Customer Self-Service Portal: The Future of Customer Support

Customer Self-Service Portal: The Future of Customer Support

There was a time when people had no option but to call customer service for every query or issue. They had to put up with those long wait-times on the customer service line during peak hours. Further, the hours to call a customer service number were generally fixed.

Well, customers have become smarter over the past few years. They no longer want full dependency on manual customer support. Instead, they seek information and figure out solutions to their problems by themselves first before seeking help. And the advent of the customer self-service portal has proved to be a game-changer in traditional customer support services. To cater to the demands of digitally native customers, most of the B2B and B2C companies have adopted a customer service portal.

A survey says that 79% of those surveyed expect organizations to provide a customer self-service portal and tools.

Before we proceed, it is important to understand the meaning of a customer self-service portal. A customer self-service portal is a website or application using which customers can search for answers to their questions and queries, place orders, generate complaint tickets, and more without human interference.

A customer self-service portal primarily includes the following components:

  • FAQs
  • Online Community
  • Ticketing Service
  • How-to-Guide and Video
  • Knowledge Base Articles
  • User Manuals
  • Help Documentation
  • Search functionality
  • Chatbots

How a Customer self-service Portal Benefits

There are some stats relevant to a customer self-service portal that may interest you:

  • Approximately 70% of customers find it irritating to have their call transferred from department to department.
  • 69% of customers try to solve their problems on their own first.

These stats highlight the growing importance of a customer self-service portal in current times.

Let’s have a look at the general benefits of a customer self-service portal for your business.

1. Reduces Customer Support Expenses

With a suitable self-service portal in place, you no longer need a pool of customer support agents. The customer service portal can help you automate the customer service-related work and save on hiring and training agents. In the long run, providing customer support with a self-service portal can increase investment return.

2. Enhances Productivity

A customer self-service portal contributes to the enhancement of productivity of customer service agents. There are times when the support agents have to answer redundant questions and queries. With the right self-service portal, they will no longer need to focus on small and redundant queries.

This way, they will save their time and utilize it to answer more complex questions and queries. It also will help them improve the customers’ experience of customer service.

3. Improves Overall Sales

If you manage to improve the customer service experience, it can also help boost sales. The better your customer service is, the more likely they are to return to your store. Over some time, your repeat customers’ base will broaden, increasing the total sales. They can also recommend your company to others and bring you more sales with good word-of-mouth.

4. 24/7 Customer Support

There is a limit to the number of hours a customer support agent can work. Even for a customer service that runs day in and day out, customer agents can work only in limited shifts. They are humans and are prone to exhaustion and lethargy.

Instead, if you use a customer self-service portal, you can provide seamless support around the clock. The customer can log in to the portal and solve a minor problem themselves.

5. Enhances Content Delivery

A customer self-service portal can help you deliver the right and in-demand content. You can analyze the most common problems and issues customers face. After a proper analysis of all of them, you can curate the content on your portal accordingly.

You can also keep revising your content on the portal and update FAQs, documentation, manuals, etc. In addition to providing content in the form of text, you can also create informative videos and visuals. These videos can take customers’ experience up a notch as they are illustrative and more attention-grabbing.

6. Boosts Website Traffic

At times, businesses keep thinking about various ways to increase their website traffic at affordable prices. A customer self-service portal helps you indirectly achieve a boost in website traffic also.

Publishing good knowledge base articles on your customer self-service portal can compel customers more. They may take more interest in your brand and think of checking out the content on your website too. And this can lead to an increase in website traffic and brand awareness.

7. Levels up Social Media Visibility and Outreach

By redirecting customers on the portal to your different social media accounts, you can also increase your interactions on these accounts. Through more interactions on social media accounts, your business can establish strong customer relationships. This, in turn, strengthens your social media presence and outreach.

8. More Cost-Effective than Other Customer Service Types

The approximate cost per contact, according to research by Forrester and Oracle, 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

It indicates that a customer self-service portal can help a company save up to 11$ per call. Hence, a customer service portal is not only valuable but also highly cost-effective.

Want a feature-rich customer self-service portal for your organization?

How to Make a Customer self-service Portal Better?

A customer self-service portal is much beyond publishing answers to a few questions on your website. There are different ways you need to follow to better your self-service portal.

1. Define Clear Goals

There should be a clear goal in your mind before you set up a self-service portal. You should be clear about what you are looking to accomplish with the portal beforehand. Is it reducing your ticket volume? Is it saving your overall customer support? Or anything else? This clarity will help you align your portal and content in line with your goal and achieve it faster.

