What is customer self-service?
Customer self-service is a type of customer support that proactively helps customers access relevant information about your services, products, or policies, in order to find solutions to their queries — and even perform routine tasks (like troubleshooting) on their own without a support agent’s help.
Self-service options provide quick solutions to customer queries, bringing your agents’ workload to a manageable level — improving both your employee experience and your customer service experience.
Types of customer self-service channels
Here are the six most popular customer self-service types that are commonly used across businesses:
1. Knowledge base
A knowledge base is an online repository of long-form “how-to” content, like step-by-step guides, articles, or tutorial videos on common product and service-related questions. Through a knowledge base, customers can easily access information, develop a comprehensive understanding of your product, and troubleshoot any related issues — anytime that they need to.
2. Conversational AI and bots
AI-powered chatbots use natural language processing (NLP) and machine learning to simulate human-sounding conversations across most customer-facing channels to deliver an omnichannel customer experience.
Chatbots can gauge the customer's intent behind a query and provide relevant resolutions with minimal agent intervention. You can also optimize your chatbots so they send pre-approved responses based on the identified customer intent and guide people to the most appropriate solutions. Another benefit is that customers can reach out to chatbots around-the-clock for help solving their queries.
3. FAQ pages
Most companies have a frequently asked questions (FAQ) page on their website containing common questions asked by customers. FAQs provide immediate answers to customers’ simple questions without involving support agents. When creating these pages, keep FAQs simple, concise, and easy to understand.
4. Interactive voice response (IVR)
IVR is an automated telephonic customer service that uses speech recognition and prerecorded messages to engage callers by providing them with relevant information without connecting to a live agent. (Note: IVR provides customers with an option to connect with an agent whenever they prefer.)
Businesses use IVR to provide customers with information related to their common queries, such as order status or delivery date. An advanced IVR system can also modify customer settings and guide them through troubleshooting product issues, thereby reducing your call abandonment rates and call volumes significantly.
Learn more: Press none for great customer experience
5. Community forums
Community forums allow customers to share their feedback, discuss product functionality, interact with fellow customers, and exchange knowledge with new customers, encouraging peer-to-peer engagement in a safe and comfortable space.
Customers can post their queries on such forums and await other customers’ responses or helpful insights. Your community moderation support team can also interact with customers and help them resolve their queries.
Customers also share their honest feedback on communities that your engineering teams can then use to improve your product.
Also, you can easily create and deploy step-by-step guided workflows for customers on a website, mobile app, or community to lend them assistance in a streamlined manner while reducing resolution time.
Benefits of a customer self-service strategy
1. 24/7 support
51% of customers expect their favorite brands to be available 24/7, which is challenging for agents due to their fixed working hours. But self-help tools are available to customers around-the-clock to address their queries.
Learn more: How to reduce customer churn by providing omnichannel support
2. Automate quick query resolution
Customers want quick resolutions to their queries. In fact, 75% of customers expect a company to respond within five minutes. Self-service solutions provide customers with a quick and straightforward way to solve their queries — for instance, chatbots can interact with customers based on guided workflows and provide them with the ideal solution to their queries, sometimes supported by knowledge base articles.
Learn more: How customer service response times directly impact CSAT, retention, and revenue
3. Fewer customer support tickets
40% of all tickets are repetitive, and agents spend a great deal of time resolving them day in and day out, affecting their bandwidth to handle complex customer queries in a timely manner. Customer self-service options take care of the common queries, allowing agents to focus on the tickets that require critical thinking and the human touch.
Moreover, when customers are able to resolve their queries themselves, the amount of support tickets raised by customers reduces over time.
4. Improve agent productivity
While self-serve options are helpful to customers, they are also valuable resources for training new agents to improve their skills and productivity. When agents have resources like the knowledge base portal and FAQ page available to them, they can develop their knowledge over time, which eventually will help them provide quicker resolutions to most customer queries.
Best practices for using customer self-service tools
1. Update your content regularly
Update your knowledge base articles, customer self-service portal, and FAQ page regularly with each product release. If those resources feature outdated information, that will negatively impact your customer satisfaction (CSAT). In addition, you should also refresh your “how-to” videos, product tutorials, and screenshots frequently.
Learn more: Must-have features for free knowledge base software
2. Provide self-service as an option
Offering only self-service options to customers can have a negative impact on your customer experience. Sometimes customers will require a nuanced conversation with a live agent. So customers do need an easy-to-locate option to connect with human agent support.
3. Monitor, analyze, and improve
Always ask your customers to share their feedback after a service interaction across various touchpoints. Monitor and analyze your customer service metrics, the performance of your online communities, knowledge portal, and FAQ page. Based on your analyses, modify your strategy and implement enhancements to improve the customer experience.
Improve your customer support using Sprinklr’s self-service software
Customers want to help themselves. In fact, 70% of customers use self-service channels at some point in their resolution journey. Unfortunately, only 9% can fully resolve their issues via self-service channels.
Sprinklr’s self-service software helps your customers help themselves by guiding them to the answers and services they need through online communities, knowledge portals, and chatbot support powered by conversational AI — leading to faster resolutions, happier customers, and agents who are free to focus on more high-impact issues.
As the world’s only unified customer experience management (Unified-CXM) platform, Sprinklr helps you:
Increase profit margins by 41% with customer self-service
Lower your contact center costs by ensuring that only complex customer issues are handled by live agents — and the rest are automated with community forums, chatbots, and AI-powered routing.
Decrease caseloads by 25% with customer self-service support
Conversational AI chatbots can route your customers to the answers they need, connect them to the services most relevant to their issue, invite them to learn from peers, and offer additional resolutions — all without a live agent.
Eliminate agent churn by saving support teams 2.6K work days
Free your agents from routine, repetitive requests. Sprinklr Service’s automated customer self-service software reduces caseloads — which, in turn, boosts job satisfaction and increases agent engagement.
Reduce service costs by 33% year-over-year
Sprinklr reduces costly agent caseloads by empowering customers to solve problems using the knowledge base and community-generated self-service support — and then maximizes savings by making these conversations searchable online to other customers.
Increase customer satisfaction rates by 5.4x
Research shows consumers trust their peers over branded messages. Online communities offer an environment where people can build relationships with peers and experts, discover new ways to engage with your products, and boost trust in your business.
Advance your integrations
Unified-CXM integrates your CRM and online communities into the contact center solution. Service agents are assigned to communities the same way they are to live chat, email, or any other digital channel, and all data feeds into the company’s 360-degree view of its customers — driving actionable insights that help brands deliver better experiences on an enterprise-scale, while also controlling costs.
Unify analytics and dashboards in a single platform
Sprinklr Service makes it easy to run community reports on user activity, trending topics, sentiment, and case summaries — community data you can then compare with other digital channels to understand the complete picture of how your customers want to engage.
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