However, in today’s reality, many consumers prefer to find answers to their questions and resolve issues on their own. Across all industries, 81% of respondents try to resolve issues themselves before communicating with a live representative and 91% of them would use an online knowledge base if it were available and tailored to their needs. Also, approximately 70% expect to have the option of a self-service facility to address business inquiries and complaints.
Therefore, an effective self-management portal becomes essential support for any organization that takes customer service seriously. It is no coincidence that 69% of business leaders consider self-management a key part of their service strategy.
Objectives, strategy, and planning
If the implementation of a self-management portal is based solely on cost reduction, it may not work as anticipated. Successful self-service requires a well-defined strategy, a proper plan, and the right rationale for its development. While it is true that this initiative can generate savings in the long run, it should not be the primary reason for implementation.
In the case of self-management portals, success begins with asking the right questions and defining the business case for implementation. Next, it is essential to develop a realistic strategy and, finally, a detailed plan covering aspects such as communication, marketing, training, among others.
A customer self-management portal will only be effective if it is easy to use. Some of the common components include FAQs, a knowledge base and online discussion forums. The knowledge base and FAQs should be easy to access, up-to-date and include visual elements. It is also critical to organize the portal and tag entries so that search results pages provide accurate answers.
Any self-management portal should include a knowledge base containing a large collection of frequently asked questions, articles, videos, diagrams, practical guides, among other resources. It should also offer the ability to register service requests and have collaborative spaces, such as online community forums, where customers can share information and provide helpful tips.
Other keys to success include:
- Volume and speed: provide enough relevant articles and ensure that they are available to users in a timely manner.
- Searchability: consumers must be able to find articles quickly, and content must be written accessible. Offer content in a variety of formats, such as videos, animations, and checklists.
- Highlight popular FAQs and use screenshots, video, and audio whenever possible to visually show the necessary steps or how to update/edit settings;content should be optimized for desktop users as well as mobile and tablet devices.
- Keeping content up to date is key: it is important to constantly review consumer issues and trends and add content that addresses those issues. By monitoring customer searches, you will be able to identify areas where more content needs to be added.
It is also advisable to give consumers the option to rate content and share their experience with the portal, so that you can make appropriate adjustments based on that feedback. When you give customers the ability to resolve their issues through self-service portals, it significantly reduces the number of calls and emails received by the service team. This allows service agents to focus on more complex cases, and the company optimizes the quality of its service and the customer experience.