What is Customer self-service: definition, benefits, types, and examples

73% of people are reluctant to contact customer support services when it comes to difficulties. 

Some of them are natural problem solvers and love to discover the cause of the issue on their own. Others don’t want to bother people with simple questions and feel much better when they can manage the problem without a company representative. 

Even if your customers are open to contacting customer support, it often takes time to assist them individually. Obviously, they want immediate assistance as nobody wants to wait. And the sooner you lend them a helping hand, the more likely the customers are to stay with you.

Luckily, there’s a solution to save your customers and meet their expectations in any of the abovementioned cases — customer self-service

Let’s find out what self-service is and how to use it to upgrade your company’s customer support capabilities. 

Customer self-service definition

Customer self-service is a type of online support that helps customers resolve their issues without interacting with a company representative.

Using technologies, customer self-service provides a range of options to find information and troubleshoot issues independently and quickly. You can access self-service via different mediums, such as knowledge bases, FAQs, chatbots, how-to videos, online portals, etc.

Self-service is a key element in ensuring a positive customer experience. According to statistics, when customers face a product or service issue, their first step now is finding the answers online on their own. 

Indeed, 70% of customers expect to find a self-service application on the companies’ websites. 

Self-service importance
Self-service importance (Source: Zendesk)

Self-service benefits 

Here are the top reasons customer self-service can benefit both your customers and your business. 

✔It saves time

When we talk about user experience, service speed plays a special role in improving service quality. With customer self-service, people can browse the needed information by keywords and find the resolution in the blink of an eye. As a result, you will satisfy more customers in less time.

✔It helps reduce costs

When there are people involved in customer service, it can cost a lot of money. Сustomer self-service can save your budget without losing the number of customers (and even increasing it!). 

✔It’s available 24/7

Сustomer self-service functions nonstop, which works exceptionally well for international companies. Regardless of the location, customers will be able to reach out to get the info they need. 

✔It helps focus on customers with bigger issues 

With customer self-service, customer care agents won’t have to spend much time supporting clients with trifles. Instead, they will devote their time to customers who need assistance with more critical issues.

✔It leads to an increase in sales

The majority of customers would rather leave the service or cancel the purchase than wait for a response from the customer care service. In fact, 53% of US online adult shoppers are likely to abandon an online purchase if they can’t find an instant answer to their question.

Customer self-service types 

There’s a number of ways you can help your customers quickly get the needed answers:

Knowledge base 

A knowledge base is a customer self-service library that contains helpful articles about a product or service. The information in the knowledge base is presented in such a way that the user can easily navigate it and find the needed explanations for their requests. 

As a bonus, it comes in handy for customer care reps too. When the question is simple and doesn’t imply a deeper investigation, it might be a good idea to send a user-friendly article containing visual help and covering the customer’s inquiry. 

Knowledge base example
Knowledge base example (Source: Peel)

FAQs 

Another self-service solution for customer queries is Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) — a set of questions about the product or service posted on a website.

They should cover the top reasons customers contact your support team and be up to date.

FAQs example
FAQs example (Source: Snov.io)

Chatbots 

A chatbot is a computer program imitating a human-like conversation with a customer. It’s usually automated to provide answers to FAQs and allows users to communicate on websites, mobile apps, or messengers such as Telegram, Facebook, WhatsApp, etc.

With artificial intelligence, customers can easily meet their inquiries and live happy lives without interaction with support agents. 

Chatbot example
Chatbot example (Source: Chatbot guide)

Community forum

Another effective method for users to get self-help is to create a community forum. It’s a tool where people can ask their questions to the community and get answers from other customers. They can also search for answers to the questions already discussed in the community and come to a collaborative solution to their issue. It’s an excellent place for sharing experiences and giving practical advice.

Here’s a wonderful example of how people can help each other on the Shopify platform: 

Community forum example
Community forum example (Source: Shopify)

Find out the ways how you can improve customer service in our blog article

Wrapping it up

Customer self-service gives an excellent opportunity to find the answers and solve the problems individually without the involvement of the company representatives. This technology is highly beneficial for both sides and lets you and your customers proceed with working together. Customer self-service can work in the form of a knowledge base, FAQs, or online community forums. However, it is only efficient if you make it crystal clear and easy to use.

To engage more customers in your sales funnel, use Snov.io and collect leads on any website. 

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