Customer support can be tricky to scale and difficult to keep up with.
Support tickets are piling up, phones are backlogged with wait times, and live-chat can only sustain so many representatives without costing a small fortune. The problem with typical customer service and support options is their dependence on company personnel to solve tedious or minor issues, taking their time from more important issues. Hiring more customer service reps and implementing more tools costs more money and distracts from their potential to help improve bigger bottlenecks.
Customer support reps are a wealth of knowledge about the larger processes of a company. Splitting their time between big-ticket items and smaller support issues can negatively impact customer experiences by reducing response time and forcing them to juggle. And slow responses can dramatically reduce your sales.
53% of customers want a response within an hour. But not every company responds that fast. By scaling your online support through offloading work onto the customer with a self-service platform, your support reps can focus on more critical issues in the support process.
Here’s how to slash your customer support tickets in half by using a self-service approach.
What’s the benefit of self-service? What does a self-service platform look like?
Self-service options work as the first line of defense where users can solve the majority of their issues before seeking out your customer support staff.
Meaning you can limit the number of tickets received, time spent responding to emails and phone calls, all while solving user problems! It frees up more time for your reps to work on larger account issues.
According to Statista, customers prefer to solve their support questions using online channels, rather than voice. Phone calls and in-person support aren’t the top dogs of customer service anymore.
They would rather have access to fast, live, online support instead. In fact, 60% of consumers want easier access to online support.
Self-service support can provide that.
Types of self-service tools
A great self-service section for your support options focuses on giving users the ability to problem solve on their own time. To allow them to explore information that improves their use of your products and services.
For instance, a knowledge base where users can search, locate, and implement answers based on different scenarios or common issues.Knowledge bases should have categorized articles based on their topics, too. For example, Freshdesk customer Applian Technologies uses categorization documents to separate support options for Windows and Mac users.To break it down further, each topic has its own category where they provide guides, tips, and step-by-step tutorials to fixing common user problems or adding new features.
Using screenshots and bullet points to enhance the walkthrough, content can easily be understood, reducing the need for users to contact support.
Another big element of self-service support is forums. Forums help bring in real user experience to help other users solve their problems. For example, the Applian forum lets real customers post solutions, tips, and tricks to using the products and circumventing common problem areas.
Plus, it barely takes any moderation from employees. With automated settings and the ability to create moderators on the most active threads, your support reps won’t be bogged down.
Using a self-service strategy first, Applian has reduced their support ticket volume by 15%. They’ve freed up 15 hours per week on small teams answering technical support questions.
Let’s recap. Here are some of the key types self-service platforms.
- Community forums
Here’s how a few companies including Freshdesk customers did just that, producing fantastic results.
How Self-Service Integration Transformed Megaventory’s Support Process
When tickets start to pile up, creating a deadly ticket backlog, it’s tough to recover. Support is delayed, and users become frustrated quickly. All of this leads to potential lost clients and customers who aren’t being satisfied and an overworked customer support staff that burns out.
Self-service is a great way to combat this common issue in customer support by relieving tons of tickets that support staff often face. Megaventory, an online inventory company, was able to transform their entire support process with the self-service features offered by Freshdesk. After adopting Freshdesk, the company was able to track everything going on with each support ticket in an organized, easily accessible manner. How? By implementing new self-service options on their site, like a knowledge base, to improve the overall user experience. Dimitris Athanasiadis, Business Delivery and Marketing Manager for Megaventory, said
The knowledge base is a very useful treasure trove of information for our clients. It can help significantly in reducing load for support by allowing users to access answers even when the Megaventory staff isn’t available.
Megaventory users even have the ability to give feedback about whether knowledge base articles are helpful or unhelpful. This lets the brand know which support content they should think about improving and which content is doing well. The self-service knowledge base isn’t just a resource for customers, either. It’s also a resource for employees. Dimitris said,
The knowledge base also helps us answer chat queries, even on the go. We simply fire up a browser (a knowledge base tab is always open in most of our smartphones) and search for the respective entry in the knowledge base to answer the customer query.
Then, all that support agents have to do is switch back to the customer request and provide answer with a link to the article and a brief description. So, how do you get started with a self-service platform? Let me show you.
Build Out Your Content Library Based On Tutorials and User Feedback
A big barrier to entry for users to engage with self-service tools is usability. Can they find what they need fast? Is it clearly organized and separated into different segments, topics or divisions within your product line? Is it updated?
The bottom line is: are you putting enough time and effort into your knowledge base? If not, you should be. But what type of content should your library contain? The most common content types are
- Tips and tricks
- Video content + screenshot tutorials
A great example of a well-organized knowledge base is from Facebook.Segmenting first by popular topics and common questions, they can answer tons of support questions without the need for customer service reps to spend time on simple fixes. Each document or topic that you click gives you an in-depth tutorial on how to solve the problem….
…..as well as related topics that you might be interested in next.
And a key factor in the success of Facebook’s knowledge base is their integrated survey. Integrated survey is also a key feature of Freshdesk.
Continually collect user feedback and implement that back into your support docs. Focus on detailed guides that can help solve user problems. Take existing, common user problems and turn them into support library docs.
Freshdesk’s customer aNewSpring uses the knowledge base combined with search options to create a low barrier to entry. Users can search for their problems and pick from results.
They can then use this information in combination with Google Analytics to uncover potential FAQs or common topics to suggest based on the search volume.Start building out your content library with useful information for every product, service, and feature you have. Continually refine it with feedback, popular topics, and new updates to your products.
Treat Your Self-Service Library As A First Step In Customer Service
Self-service customer support options are a great way to mitigate 50% of your existing support tickets or cases. Technical problems, account information, or anything that can be solved directly through tutorials and walkthroughs. But not every case can be solved or predicted by support documents and forums. Sometimes, user complications are the byproduct of system errors and glitches that simply can’t be predicted. If that were the case, other customer service options simply wouldn’t exist. Using your self-service library, treat it as the starting point to ward off most extra communication from users. But also use it as an opportunity to engage users with other platforms while they are reviewing self-service docs to provide better support.
For instance, here at Freshdesk, we engage our user base with Freshchat live-chat when they land on our knowledge base through triggered behavior messaging. This automated message serves as a way to personalize the experience and provide comfort to users looking to solve their problems. Conversations then get turned into active tickets, allowing you to assign those tickets to the right customer service rep based on factors like keywords. If the user engages with live-chat, you can quickly link them to the right knowledge base article, too. It’s an easy way to provide the user with enough options to feel confident in their decision and ability to solve their problems.
Treat your self-service library as a starting point. Give users multiple routes before sending them to a support agent. Chances are, half of the problems you see in your ticketing system can be solved with a better self-service section.
Scaling customer support options for a small business isn’t easy. So, what’s the solution?
It can help free up your support staff to respond to the most important inquiries. But more importantly, it can slash your support tickets in half. That means less time and effort spent on the small problems and more time spent on bigger issues and clients. While it likely won’t solve all customer support problems, it’s a great way to decrease your overall amount of tickets and provide support that users love and want to use.
Self-service empowers your customers with knowledge, gives them a seamless experience, and frees up their time spent searching for solutions. Instead of waiting for a response to a ticket or email or needing to wait for phone or live chat hours, they can find exactly what they need right when they need it. Get started with self-service today to save your team and your customers’ time.