Until a few years back, people had hardly any option but to call customer service for their queries. They had to wait for a long time during peak hours before a customer service agent would attend them. To add to that, the number of daily service hours would also be generally fixed.
Things have, however, changed now. Customers have become smarter and no longer like or want manual customer support. Instead, they want information that they can use to find solutions to their problems themselves. The advent of customer self-service portals has also revolutionized traditional customer support services. To keep up with the latest developments in customer service and to serve customers digitally, most B2B and B2C companies have adopted customer self-service.
A customer self-service portal is a website or application that customers can use to search for answers to their queries or questions, place orders, generate tickets, or do more without any manual intervention. It primarily includes components like an online community, ticketing service, how-to guides and videos, knowledge base articles, user manuals, help documentation, search functionality, chatbots, and more.
Benefits of a Customer Self-Service Portal
Below are some general benefits your organization can get by integrating a customer self-service portal:
1. Reduced Customer Support Expenses
With a good self-service portal, the need to hire an extensive customer support team goes down. A portal automates almost all the customer service work and helps you save on hiring and training support agents. This helps you increase profitability and return on investment in the long run.
2. Improved Productivity
A customer self-service portal helps enhance customer service agents’ productivity. This is because they don’t have to spend time answering redundant questions and concerns. They can instead get more time to figure out solutions to more complex problems, which helps enhance their productivity and customers’ experience.
3. Enhanced Sales
By improving customers’ experience, a self-service portal also helps boost sales. The better your customer service is, the more likely the customers will return to your store in the future. Over time, the base of repeat customers will expand, leading to increased sales and word-of-mouth publicity.
4. 24/7 Customer Support
There is no limit to the number of hours a self-service portal can work, unlike a customer support team. A portal is also not prone to exhaustion and lethargy, unlike humans. This helps provide seamless customer support day in and day out through a self-service portal.
5. Enhanced Content Delivery
A self-service portal helps you fine-tune your content delivery. By analyzing customers’ most common issues and problems, you can curate your content accordingly on your portal. You can also revise your content to include updated FAQs, documentation, manuals, and informative videos.
6. Increases Website Traffic
Businesses often look for ways to increase website traffic at nominal prices. A customer portal is a good indirect way to boost your website traffic. Good knowledge base articles on your portal compel customers, and they take more interest in your brand. They may also visit your website, which helps increase your brand awareness and traffic.
7. Boost in Social Media Visibility and Outreach
Redirecting customers on your portal to your different social media accounts can also help you increase interactions on these accounts. With these interactions, your customer relationships can become strong, and your social media presence and outreach can expand easily.
8. More Cost-Effective
According to Forrester and Oracle, the approximate cost per contact, according to research by, is:
- $12 for call center technical support
- $6 for call center CSR
- $5 for web chat
- $2.5 for an email response
- $0.5 only for self-service
This implies that a customer self-service portal helps a company save the most while offering support services.
Want a customer self-service portal ready for your organization? Our Dynamics 365 portal is a next-gen, ready-to-integrate, and configurable self-service portal that you can integrate for optimal results.
How to Make Your Customer Self-Service Portal Better?
A customer self-service portal is not just publishing answers to questions. There are various ways you can adopt to better your customer self-service portal, as follows:
1. Define Clear Goals
Keep a clear goal in your mind before you set up a self-service portal. Be clear about what you are looking to achieve with your portal. Do you want to reduce your ticket volume, save your overall customer support costs, or achieve anything else? Having this clarity will help you align your portal and content easily with your goal and achieve success fast.
2. Keep Your Portal Easy-to-Access
Your customers should find your portal easy to access. Provide some resources like knowledge base articles or FAQs without necessitating log-in for your customers. Make log-in necessary only for events like generating a complaint ticket or tracking the progress of a ticket. This will help them save the hassle of log-in every time for small things and prevent them from deterring.
3. Keep Your Portal Well-Organized
Appearance matters a lot. Ensure to organize your articles in categories and sub-categories in your portal correctly. This will help make your portal easily navigable and access to what your customers want easy.
Samsung is an excellent example to learn how to categorize your portal well.
4. Include a Search Bar
Keep a search bar with an auto-suggest feature to help customers reduce time to search something. They should be able to find anything they need by typing two or three characters easily. This will help save the hassle of browsing all the resources and speed up the search process. Microsoft Support provides a Search Bar with the auto-suggest feature.
5. Keep It Simple
Be it a support article, a set of FAQs, user manuals, or something else – the language should be free of excess technical jargon or sales pitch. The reason is that the primary aim of the portal is not to sell products but to help and guide customers.
6. Link Your Portal to Relevant Support Sources
Covering everything with a small answer to a question isn’t feasible. Instead, you can connect your customers to additional information in a separate article(s) that they may need via links or by putting related articles at the end. One of the best examples that provide inter-linking is Google Help.
7. Keep It Fully Responsive
Don’t ignore full responsiveness across all screen sizes and operating systems. Take extra care in making your customer portal mobile-friendly. Test it for cross-device and cross-browser compatibility before its final launch.
8. Enable Community Forums
Enable customer-driven community forums in your portal where customers can chat and collaborate to discuss issues relevant to them. This helps customers share their experiences and guide and help each other. For example, Apple hosts an extensive support community where you can discuss all the iPhone issues and software recommendations.
9. Inform and Encourage Customers to Use Your Portal
Launching a portal doesn’t suffice alone. You must make your customers aware of your portal. Prioritize to announce your portal launch across different channels. Share the news of your portal’s launch on your site, email, and social media. Feature your portal prominently on your company’s website on your “Support” and “Contact” pages.
10. Keep Your Support Team Ready
Even if your self-service portal is the best, it can’t replace human support at times. Therefore, see to it that your customers can reach out to your support team instantly as and when they need it. This will help avoid problems customers face when they are not able to self-resolve complex issues.
11. Update Your Content
Creating content is not a one-time process. It is essential to keep your content updated as your products, services, or customers’ preferences change. That is why keep looking for any changes in content if required. Update it with videos and screenshots to complement written answers in explaining complex issues. A good example is Nokia that has videos on different topics on its portal.
12. Include Onboarding Process
Support resources can sometimes be not very familiar for first-time customers. Therefore, include content for customers at all stages in the sales cycle to make their onboarding easy and hassle-free.
Build a Customer Self-Service Portal with CRMJetty
If you are looking to build a customer self-service portal, CRMJetty has got your back. With 14 years of portal development experience, we assure you of all the services you need to launch a customer portal.
We offer our own ready-to-integrate Dynamics 365 customer portal that you can integrate into your organization and start offering customer self-service. If you require, we can also customize it to fit your business logic.
If you want an exclusive portal for your business, our development team can gather and analyze your requirements for that. We can discuss and plan a roadmap for custom development. Our team keeps giving you frequent updates about the progress. In the end, our QA team ensures your portal’s market readiness and hands it over to you once it finds it all ready.
So, wait no longer and get a next-gen portal ready for your organization right away with our team by your side!
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