Increase Customer Loyalty Through Self-Service Support
We live in an era when information is truly everywhere and available at all hours of the day. Whether you turn on your TV to see the latest stock quotes or get a notification for a new article on your phone, the way we interact with and take in information is changing and will continue to change in the future. But how does all this change affect customers? More and more, self-service solutions such as online portals are the first place customers go to seek out an answer to their questions instead of reaching out to a support agent. Let’s look at some of the key ways technology professionals in the channel are using self-service to not only provide answers to questions, but increase the loyalty of their customers.
Boost loyalty by diversifying the IT support infrastructure – Support channels can be difficult to implement from a technical perspective. Be it managing a phone tree or email servers, there’s always a level of complexity involved. With all types of technology, occasional issues do pop up. In these moments of crisis having a wide range of customer support methods is critical.
For example, let’s say your phone system goes down and now your email support team is bogged down with issue requests. Instead of taking the time to create a customized response to each inquiry, your support software can quickly deflect these customers to self-service articles. Not only does this save agents’ time, but it increases customer loyalty as responses are received faster. This makes self-service another “leg on the support stool” that can really help in times of need.
In addition, self-service is also easy to manage. Often already a part of SaaS customer support software solution, it’s far less maintenance than email or phones from the IT side of the business. Once you get a self-service portal created, it can be as simple as training a couple content creators on how to use the portal and letting them own the entire self-service solution. With this said, make sure to get a good data backup process in place, and you should be off to the races with customer self-service.
Elements of self-service personalization make customers feel valued – Even small gestures like a custom salutation or putting a company logo on a page can go a long way in making customers feel important. With so much information already stored within customer support software, it can be as simple as using short code in a self-service portal to pull this custom information for each user.
If you want to take it a step further, work with your CRM admin to sync the data between your customer support software and your CRM software. This way if a customer gets married or changes departments, you’ll have the correct information in your customer support software and thus your self-service portal as well. Technology is making it easier than ever before to add personalization to a self-service solution, and these types of integrations are becoming more common in the channel.
Create a treasure trove of info your customers can’t live without – Having a reliable self-service solution with elements of personalization certainly helps in increasing customer loyalty. But what really turns customers into advocates of your portal is the content it provides. Taking the time to create consistent, high-quality content elevates a self-service portal and generates customer usage. This content can include step-by-step guides for common technical requests or simple login and password reset information, but it should all be composed in a professional and timely manner.
For example, if you’re a software company, you don’t want to release a complex new feature that your customers will be all excited about only to have them bombard your support team with questions because there is no documentation on how to use the feature. This is where self-service drives loyalty and usage because it takes your unique offering in the market to the next level by improving it through excellent and easy-to-access information that accompanies the feature.
Predict future needs through data analysis – Even if you have great content on top of a stable and personalized self-service experience, if you can’t locate the right information then the solution will never reach its full potential. Continue to put the finishing touches on your self-service portal by optimizing your content through data analysis. Look at information such as visit-pathing and search queries to understand what information is associated together, and alleviate drop-off points by adding additional content. This can include adding a link to a related article within a page so even if a customer can’t find an answer in one area of the portal, it’s easy for them to jump to another article that may contain the information they need. These optimizations make your portal feel more “sticky” and customers are more likely to return because there’s a better chance that they can find the answers they need. And what boosts loyalty more than making the right answers even easier to find?
Increasing loyalty through self-service support is something you can do in multiple ways. Lean on it as a pillar of customer support when things go wrong and personalize information that is compelling and unique to each customer. In addition, don’t forget to take that information and optimize it to create content that keeps your customers exploring and learning on your portal. Customer support is complex and changing, but the more your customers know about your company and see that you are there for them, the more likely they are to stick around.
About the Author
Robert C. Johnson is the co-founder and CEO of TeamSupport.com, a cloud-based, B2B software application built to help customer-facing support teams serve clients better through stronger collaboration, superior teamwork, and faster issue resolution. A seasoned executive and entrepreneur who has founded and invested in numerous software and high-tech companies, Robert’s industry experience as a business leader and a customer inspired him to create TeamSupport to give Support Desk teams the tools and best practices to enhance customer loyalty and positively impact product sales. Prior to founding TeamSupport, Robert was President and CEO of Sundance Digital, one of the world’s leading providers of automation software to television and cable broadcasters. The company was sold in 2006 to Avid Technology (Nasdaq: AVID).