Offering customers self-service capabilities is becoming an increasingly important element of the customer service toolkit. Whether it is in the form of an online knowledge base, a simple FAQ or a portal, Gartner Research predicts that by the end of 2020, 85% of the relationship between customers and businesses will require zero human interaction.
Here are 8 benefits to self-service for organizations weighing the value of adjusting their customer service strategy.
One of the most compelling reasons for introducing self-service tools is that it’s just what customers want. Giving customers the ability to manage elements of their service themselves, is more convenient and enhances their property management experience. Forrester research found that 72% of American consumers prefer to independently use a website to find answers as opposed to emails or phone calls, approximately 50% of the people who prefer self-service feels strongly about having that option.
Studies show that companies that grow sustainably, place heavy priority on their customer experience do not rush to take on more customers until they establish a quality and balanced approach to serving and meeting their customers’ expectations. HubSpot research showed that 49% of companies that found growth to be important prioritized customer experience.
Enabling customers to serve themselves helps balance the customer service workload relieving your customer service representatives of an increasing workload. As your portfolio grows, self-service options can scale to accommodate the increase in customers and enable you to manage requests, inquiries, and concerns without having to add additional staff to your team.
As volume increases it can be hard for a customer service teams to manage an influx of inbound inquiries or support requests. Empowering customers to find answers independently can reduce employee stress and enable staff to allot more time to deliver quality response to customer service requests that do make it past the self-service stage to a live representative.
SuperOffice reported that 75% of customers indicated that fast response times was the most important attribute of quality customer experience. It’s simple really, when people can log into a portal or look up a website, they can get answers to their questions faster than waiting for a response to an email, a queue, or for a call to be returned. Another SuperOffice study found that the average customer service response time to an email inquiry averages at 12 hours. When information is accessible online, customers can find what they’re looking for at their pace. This is enhanced when an online knowledge base is organized with tags and by category, enabling users to go directly to the information they’re seeking.
Self-service tools are often available 24/7 and centralized online which means that portal software or knowledge bases can be accessed on mobile devices as well as desktops. Even as offices close for the day or the weekend, self-service tools do not, so customers can access information on their own timeline from anywhere in the world.
We already know that self-service eliminates the need to hire additional teams to manage an expanding portfolio and customer base which saves the costs of salary. But self-service tools also allow employees to be more productive, managing more work in less time and time savings equal cost savings.
A quality customer service response helps to maintain your customer base and attract new leads. 56% of customers cite “website issues” as the catalyst for moving to a competitor’s website. Offering service alternatives can prevent customers from switching to a competitor. A Walker report found that customer experience will surpass price and product as the key factor in differentiating competing businesses by the end of 2020.