“Customer service shouldn’t just be a department, it should be the entire company” – Tony Hsieh
It is a well-established fact that customer service is one of the most crucial pillars of business success. The mathematics of customer service being paramount for any business is quite simple. When you offer extraordinary service to your customers, they come back to you for their future purchases. As a business leader, you already know by now how vital it is to retain your most valuable customers. You will see your sales only taking an upward trajectory if you are able to impress your customers with customer-centric service.
Going forward, every domain in the business world is now undergoing massive transformations with the advent of stellar technologies. With businesses taking the digital pathway, the critical factors of business success are also going digital. To continue, this overwhelming digitalization is offering customers an unparalleled opportunity to help themselves with their service requests. Yes, things are changing at a swift pace and customer call centers now seem a thing of the past.
With digitalization scaling new heights each day, customer self-service is now becoming a buzzword in the corporate scenario. Customer self-service portals are defining the latest innovations in the domain of customer service. It implies that customers can now manage and rectify their service requests on their own using self-service modes. They can follow easy instructions and get rid of their service issues in real-time. Gone are the days when they had to call several times to get their service requests processed.
In this blog, we shed light on the various merits that customer self-service portals can offer to a business. It would be a smart idea on your part to incorporate these portals into your business operations at the earliest. However, before we look at the upsides of customer self-service channels, let us glance at how they actually work.
How do customer self-service portals work?
In most cases, customer self-service channels or portals function on the concept of knowledge sharing. With the help of knowledge sharing software, self-service facilities can be offered to customers in the form of different media. To explain, the different components of media share the necessary knowledge with customers that they require to resolve their service issues on their own.
Probing further, these media include virtual assistants, frequently asked questions (FAQs), video tutorials, instruction manuals, chatbots etcetera. With these channels for sharing knowledge, your business can share incessant information with customers. This information will be of great use to them for brisk resolution of their service requests without having to depend on others.
Moving further, let us now highlight the various advantages that customer self-service mechanisms can offer to a business. Riding on these merits, you can reimagine the plans and the strategic business objectives you have set for future success. While business success depends on customer experiences to a great extent, these channels are here to revolutionize the landscape. So, without further ado, let us get going.
Worthwhile benefits of customer self-service mechanisms
Optimizes customer experience via empowerment
It is an established fact now that customer experience holds the real key to retaining customers. To substantiate, as per Semrush Blog, around 90 percent of business leaders opine that excellent customer experience is salient to retention. Having said that, can the experience of your customers get any better than the feeling of empowerment?
In fact, all of us gravitate towards the idea of empowerment for the simple reason that power is an amazing feeling to have. Irrespective of whether you are devising strategies for employee retention or customer retention, empowerment ought to be the central idea. This is where customer self-service mechanisms are proving to be game-changing. When customers are able to solve their service issues and queries on their own, they feel more authoritative. The bottom line is that they love to have this kind of authority.
To add, because of self-service portals, your customers will not have to depend on customer service executives all the time. Henceforth, the strong feeling of self-sufficiency that your customers will derive from self-service channels will make their experience far more positive. Needless to say, the more positive experiences you offer to your customers the better the opportunity to boost customer retention.
You would be amused to know that as per Annex Cloud, a five percent hike in customer retention can lead to up to a 95 percent increase in profits. So, when are you investing in the most advanced customer self-service portals for your business?
Provides round the clock assistance to customers
The availability of round-the-clock customer support is a key metric for gauging the efficiency of customer service. Of course, customers want businesses to be available at all times to cater to their queries and service requests. Besides, a majority of customers rate their experiences in terms of the time in which a company responds to service issues.
To validate, as per Hubspot, more than 90 percent of customers want an immediate response to their service queries. In fact, 60 percent of them want a response to their service requests within ten minutes. In case, they do not receive an immediate response, they will rate the customer service of the company negatively.
However, it is simple to understand that incessant human support may not always be feasible for businesses. In such a scenario, self-service mechanisms ensure that customers get uninterrupted customer support at all times. This is where the chatbots and virtual assistants come into the picture. These channels of customer self-service will guide customers to solve their service issues even in the absence of customer service executives.
As stated above, the better the response time to service requests the greater the satisfaction of customers. Hence, with self-service channels in place, you have a great chance of excelling in the vital KRAs of customer service.
Self-service portals make customers feel safer
The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic has changed customer patterns and preferences by a great deal. Customers are now skeptical about coming in physical contact with service managers and executives.
Having said that, a contactless service portal is an innovation they will be quite appreciative of. Such portals will give them a greater sense of safety as they would not have to visit outlets or corporate offices to resolve their service issues. Needless to say, when they see a business look after their safety concerns by providing self-service portals, it will render great satisfaction. This valuable feeling of contentment and gratitude among customers will play a key role in boosting retention.
With great convenience, customers can stay safe at their homes and help themselves with their service requests through the prowess of the internet. It is true that the world is now proceeding towards normalcy. However, the pandemic is far from over and the reluctance to come in contact with others is a social behavior that may persist among people for years to come. Given that, customer self-service channels are the need of the hour.
Offers great flexibility and convenience to customers
Besides making customers feel safer, the self-service portals are also offering great flexibility and convenience to customers. It is intriguing to note that as per Zendesk, almost 70 percent of customers prefer to resolve their service issues on their own. This is for the simple reason that it is quite convenient for them to resolve their issues at a time that suits them the best. All your customers may not have the time to visit their nearest service outlets for the resolution of their service requests.
However, if they have the alternative of solving their issues on their own with great flexibility in timing, they would love that by all means. Further, the privilege of convenience and flexibility on offer via self-service portals will enhance the overall experience of your customers. They can interact with your business on the go or even in the middle of the night subject to their convenience. This adds more layers to the feeling of emancipation among your customers.
It would not be much surprising if your customers tend to switch to other businesses in case you do not have attractive self-service features to offer. Having said that, it is crucial that you enhance your game in terms of having an omnichannel approach to customer self-service. Work on developing this competitive advantage before your competitors take the lead. See how it helps your business to advance to levels you never imagined!
Reduction in costs of customer support
It is an undeniable fact that every business has cost considerations whether it is in terms of operational costs or production costs. After all, every opportunity to cut down on costs is synonymous with an opportunity to increase profit margins. Having said that, it is noteworthy that customer self-service mechanisms come with high returns on investment.
Besides, with self-service channels in place, you need not hire a big team of customer service executives. With calls and queries being deflected to these channels of self-service, you can deliver on all metrics of customer service even with a concise team. Isn’t that an amazing advantage to have from the purview of operational costs?
Allocating considerable budgets to customer service has become indispensable for businesses. This is for the simple reason that your existing customers are more likely to buy from you in the future than new customers. Now, in the compulsions of delivering customer service par excellence, it would be great if you could save some costs.
Given that, customer self-service is a cost-effective approach to ascertaining future success in the verticals of customer service. The relevance of customer self-service portals will only get bigger and bigger with time. Customer self-service channels could well be the key to making your business far more efficient. The sooner you incorporate these channels the more beneficial they will prove to be for your business.
To encapsulate, customer self-service channels are among the most fascinating developments that have occurred in the course of the ongoing digital revolution. While customer service is a key result area for every business big or small, self-service portals for customers have come across as great opportunities. They are assisting businesses in excelling in the KRA of customer service by turning customer experiences into delightful stories. Besides, it would not be incorrect to say that these self-service channels will become an integral part of customer service in the future. Given that, sooner or later, every business will have to incorporate these technologies and tools into their operations. Now, it is up to you how soon you empower your business with these competitive advantages.