2. Make Your Portal Easily Accessible

Access to your portal should be easy for your customers. There should be some resources like knowledge base articles or FAQs that they can access without log-in. In case they want to track the progress of their ticket or generate a ticket, make them log in first. This is because having to log in to access every small thing or resource can deter them.

3. Organize Your Portal Well

Yes, the appearance of your portal matters. There should be a proper organization of articles in categories and sub-categories in the portal. They all should be easily navigable right from the portal’s main page to ensure their quick access.

Samsung is an excellent example to learn how to categorize your portal well.

4. Provide a Search Bar

Besides a proper categorization of articles and resources, there should also be a search bar. You can make that search bar even more helpful by including the auto-suggest feature. When the customer types two or three characters, the suggested search results should show up.

This search bar equipped with an auto-suggest feature helps skip the hassle of browsing several resources. The customer can reach the article(s) they need more quickly and easily.

Microsoft Support provides a Search Bar with the auto-suggest feature.

5. Keep the Language Simple

The support articles, FAQs, or user manuals you publish should be clear and straightforward. There shouldn’t be an excess of technical jargon or sales pitch in them. This is because the portal’s primary aim is not to sell but to inform and help the customers.

6. Link to Relevant Support Resources

It is not feasible to cover everything in response to a question in a portal. There are times when the customer needs additional information for which they may need a separate article. So, ensure to put links to related articles at the end of the page.

One of the best examples that provide inter-linking is Google Help. Liking to relevant articles helps navigate the information they need more swiftly.

7. Keep It Fully Responsive

You can’t afford to ignore full responsiveness across all screen sizes and operating systems in this smart age. Pay special attention to making your customer self-service portal mobile-friendly. Test your portal across different devices and browsers before launching it.

8. Enable Community Forums

Keeping the content that your team writes in the resources is your priority. However, enabling customer-driven community forums where customers can collaborate and discuss issues can also benefit.

For example, Apple hosts a big support community where you can discuss all the iPhone issues and software recommendations. This helps customers share their experiences and help each other.

9. Encourage Customers to Use Your Portal

After you’ve launched your portal, it’s time you made your customers aware of that. Unless they know that you have a portal, how would they use it? So, make it a priority to announce your portal launch across different channels.

Share the news on your site, email, social media accounts, etc. Feature your portal prominently on your company’s website on your “Support” and “Contact” pages.

10. Keep Your Support Team on Stand-By

No matter how well-designed your customer self-service portal is, you can’t replace human support every time. There are some complex issues that customers can’t self-resolve and need a support agent to intervene. Therefore, see to it that your customer can reach your support team instantly whenever they need your help.

11. Update Your Content and Include Videos

It isn’t about just creating content and forgetting it. Nope! You have to keep it updated as your products, services, and customers’ preferences. Sometimes, answering via written content isn’t practical and easy. This is where videos and screenshots come in handy.

Hence, consider including videos to explain complex queries and questions. A good example is Nokia that has videos on different topics on its portal.

12. Include Onboarding Process

Support resources can help customers already familiar with your products and services, but not first-time customers. Include content for customers at all stages in the sales cycle to help with onboarding and above.

Build your customer self-service portal right now.

Build a Customer Service Portal Now – Be Future-Ready

Self-service is becoming desirable day after day with the present-day tech-savvy customers. According to Gartner’s research, a billion service tickets are forecast to get auto-generated by customer-owned bots by 2030.

In short, a customer self-service portal is going to shape the future of customer service and take it to the next level. If you are looking to build a self-service portal for your business, stop your search right away!

CRMJetty can help you build the best self-service portal for your business. With 14 years of portal development experience, we guarantee all the services you need to launch a customer self-service portal. We have a proper chain of steps that we follow for any portal development project.

We first gather all your self-service portal requirements. Our developer team then analyzes them and determines whether a few customizations in our ready-to-integrate portal solution can serve the purpose. If it is possible, we seek your green signal to proceed with the required customization. During the whole process, we continuously keep you posted with iterative updates. Once it is ready, our QA team takes charge and tests it for limitations and issues to determine if it is market-ready. In the end, we hand over the final custom self-service portal to you and also provide a limited support window to help you get familiar with the portal.

In some cases, if customization in our portal isn’t feasible to cater to your business needs, we also can help you build the portal from scratch. With a proven track record of 1200+ completed projects, we assure you of the best-in-class portal development services.

Let’s get your next-gen portal ready together!

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