Providing your customers with a customer self-service portal is hugely beneficial in the B2B world and empowers your customers by giving them the tools to help themselves. As such, providing a customer self service portal as a part of your customer service strategy is crucial to success.
This blog will discuss 5 benefits of a B2B customer self service portal, and why it's more important than ever to solidify this as a key element of your customer service strategy.
But first, you might be asking yourself, "what exactly is a customer self service portal?"
A customer self service portal is typically a website that allows your customers to have online support without interacting with a human on your end. A customer self service portal allows your customers to find answers to their own questions, submit support tickets, download resources, etc.
A customer self service portal commonly consists of the following components:
Getting Started Guide
Search function (to find answers quick and easy)
Now that you know what a self service portal is, here are 5 major benefits of having a B2B customer self service portal.
1. Your Customers Expect You To Have It
Perhaps the biggest reason to have a customer self service portal is because your customers expect it. It's not even seen as a "nice to have" anymore; it's simply required to meet customer standards.
You may have guessed that although the expectations are high, not all B2B organizations are taking these demands to heart.
If you're one of them, I'd suggest taking notes because you certainly don't want to risk becoming obsolete to your competitors that deliver what your customers want.
In fact, self-service interactions have overtaken all other channels for the third year running. So it's important.
Over 50% of customers say that they have stopped doing business with a company due to poor customer service; not providing a customer self service option plays into these numbers.
But let's be clear - no B2B organization should ever consider a self service portal as a replacement for traditional customer support. A self service portal should rather be part of a larger customer service strategy that allows for a seamless omni-channel experience.
Instead of simply telling them what to do, self-service portals guide and empower customers by providing them with the tools and information they need to resolve many common issues themselves.
As a result, your customers will be better equipped to use your products and services to their fullest potential and enjoy a better experience overall.
2. Lowers Your Support Costs
Do you like saving money? Well, if so, a customer self service portal is the way to go.
One of the benefits of having a customer self service portal is that you can save a lot of money on support costs. When customers have the tools to find answers to their questions on their own, statistically, they'll take that option. This is good news for you because then your support tickets will decrease and you'll save big time.
Take a look at our friends at Wave. They implemented an online support community as part of their customer service strategy and saw a 30% decrease in support tickets in the first 4 months. If you want to learn more about how Wave was able to achieve this, I highly recommend taking a look at their case study - we could all learn a thing or two from them!
By implementing a peer-to-peer support community as part of your customer self service strategy, you are able to harness the power of crowd-based support. This means that your team will spend less time answering customer questions because your other customers will be doing it for you.
This not only saves money, but it also has a second benefit: increasing customer engagement. We'll discuss that later on.
3. Fast Customer Service Whenever, Wherever
Customers want fast service whenever, wherever, and across all devices. This is a simple fact.
What this means is that to deliver quick, 24-hour support without having to pay your staff around the clock, you'll have to provide a customer self service portal.
Your customers don't want to have to wait to get answers to their questions, and they especially don't want to get passed around to multiple customer service reps because it means having to invest more time. Providing a self-service option will eliminate all of these issues and deliver on your customers' expectations.
4. Reduce Your Customer Churn Rate
The fact is, your customers simply don't want to talk to you or any of your customer service representatives - and customers will do almost anything in their power to avoid having to do so.
If you don't give them options to service themselves, you may find them leaving you for your competitors that do provide these options.
73% of customers want to solve product or service issues on their own.
By providing your customers with a self service support portal, you'll benefit by continuing to offer them exactly what they want. This will help reduce your churn rate, since happy customers won't leave.
So just provide them with the ability to avoid talking directly with your reps, and you'll be golden.
5. Greatly Increases Customer Experience (CX)
All of the collective benefits of a customer self service portal cumulate to deliver a better overall customer experience.
Customer experience, simply put, refers to the experience that a customer has with a business; how the customer feels about your service and how they perceive your history of interactions. A good customer experience leads to an increase in engagement, an increase in brand loyalty and an increase customer retention.
71% of customers say that customer self-service impacts their loyalty.
Therefore, by providing your customers with a self service option, it's likely that your overall customer experience will improve.