February 29, 2016
Self-Service and Community: The Best Customer Service Scenarios

When Forrester's Kate Leggett listed Forrester's customer services trends for 2016, one stood out to us based on the work we do. She said that "customer service organizations will make self-service easier for customers to use by shoring up its foundations and solidifying their knowledge management strategy." She said that web and mobile self-service overtook live-assisted channels in 2015 and will grow to include communities and virtual agents.  

From what we've seen with our clients, we couldn't agree more. More and more, customers look to the web to find the answers they need. And that means your website is a critical component of your customer support strategy. You'll still have your call center, but the first line of support is almost always going to be the website, so it better provide the information your customers need. 

Organizations that understand these demands from their customers are building self-service portals that combine a few features that support the on-going needs of customers faster than waiting in line for a phone call.  

Jay Baer recently wrote about the value of customer self-service in a blog post. He said, "The best way to deliver outstanding customer experience via service is perhaps unexpected: to let customers to it for themselves. If customers can easily and thoroughly address their problems on their own, they will seek to do so. Self-service is always the most efficient path to resolution because customers don't have to wait on your business to respond. As Gartner's Michael Moaz says, "The best phone call is the one that didn't happen."

What's interesting is that if you took the time to look at your customer queries and issues, you would likely see a lot of similarities and instead of continually addressing them one by one, over and over, you could create an online support site where you could answer them once for everyone. This is another idea from Baer's post, which states that one-third of customer queries and frustrations are repeats or common issues.  

We don't propose a giant Q&A to deal with these common support questions. What's happening is that support is getting a seat at the marketing table and marketing is helping create great content for support that helps reduce the number of calls to the call center. Maybe it's a Q&A, or a whitepaper or blog, maybe it's a video or infographic - it will depend on what will drive the most support. 

Baer also talked about communities as another way to provide support to customers. He stated Gartner research that said companies that implemented community-based support can reduce costs from 10-50%. That's promising.  

But communities can do more than provide peer support. Baer said they can also provide deep insights that help your company improve products and services, can help you communicate more effectively and enhance customer service overall. 

At Ingeniux, we see the value in customer self-service and community support. So much that we've built a platform that provides both. We offer the tools to build and manage robust support communities as well as connect backend systems like your support ticket application, CRM, and others to offer a seamless single online support experience. Mix all this with critical support content managed through the CMS and you have the tools you need to provide great online customer support, allowing you to focus on the processes and strategy that use it.  

Read more about what Ingeniux offers for customer support, or read the full Baer post on the Chief MarTech Blog 

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