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12Jul

Self-Service Tools – Why It’s Important and How to Do It Right

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Customer service teams need their processes, systems, tools – and most of all – people to work in harmony to offer superior support. Self-service support can be utilized in lieu of personalized service, provided its offerings are on par with your agents.

This approach to keeping harmony with one another is vital because 69 percent of customers want self-service options to resolve as many issues as possible on their own1. Of course, human support won’t be completely replaced by self-service options, as speaking to a live agent when a problem arises is still preferred by many customers. Instead, an exceptional customer experience will be provided when the two work seamlessly together which keeps your customers coming back.

Speed and Complexity Solutions

When choosing between an agent and self-service, time and complexity are the key factors: half of customers select a channel based on how quickly a response is needed, and approximately 40 percent pick a channel based on their issue’s complexity2.

Keeping these scenarios in mind, customers who want a fast response for simple queries would be ideally served with self-service tools, while those with more complicated issues may prefer to use the assistance of a live agent.

When Customers Prefer Self-Service

Solving problems on their own is the preference of many customers. To wit, here are some instances where a customer may choose to use a self-service option:

  • A simple question – Blogs, FAQ pages, videos, chatbots – self-service resources – can resolve uncomplicated queries without needing an agent. Customers can receive their answers without delay, and agents are freed from having to answer the same questions multiple times a day.
  • When the queue for a representative is long – The majority of us have the shared experience of sitting on hold while being told “your call is important to us” repeatedly by an automated voice. So, customers will often choose to use self-service support options instead of waiting to speak to an agent due to the frustrating nature of long wait times.
  • After-hours support – Customers expect support to be available 24/7. Unfortunately, it’s not feasible to have agents available all the time for most companies. Self-service allows customers to receive the assistance they need outside of regular hours of operation without increasing costs by avoiding hiring additional employees.

The goal of providing self-service in these scenarios is to streamline interactions – especially to resolve simpler issues – saving both customers and agents time.

3 Self-Service Options

Many customers prefer to start with self-service because it accommodates for elementary issues. If necessary, an agent can get involved later. For businesses, self-service is also a cost-effective and useful solution. Research has shown self-service solutions cost about $0.10 per contact, while it costs an average of $8.01 per contact for live channels, which includes emails and phone calls3.

You free up agents to handle more complicated cases by offering self-service support. It also saves your company many thousands of dollars and allows you to serve more customers. Consider integrating one of these three self-service solutions to work in concert with your customer service reps to get started.

  1. Chatbots communicate with customers across chat, messaging, email, and more. They are great at giving answers to basic questions, handling low-priority tickets, and gathering information to save time for your support team. They come with the bonus of always being online.

    Chatbots can also connect the customer to live support quickly when needed. They also have the capability to provide context and dispatch pertinent background information, allowing the agent to get up to speed quickly with the customer’s request.
  2. Help centers, or knowledge bases, are online support hubs available to both support agents and customers for quick access to information, tutorials, and key resources. They should be readily accessible and searchable.

    This self-service option will be appealing to customers who prefer to troubleshoot issues on their own before connecting with support. Rather than waiting for an agent to walk them through it, the customer can watch instructional videos or read in-depth guides at their own pace. Agents can answer questions for customers and maintain consistent responses to inquiries by using knowledge-base articles, too.
  3. Communities are online forums and groups where customers can ask and answer queries publicly and share their knowledge with others. These public responses are usually saved and searchable so customers with similar issues can find previous inquiries. Customers in communities can dig in and problem-solve both basic and more complicated issues when it’s convenient for them while enjoying a sense of camaraderie and human connections because the answers they seek are coming from their peers and fellow users.

    To avoid escalations, your customer service team will be monitoring discussions and then directly respond when necessary. Agents will also be able to assist multiple people at one time with an identical issue if the forum is open.

Combine Human Support with Self-Service Options for Optimal Results

When customers can choose how to connect with you with questions or issues they need to be resolved, they are at their happiest. By offering both live assistance and self-service options, your customers are empowered to get the answers they need – in the way they want – and set agents up to provide the best customer experience possible.


  1. https://www.zendesk.com/customer-experience-trends/
  2. https://www.zendesk.com/blog/zendesk-customer-experience-trends-report-2020/
  3. https://www.gartner.com/en/newsroom/press-releases/2019-09-25-gartner-says-only-9--of-customers-report-solving-thei

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