Most customers prefer talking to a person on the phone to receive customer service. However, there are others who would rather find the answers they need without connecting to a live person. Utilizing self-service options can help save your agents’ time and provide a better experience for your customers. According to Cisco, implementing AI chat resources has improved the customer experience for 53% of call centers.
5 Types of Self-Service Options
Self-service options allow customers to find answers to their questions or concerns without having to speak with a live agent. Some common self-service options include:
- A searchable knowledge-base
- An IVR system
- An AI chatbot
- A frequently asked questions (FAQ) page
- A community forum
Let’s explore these options in detail.
1. Searchable Knowledge-Base
The most widely used customer self-service option is a searchable knowledge-base. Knowledge-bases contain all the resources customers might need, such as detailed user guides, so they can find answers to common issues. Knowledge-bases can also provide blog posts, videos, and podcasts to address various types of support in easily accessible formats for individual customers.
For non-critical issues, your support phone line can direct callers to an interactive voice response (IVR) system. Customers can use their voice commands or keypad inputs to obtain basic information, or the IVR system can route the call to the appropriate department if needed.
3. AI Chatbots
In today’s fast-paced world, customers expect instant answers and solutions. Adding chatbot functionality to your website or social channels can provide customers with immediate assistance. Chatbots can handle simple tasks that don’t require human intervention, such as order status checks. This frees up your agents to focus on more pressing issues, conserving company resources.
4. FAQ Page
Do you know the most common questions and concerns your agents encounter? Identifying these issues can help you create an FAQ page to save your agents’ time in the future. Each question should have a thorough answer to provide the necessary information. Organizing the FAQ page by topics can further facilitate customers in finding the answers they need quickly.
5. Community Forum
An online community forum empowers your knowledgeable customer base. Customers can post their questions in the discussion forum, and other customers who have faced similar issues can offer answers. Sometimes, your customers may know your products or services better than you do. Moreover, a customer resolving a concern they have experienced brings validation to other customers with the same concern.
Benefits of Self-Service Options
While many customers prefer speaking to a live representative, implementing self-service options can provide the following benefits for your contact center:
Your competitors likely offer enhanced self-service options for their customers. If you don’t, your customers may choose to turn to those companies. Self-service portals are now an expectation.
Faster Response Times
According to Zendesk’s 2023 Customer Experience Trends Report:
- 70% of today’s consumers are willing to spend more with companies that offer seamless customer experiences.
- 64% expect a company’s chatbot to provide the same level of assistance as a human.
- 62% believe companies can significantly improve content personalization.
- A negative experience with a company can ruin the day for 66% of consumers.
Customers can find answers anytime, day or night, without waiting on hold. This faster response time leads to an overall improved customer experience.
Customers don’t want to wait for answers. Sometimes, their issues are critical, and they can’t afford to wait. Self-service portals are available 24/7, allowing customers to find information whenever they need it.
Empowering customers to find their own answers saves costs compared to paying agents to provide the same information. Every time a customer finds their own answer, it contributes to your bottom line. According to Gartner, it can be 80 to 100 times less expensive for businesses when customers resolve their own issues rather than requiring the assistance of a live call center agent, even if the resolution journey only has one step.
Improved User Experience
Something as minor as a forgotten password can significantly impact a customer’s day. Not having access to quick answers may even cause customers to look for alternatives to the products or services they currently purchase from you.
Agents’ Time Better Spent
The benefits of self-service options like chatbots, FAQs, and knowledge bases extend to your call center agents. These options not only free up senior agents’ time for more critical tasks but also help train newly hired agents on the intricacies of your products or services.
Choosing the Right Tools for Your Contact Center
The right set of tools can differentiate your contact center from others. Self-service options allow your customers to receive quicker help for commonly faced issues, reducing the workload on your agents, streamlining your contact center operations, and enhancing the customer experience. When done correctly, satisfied customers become loyal customers. Request a demo or contact us to learn more.