“Due to increased call volume, hold times may be longer than usual.” How many times have we heard that when calling a customer support line? It’s frustrating enough when you have an issue that you need to get resolved without waiting endlessly on hold if you’re calling, or for an e-mail response if you’ve e-mailed in.

And it’s worse if you are a B2B customer because your issue could be mission-critical and if you’re waiting for a response for your issue to get resolved, so are your B2B clients.

Many customers are still reluctant to try methods that involve self-help or other technology-assisted tools; either because they think it will take even more time, or they are worried that they won’t be able to resolve it themselves. Others are embracing these options.

This blog series will explore several tools that can help your customers solve issues on their own and speed the time to resolution, and ways to help them feel more comfortable doing so.

If your B2B customer support software solution provides self-help resources for your agents, or if your customer support department does the same for your customers, it is NOT an indication of a lack of personalized service. On the contrary! It empowers contacts with an issue to solve their issue in a timely manner, 24/7, rather than wait for an agent on the phone or through e-mail. And for more complex issues, the agents are free to spend the appropriate amount of time needed to solve them.

Industry studies have found that self-service really does have a positive and measurable impact on both quality and quantity of customer service issues requiring an agent’s attention. In one study, over 75% of respondents confirmed that first level resolution, first contact resolution, cost per contact, and cost per incident were all improved. Speed to answer was reported as improved by 80% of the respondents, and 65% reported reduced call abandonment rates.

Examine your support ticket issues to identify the most common reasons for customers to contact support and use these to build your:

  • Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) page
  • Searchable Knowledge Base (KB) that includes articles and short videos
  • Topics for online community discussion forums
  • How-to webinars in the form of a “university”-style series

With these resources, customers may be able to solve issues themselves requiring no interaction from an agent. When an agent is involved, they can forward helpful articles from the Knowledge Base to reinforce how to solve the issue, so the customer might be more inclined to try it themselves the next time.

Here are a few tips to make it easy for your customers to use your self-help tools:

  • Keep it current. Monitor usage and examine content for relevancy and recency. For software support especially, make sure articles are up to date with current versions and revisions. It’s a good idea to include the date on support pages so customers know whether the information they are reading is still applicable.
  • Make it easy. Try not to use too much jargon or highly technical language. Offer step-by-step tutorials or instructions. Break up information into headers and lists so it’s easier for customers to consume. Provide clarity through images and videos.
  • Raise awareness. Use pop-ups on your customer portals and FAQ page to make customers aware of the self-help tools. Send follow-up e-mails after a support call with helpful articles or videos so the customer will be reminded about the self-help resources if a future similar issue occurs.

In Part 2 of this series, we’ll explore two other ways that customers can speed up the time to ticket resolution using Chat and visual support tools.