With as many options as users have today on the internet, providing a high-quality user experience on your website is table-stakes.
One way to build a user experience that stands out? By delivering a top-tier customer service system for users who are lost and need help. Having an available and well-prepared customer representative team can be incredibly valuable if and when your customers need help.
But there's a problem; customers regularly acknowledge that they would prefer not to talk to a customer service agent and instead figure out their issue on their own — as in, up to 60% of them. And you don't have much time before they decide to move past your site to a competitor who may have a more streamlined interface that they understand better.
The solution to this is providing self-service options to your customers and it can take several different forms on your page. Self-service is a way for your users to seek out the answers they need by themselves in a swift and hopefully easy-to-understand process.
But what is it? And how can your business implement it to create a better customer experience?
What Is Customer Self-Service
As we've mentioned, customer self-service can be several different things — but at its core, it is a tool that the consumer uses to solve their problems without the aid of a customer service representative. (At least, without the aid of a human one.)
There are a few popular channels that your web page can implement.
When chatbots first started to become popular back in 2016, they were not nearly as strong as they are now. Unfortunately, they still carry a bit of a reputation with them because of their early days, but once consumers realize the potential, chatbots will be a strong force in the world of customer self-service.
Chatbots take the form of a small chat window that pops up on your web page, sometimes when a user first arrives on the home page or casually stops by after they've been browsing for a bit. When they interact with the user is up to you. The chatbot will ask your users if they need help to find anything or have any questions. All of these are pre-determined inquiries established by you, the business whose site the chatbot is on.
If and when the user responds to the chatbot, it will use AI and complex algorithms to analyze their question and what resources it can provide to help. This may be in the form of links (either internal or external), simple answers related to products, or even a connection to a human representative.
Another benefit of AI is that the response quality has improved dramatically. What was once a stiff robot with limited responses is now a highly advanced system that understands the user's natural language and intention.
The chatbot can nearly mimic a conversation with an actual human agent that understands their problems. AI Chatbots also have the strength of being available 24/7 to all users that come in with questions, meaning that even if all of your customer service agents are off the clock, the bots are still there to answer questions.
While consumers do prefer to solve their issues without the help of the business that they're using, that doesn't always mean that they want to do it by themselves.
Peer-to-peer troubleshooting has been growing in popularity over the last ten years, meaning that customer forums can be a very beneficial service to provide for your consumers.
And it isn't just beneficial to them. Providing an online location for your target audience to communicate with each other about issues they're having or fixes they wish would happen gives your company direct access to what your users are thinking and wanting. This information, combined with search engine analysis and product popularity, is a powerful data source for your marketing and development teams.
Frequently Asked Questions
While the Frequently Asked Questions page on a website may seem a little dry compared to artificial intelligence-based chatbots, it can provide several benefits to most users who take advantage of it.
That said, it's essential to consistently maintain and update the FAQ page on your site. Outdated questions or answers are incredibly frustrating to users seeking to find a resolution to their issue.
Using insights from your search engine or analyzing the popularity of questions on a consumer forum page will help your company ensure that your FAQ section is up-to-date and as useful as possible.
Why Implement Self-Service for Your Customers?
Well, there are quite a few benefits: it can help solve a user's issues, save your company money, and save your customer service team energy so they can focus on big issues.
Having multiple channels of self-customer service only elevates these benefits by providing more options to your users.
Save Your Users Time
Consumers prefer self-service options for various reasons, but primarily because they believe that it is a faster way of getting their answer than reaching out to a customer service representative.
And most of the time, they're right: every customer service team is different, but more often than not, they have more in-coming users with questions than they do representatives. This means that you have clients on a waiting list which they would much rather avoid.
Self-service options provide customers with immediately available information to, hopefully, answer all of their questions.
Save Your Company Customer Service Costs and Efforts
While highly-trained customer service agents are extremely important and well worth the investment, self-service channels can help pad your website's troubleshooting options at a fraction of the cost.
While AI chatbots may be an investment initially, they are available around the clock and can assist as many users that need them for no extra cost. In 2019 they saved an estimated $127 million in the banking sector alone.
FAQ pages and customer forums require some maintenance, but generally, the users are the ones who populate those pages with troubleshooting content, reducing the effort required from your team.
Self-Service Support Contributes To More Efficient Use Of Human Resources
Implementing self-service support like AI chatbots and customer forums reduces the number of customers approaching your customer service agents. Simple questions might not seem like a big deal, but they can distract your team from helping users with major questions.
Providing convenient ways for customers to answer their questions isn't only in their best interest and in the best interest of your employees and their productivity.
It is important to have a highly organized website with a beautiful design and an advanced internal search engine; no matter how well thought out your site is, your users will inevitably have problems — or questions — you didn't think of on your own.
As we've seen, a lot of customers are less likely to ask your representatives for help, preferring to solve their issues on their own. But they need the tools to do so, or else they'll probably get frustrated and leave your page altogether. Improving self-service options is a great way to help your business avoid that.
AI Chatbots can provide a casual channel of service to your users. They're available at all times and are great for giving simple answers and valuable resources.
Consumer forums and FAQ pages are a great way to get your users to troubleshoot their problems with other users. Not only do these channels benefit your customers by providing multiple options for where they can find their answers, but they also benefit your business by effectively enlisting your users to ask and answer their questions.
All of these channels reduce the number of questions that make it to your customer service representatives, which means that your team is able to prioritize a majority of its energy towards the customers with genuinely difficult errors.
At Yext, we believe a positive customer experience is the key to a successful business, and self-customer service benefits your users and your business at the same time.