Help Yourself! The Many Faces of Self-Service and Why They are Vital to Success!

When it comes to self-service, many websites have an FAQ page and community forum maintained and updated as frequently as your local discount movie theater. And much like your sticky-floored theater, these self-service pages are sad places of last resort. But now, it’s time to focus on self-service, as the tides have turned in what customers expect from organizations.

97% of respondents in a recent multi-channel customer support report say that customer service is important or somewhat important when determining brand loyalty. What a shock! For ages, this meant traditional reactive support: simple email and phone queries. Live chat has even come into the mix as both a reactive and proactive support mechanism. All of these are fantastic support channels, but these customer support surveys begged for respondents to give them more information.

As Jerry Maguire would say: “Help me help you!”

As it turns out, the best customer service is actually the absence of active help. In fact, this Aspect Consumer Experience Survey says that 73% of consumers want to solve their own product and service issues themselves. A good third of respondents would rather clean a toilet than speak with customer service.

Your customers have a simple request: “Help me help myself!”

Self-service done right is one of the most effective ways to give customers quick access to the information they need. This is important because customers want fast service; 77% of respondents in a Forrester Research survey said that simply valuing the customer’s time is the most important method of providing quality customer service. So what can you do to give your customers the proactive support they want?

Self-Support Channels:

FAQ Pages

FAQ pages should be easily searchable and contain category tags for simple answer retrieval. The beauty of FAQ pages is that you are not limited to simple Q&A- you can include video tutorials, reference articles, and even link to forum responses for more in-depth queries. A simply indexed FAQ database will provide the logical, organized approach to self-service that customers crave.

Downloads

An often-overlooked facet of self-support is giving your customers the ability to download entire user manuals, white papers, and spec-sheets as a means of self-support. Your customers can answer questions they didn’t even know about when given in-depth documents as a supplement to traditional FAQ functionalities.

Community Forums

An active forum catalyzes self-help, but it also encourages customers to interact with each other and organically build upon their existing knowledge of your product and processes. Community forums should have consistent involvement from relevant departments in order both guide conversation and direct the community towards the best information possible. Answers from community forums, although less organic than social media forums, are valuable to many self-reliant consumers

Social

Social media is a self-help gray area since these channels are often heavily patrolled for reactive support responses. Still, many people turn to social media to find question threads similar to community forums. Having social sharing on typical self-service channels allow these social media-first customers to find the answers they need before interacting with one of your social media gurus.


Self-service should be sleek, accessible, and give your customers the best information possible. The best news is that it’s not a difficult feat. Start with a killer FAQ page and go from there. Your customers will happily help themselves.

With a solution like HappyFox, use your customer support software to build a knowledge base and self-service help area that will truly benefit your customers. Get a one-on-one live demo of HappyFox today!

Robert Erich

Robert Erich is a content marketer and energetic entrepreneur. He spends most of his time reading, writing, and teaching others about business. When not working, Rob enjoys sailing and traveling with his beautiful wife.