Self-service support, or creating an online portal so your customers can find their own answers, is now prevalent in most industries. With benefits including 24/7 availability and being able to solve issues at one’s own pace, it’s not surprising to see more companies investing in self-service solutions. But how can you ensure your self-service initiatives are successful? Here are the three keys to successful self-service support…

1) Eliminate internal self-service restrictions – Some companies, especially SaaS (Software as a Service) companies who offer different product tiers, want only current customers on a certain “tier” to see their self-service solution. This shouldn’t happen most of the time. By showing your entire self-service portal to all your customers (and even prospects) you can create upselling opportunities and attract brand new customers. Don’t let a great self-service solution sit behind a wall, let people see your solution and make sure you drive customers to it. If it’s well done then it will become a positive asset for customers as they continue their business relationship with your company.

2) Add elements of personalization – Most successful self-service solutions will soon have some form of personalization. Be it as simple as a customized greeting for your company or a complex solution including custom links based on an employee’s title, self-service is certainly not immune from the increasingly personalized online experience customers expect. Some companies are taking personalization even further through technology, including tying together their customer support software (with built-in self-service) and their sales software so information is shared freely. This increases the accuracy of customer information and thus when someone at a company changes their role, they will then see different self-service articles that are applicable to their new job.

3) Predict future behavior by using data – The term “big data” may be ambiguous and overused, but there’s no denying data can be very powerful in creating a successful self-service experience. One of the best way to use data in self-service is looking at how customers interact with your self-service content. Ask yourself the following questions…

  • Have I optimized my self-service search results?
  • Do I know what pages are causing many of my customers to leave my self-service portal?
  • Have I looked at what paths my customers take when interacting with my self-service content?
  • Do I know how long customers are spending on my self-services pages?

These are just a few questions data can answer for you and will provide you with real action items. Maybe unclear content on one page is causing a high volume of searches for a related term. Or it could be possible search results for a popular phrase are showing unrelated content that is causing people to leave altogether. These issues are very real and can be fixed with the right self-service solution.

In short, having a successful self-service solution means creating a portal that is primarily centered around being personalized, data driven, and easy for everyone to access. These keys to success in self-service will not only make your customers happy but will also boost your bottom line by increasing your customer retention rate. Moving forward, self-service will be important to businesses because it will continue to help multiple areas of a company. Simply put, self-service solutions still provide good customer service and they are changing the way companies communicate with their current and prospective customers.