answer calls), as well as use the technology for payment processing. IVR systems can take care of both inbound payments, plus handle outbound notifications about things such as bill due dates, accepted payment options, and current account balances.

IVR is helpful for businesses and customers alike because it allows callers to serve themselves. This makes thing quicker and more convenient for customers, since they can call and complete tasks at any time of day; while businesses can save time for their team members, plus the costs involved in having multiple customer-service staff rostered on, or people having to work at all hours.

Set up Dynamic FAQs and Instant Answers

Another self-service option to consider setting up is dynamic FAQs so that customers can answer questions for themselves, rather than have to submit a ticket to a help desk or otherwise get in touch with a company. When you supply a FAQ page, your clients can simply scroll through the online details to see if their question has already been answered (quite likely, since you typically get the same questions popping up time and again), or they can find out information about a particular product or service they’re interested in or have already bought.

By implementing dynamic and searchable FAQs, you make it even quicker and easier for people to locate the data they need. Dynamic FAQs use Natural Language Search technology to analyze the questions inputted by users as they type. From there, the software presents people with the most relevant answers straight away.

Similarly, it also pays to incorporate Instant Answers into your help desks or other customer-service support options. Instant Answers let clients and potential customers serve themselves by directing them to the information they’re after. The technology uses semantic search to analyze the text typed into help-desk or related systems, and then presents people with relevant content.


Don’t Just Rely on Text

Lastly, when you’re looking for ways to make your customer service more efficient and less expensive, consider the fact that many consumers find visual and auditory content more helpful than written text. As such, you should try to provide lots of infographics, videos, diagrams, screenshots, photographs, flow charts, and other clear, step-by-step visuals for your customers to use.

When it comes to product or service tutorials, buyer guides, instructions and the like, giving people access to visual and auditory options can help to make it easier for them to grasp difficult or complex concepts, or to keep up with detailed information. By making these forms of content available for shoppers and clients, you will allow them to solve their own problems, get their own answers, and reduce the amount of time and money your business has to spend on customer service.