Building relationships with customers has never been more important than it is today. But at the same time, it’s also never been more challenging to do effectively. And one of the most important things companies can do to connect with consumers is to have a plan for providing effective self-serve customer service.
Why? Well for starters, 91% of consumers said they would use a quality online knowledge base if available. But if that isn’t enough to convince you of the need, there’s also evidence to suggest abandonment rates can reach as high as 53% when customers can’t get their questions answered quickly.
Bottom line, taking the time to optimize self-service offerings is no longer an option. Here are 5 common mistakes to avoid when building a self-serve customer service strategy:
Mistake #1: Failing to continually update knowledge base articles
Customers need up-to-date information. And because no business remains static, even the most carefully crafted document in an online knowledge base will have a shelf-life. Therefore, it’s important to plan a periodic review of all the self-serve content available to check for both relevancy and accuracy. A good best practice is to set an internal expiration date for content pieces so customer support will remember to do a timely check.
Mistake #2: Poor functionality
Customers use self-service options because they find them more convenient. Companies must meet these expectations by designing their knowledge base with the user in mind. Some best practices here include curating the most popular or regularly used content into an FAQ section so it can be found easily, offering search capabilities that include filters so customers can easily find what they are looking for, and using images as a visual guide for navigating through the knowledge base.
Mistake #3: Worrying exclusively about pre-sale channels
It’s easy to get lazy with self-serve offerings that are primarily used by consumers who have already handed over their money. But customers don’t see it that way. 92% of consumers said feeling like “[their] problem is taken seriously” is important to them at all stages of their lifecycle with a company. Failing to provide the same quality of self-serve options post-sale as pre-sale, will not only cost companies repeat business, but forcing customers to get what they want elsewhere might also result in a social media PR nightmare.
Mistake #4: Focusing exclusively much on self-serve offerings
Customers haven’t abandoned traditional customer support channels - such as the phone - entirely. Instead, the role of these touchpoints has changed from one of primary contact to a second option if customers feel they need to escalate a problem. Companies should never mistake the importance of self-service options for a license to completely abandon everything else.
Mistake #5: A lack of KPIs to measure success
Just like any other part of a business, self-service customer options need to be measured to ensure quality and effectiveness. Developing and implements KPI reporting right from the get-go ensures quality from the beginning and avoids headaches down the road. Some of the most basic KPIs to keep track of are how frequently customers are using your knowledge base, its bounce rate, and page views per session.
However, the most important thing to measure is the percentage of people who use the knowledge base, only to then reach out to other customer service channels for additional support. If this percentage is high, it’s a very strong indication that the content is not doing enough to provide answers and needs to be reviewed immediately.
In short: Keep it simple
While providing a quality self-service strategy may seem overwhelming at times, companies that keep the customer experience at the forefront of their thinking won’t have any difficulties in doing so. All it takes is an easy to use interface that provides quick answers to common problems. Keep that in mind for every touchpoint, and success won’t be far behind.